Do you rush through your day in an attempt to check off everything on your to-do list? Or do you take time to slow down and “smell the roses”? It’s true that we are happiest when we enjoy the simple pleasures. It could be gazing at the stars, listening to the rain, or enjoying a warm cup of tea. When we stop to enjoy the little things we naturally slow down and enjoy life.
It’s so easy to put all of our energy into achieving our goals – making money, building a business, advancing our career, or completing our to-do lists. In our drive to succeed, we tend to miss, or dismiss the things that bring us joy. They seem secondary – a reward after a hard day’s work.
Think about the things that make you smile. Often they are the simple things that cost nothing at all. Here’s my list of simple pleasures:
- Enjoying a good cup of coffee
- Petting my cat, Spooky, who’s curled up in my lap
- Listening to music
- Watching the deer on my morning (or afternoon) walk
- Enjoying fresh flowers in the house
- Receiving my morning “bear hug” from my husband
- Reading a good novel by the fire
- Sitting out on my deck and watching the hummingbirds at the feeder
What about you? What brings you joy? Make a list of things that bring you peace, joy and contentment. Then take a little time out each day to enjoy one of the items on your list. You’ll be glad you did!
What simple things bring you joy? Please share with other readers.
Are you constantly on the go, and feel like you don’t even have a chance to catch your breath? Our busy, hectic lives can drain us of energy and enthusiasm for life. How can you avoid the chaos and enjoy more peace? Here are seven tips to help you simplify, reduce the clutter, and rejuvenate your soul. These practices will result in greater balance and peace of mind.
1) Live in the present. Live in the moment and stop dwelling on the past – the “could-have, should-have, would-have” thinking just clutters your mind. Us the past as a learning experience and let it go. Plan for the future, but don’t worry about the future and what might happen. Enjoy the present!
2) Stop and smell the flowers. It’s true that we are happiest when we enjoy the simple pleasures. It could be enjoying a morning cup of coffee or watching the hummingbirds at your feeder. When we stop to enjoy the little things we naturally slow down and enjoy life.
3) Practice gratitude. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you already have. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” By focusing on gratefulness your perspective will become more positive and your stress will be reduced.
4) Reprogram negative thoughts. First become aware of your negative thoughts and self-talk. Then reframe your negative thoughts into more positive thoughts. Speak kindly to yourself as you would your best friend. Remember that what you think produces your actions. So if you think negatively, you will act negatively. But if you think positive thoughts, you will act in a positive manner. The choice is up to you.
5) Detox emotionally. Cut off relationships with any toxic people in your life. You know who they are – the ones who raise your anxiety and stress level – and cause you to feel bad about yourself. If you can’t cut of relations altogether (such as family members), then set boundaries and limit your exposure to them.
6) Spend time in nature. Being out in nature rejuvenates us and brings a sense of calm and peace. Better yet is if you’re exercising (walking, jogging, bicycling) in nature. You’ll enjoy the dual benefit of stress reduction.
7) Allow yourself a day of rest. Take a day of leisure – to do what you most enjoy – or nothing at all. It’s a day of no pressure, no time limits and no ‘to-do’ lists. We all need down time to refresh and rejuvenate us.
Have you ever had one of those days? You’re feeling scattered, and pulled in a lot of different directions. You’re constantly dealing with issues. At the end of the day you feel worn out, drained, and completely sapped of energy.
Those days can be avoided by keeping a spiritual focus. The spiritual realm is where we find our sense of purpose and meaning in life. For the majority of us, that’s found through God, given 70% of Americans believe in God. How do you keep God at the center of your life?
The key for me is spending quiet time with the Lord each morning. I take about 20 minutes to pray, meditate on God’s Word, and reflect on my life. I also focus on what I’m grateful for, since everything we have comes from God. This gives me perspective, and helps me start the day off on the right foot. That doesn’t mean that everything will necessarily go smoother, however, I’m better equipped to deal with life’s daily challenges. I find that the days I end up feeling beaten up, are the days in which I skipped my quiet time, because I didn’t think I could afford to spend the time. How wrong I was!
I also ask God for guidance and direction throughout the day. This is the difficult part, since sometimes I get so busy during the day that I forget about God. However, when I’m faced with important decisions, then I ask what God would have me do. Daily, we face decisions as to how to spend our time. When we make decisions based upon our values and priorities, we’ll feel at peace and have greater balance in our life.
I think of the analogy of a pinwheel. When you spin a pinwheel, the pin holds the wheel together. The Lord is the pin in the wheel. When we get busy, God holds our life together. If there were no pin, then we’d be scattered everywhere, flying off in lots of different directions. Our life would be chaos! But with the Lord at the center, he gives us focus, which results in better balance. If you center your life on the Lord, and live according to Godly values and priorities, you’ll experience grater peace, harmony and balance.
What are you grateful for? Your family or friends? Your job? Your health? Count your many blessings every day. It’s a good practice to help you stay positive. Not only can you count your blessings, but also do a good deed. Research shows that performing an act of kindness, however small, will boost your mood. Doing for others will actually lift your spirits!
Here are ten ways to spread an attitude of gratitude:
- Mail an unexpected card to a relative or friend.
- Look for something beautiful in one person each day.
- Provide a shoulder to lean on.
- Take a plate of homemade cookies to work.
- Visit someone elderly.
- Say thanks to someone who may not expect it (custodian, bus boy).
- Lend a favorite book.
- Let someone ahead of you in line.
- Share a flower from your garden.
- Compliment a sales clerk.
What are other ways you spread an attitude of gratitude? Please share with other readers.
Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill and can’t get off? Our busy, hectic schedules can drain us of energy and enthusiasm for life. We need to take a time-out each day to nurture our souls. Here are 7 spiritual practices that will rejuvenate you. Practicing these habits can bring you peace of mind, and help you maintain a sense of balance in your life.
- Take quiet time to be still and reflect on your life. We’re constantly running on the treadmill of life that we rarely take time for reflection.
- Get clear about your values. When you’re crystal-clear about your values and what that looks like in terms of behaviors, then you’re more likely to actually live by your values.
- Practice gratefulness. List all the things you’re grateful for. When you’re feeling down, pull out your list and review it.
- Take a walk outside when you’re feeling stressed and uptight. Getting outside in the fresh air and taking a walk will do you good.
- Listen to inspirational music. It will lift your spirits.
- Read inspirational literature.
- Take time to pray and meditate each day.
What do you do to rejuvenate your soul? Please share with other readers.