Like most of us, I grew up in a goal-oriented society. I went to school in order to get good grades, in order to get a good job, in order to get a good pay, in order to have plenty of money, in order to buy all the things I want, in order to secure my future, in order to be able to do the things I really enjoy doing, in order to be happy.
I was taught that one day, when I have achieved all these things, I would be happy. There was only one snag: I wanted to be happy NOW!
Isn’t that what we all really want?
It took a series of life experiences – from going on a backpacking adventure, to the notion in David Millman’s book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, that “there are no ordinary moments” – to make me realise the importance of tapping into Presence, and choose to live my life giving “THIS moment” a really big hug.
Choosing to be happy now might just change how you feel about life forever. Try these quick tips to live the present with acceptance and gratitude… and happiness!
Return to your body
1. Become fully aware of your physical state – it is here and now;
2. Breathe deeply;
3. Relax every muscle, one by one;
4. Cleanse your energy with a swim or a shower;
5. Exercise vigorously; exercise releases endorphins, the “happy hormones”;
Free your mind
6. Quiet the mind chatter by remembering that it’s just speculation;
7. Write down your thoughts in a journal;
8. Banish negativity by writing down ten things you are grateful for;
9. Accept the given situation – saying “f**k it” usually helps!
10. Meditate for 3 minutes;
11. Notice how you’re feeling without judgement and give yourself a hug;
12. Communicate your truth;
13. Call a friend just to say hello;
14. Tell someone why you appreciate them;
15. Do something for someone else;
16. Dance wildly to a song you love;
17. Drum on the table with your fingers;
18. Sing a song;
19. Doodle, or draw a mandala;
20. Experiment with the filters on your camera phone;
Indulge your senses
21. Look around and spot the things you consider beautiful;
22. Sit on a park bench and observe life going by;
23. Listen to the birds, the wind, the waves, the thunder or the rain;
24. Listen to your favourite music;
25. Enjoy some aromatherapy – try orange, rose, jasmine, ginger, cinnamon or geranium;
26. Smell a fragrant flower or light incense;
27. Enjoy a delicious, healthy smoothie;
28. Sit and enjoy the sun caressing your skin and the wind in your hair;
29. Walk barefoot on the grass;
30. Pat a cat or a dog;
Let your inner child play
31. Feel free to act silly;
32. Laugh for no reason – it works!
33. Remember not to take life too seriously – it is not that important in the greater scheme of things;
None of these things require great knowledge or skill, and that’s the whole point. Life, quite simply, is happier and so much more special when we appreciate the little things surrounding us now.