We have the opportunity to feel awesome every day. But we have a problem. Humans over-complicate life. We put together crazy diets, when eating balanced, healthy meals will work. We spend millions each year on gym memberships and personal trainers, when we can create an efficient workout at home or in the yard. We stress about our jobs, relationships, and stuff we buy, when usually our priorities are out of whack. We think we need plenty of money to upgrade our lives; a nicer house, faster car, expensive clothes. We wouldn’t admit it out loud, even to ourselves, but we have been raised to believe money will buy happiness.
“We work jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we don’t need” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club
But, there is a growing movement of people who are waking up to the lie. What our souls crave isn’t stuff; it’s relationships, it’s meaning.
When I began writing this list, I was in a time of feeling very hectic, over-scheduled, and over-committed. I’m sure many of you can relate. I began thinking about the little things in my day I finished and felt awesome about. Doing these little things made me happier, calmer, and more productive. It offered a balance to the inevitable craziness of the day.
Checking off each one is a small win for me, and helps fuel my spirit. I looked over the list, and happily saw there was nothing present that was too expensive, difficult, or time consuming. I may not knock everything off each day, but I try my best.
Each action is something within my control, and a choice I can make about how I spend my day. In life, there is so much out of our control, and that’s ok! Letting go of what’s out of our control is one of the best things you can do. But in the choices you make, what are you choosing? What had I been choosing? To pass time spinning our wheels, or to act in a way that serves us well?
To help, here is my list. It’s pretty short, simple, and doable. Do we share any habits?
Eight Ways I Can Feel Awesome
I can confidently say exercise gives me the best physical feeling of anything on the list. Knowing I’ve moved around, broken a sweat, and been active makes me happy, healthier, and more productive. Exercise also kick-starts my diet, because I want to re-fuel in the best way and keep the good feelings going.
I definitely love coffee more, but for both drinks I appreciate more than simply the buzz. I love the practice of it, the ritual of preparation and enjoyment. I use both a Chemex and Clever Dripper for coffee, and have begun enjoying loose-leaf tea as well.
I’ve always enjoyed reading. I zipped through books as boy, devouring stories and stretching my mind. Now I balance business, development, and psychology books with the stories. For a practice, I especially enjoy the Bible and other Christian writings. Spiritual or inspirational texts give us a mind outside of ourselves, a mission bigger than our own, and help us find the meaning we’re searching for.
My creative outlet, the way to share a gift with the world. When I write, I think about writing for special people in my life, or picture a person who has said something encouraging to me. The practice of writing and putting your art on the line is a powerful act, and can make an impact on people. Basically, writing is a practice I feel compelled to do, while enjoying it. This is vital! Whatever your art is, I encourage you to share it.
This one is a little weird, if you don’t know what a neti pot is, it’s a nasal decongesting method that involves… well, click here if you really want to know. But afterwards, I’m able to breath deeply, relax, and carry on with my day. Disclaimer: Use distilled or boiled water if you use a neti pot!
This is closely tied to exercise. Taking care of my body and what goes in to it will reflect the quality of what is coming out, in my creative, personal, and professional pursuits! Again, let’s not make it too complicated. Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meat. That’s about all you need.
Laugh and Smile
Smiling and laughing just feels good, and research backs up the health benefits. The British Dental Health Foundation showed the act of smiling to dramatically improve a person’s mood, and people who smile more are better received in a group, say researchers Abel and Hester.
Some conservative friends smirk at the notion of meditation, and again it’s something I simply feel better when I’ve done it. So much of my mind is in hyper-drive, or as some call it, “the monkey mind.” The practice of being still, and allowing my thoughts and worries to pass by, is incredibly soothing. I try not to judge my thoughts, control them, or hold on. I simply allow them to drift along. Meditation is the only part of my day where I am literally doing nothing.
This isn’t another rant on social media and email. This is a call to clarity. What are the things you can do every day that make you feel good? As of this writing, I’ve done 7/8 things on my list. The day has been good. Ten minutes of meditation and I’ll have done everything. Most days I do at least 5/8, and shoot for a 50% minimum. I don’t reach all eight every day, and I try not to judge that. But I make a conscious effort to do something I know is beneficial for me before I do something that merely occupies my attention for a little while.
Take a few minutes and write down at least 4 things you can do each day that make you feel awesome.
Read it over. Ask yourself…
- What is the time/financial cost of each item?
- Is this something feasible you could do every day?
- Is it sustainable over time?
Writing down your short list is a great way to sharpen your focus about what is important to you, and what your priorities need to be. You may realize, as I did, that you spend too much time on items that aren’t on your list. I’m not talking about choosing these things over relationships in your life, this is something apart from family and friends. We all have a little time to ourselves each day, and the question is, are you spending it doing things that help you feel awesome, or are you just passing the time?
The choice is yours.
Everything I Know
I write about developing your best self, regularly delivered on Friday
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