Most of our lives are extremely hectic. It's easy to get wrapped up in all that is going on each day, ticking items off our to-do lists, only to fall in bed exhausted, and start in again the following day. Is this really how we want to live our lives, day in and day out? Most of us would answer "NO," loudly and proudly, but our actions are speaking louder than our words.
I have found a way, over the years, to become extremely appreciative and reflective throughout the day. It's important for our stress levels. It's important for our psyches. It's important for our families and friends. But most notably, it's important for our souls.
Being appreciative is about taking time each day to reflect on the beauty and peace and gratitude in the everyday experience. It gives a jolt of renewed energy, fresh perspective and recharges mental fortitude. It's good for the soul!
Seven ideas to keep you going all week long:
1. Do something you love each day This may sound too good to be true, but really think about the last time you filled every single day with at least one thing you loved. Maybe you love your morning latte and you have one each day. But do you make this choice based on your routine? What if each day you stopped and thought about how much that latte really impacted your daily outlook?
2. Set an intention for the day The practice of yoga has taught me much about setting intentions for the hour or so I am on my yoga mat. One day I thought that I should set an intention each day. On days I am super-tired, my intention is often to be easy on myself, perhaps getting rid of one or two tasks that can wait until tomorrow. If I wake up and it is pouring buckets of rain outside, my intention might be to remember to splash in a puddle on the way home from work or watch the rain fall off the window pane for a few moments.
3. Recharge throughout the day Studies have shown that taking just two to three minutes to mentally rest throughout the day has a major impact on your overall mental health and well-being. These two minutes of recharging could include sitting in your office chair and focusing on your breathing, taking time to daydream or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes and sitting still. It is during the time we become still and self-reflect that we remember to appreciate the small stuff.
4. Spread the verbal love Years ago I tried an experiment. I set out each day with the intention of giving at least one person a verbal compliment. Sometimes it was a coworker, who perhaps got a new hair style or had on a nice colored shirt. Other times, it was a complete stranger, maybe someone I met on the train or was standing next to at the supermarket. Regardless of who it was, the simple act alone changed lives -- both my life and the life of the recipient. Your words matter, and you can use them to show appreciation in so many ways!
5. Keep a gratitude journal Gratitude journals are a fantastic way to record how much you appreciate everyday occurrences and experiences. The entry can be a few words or a few pages. My last entry said, "Road trips with my husband are the best. He makes me laugh and that is a good thing!"
6. Take nothing for granted Slow down and process everything that is going on around you. Engage your senses hourly. Did you take time to smell that colorful bouquet of flowers that caught your eye?
7. Let your surroundings inspire you It is easy to fall into what I call the "routine trap." You know the one where every day you do A, B then C. Why not switch it up a little? The other day, I took a completely different street when I walked home from the train. It was enlightening! I witnessed a new puppy on that block and a flower garden in full bloom that I had never seen before.
The art of appreciating your everyday comes from slowing down, making conscious choices and taking time to be grateful in the very small often overlooked things, which can bring you so much joy.
For more by M. Shannon Hernandez, click here.
For more on happiness, click here.