There are various things that we all want out of life, including close and fulfilling interpersonal relationships, a degree of financial and career success, adventure and excitement, and opportunities to test our boundaries and grow individually.
One of the most consistent desires of people around the world, though, is simple happiness and satisfaction in everyday life, and we’re all likely to feel envious when we encounter people who seem to genuinely be able to find joy and enthusiasm in the everyday, regardless of what trials and tribulations may be at hand.
Ultimately, if you can find ways to brighten up your everyday life, you’re likely to be healthier and happier across the board, more creative and outgoing, and more resilient to the stresses and challenges that do arise from time to time.
So, here are a few ways to brighten up your everyday life.
Do small things that make you feel good
This point may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often surprising just how resistant people are to doing small things on an everyday basis that they actually enjoy, and that makes them happy.
Often, especially for driven and ambitious entrepreneurs, anything that isn’t immediately and obviously “productive” can seem like self-indulgent time-wasting and a way of avoiding the more important stuff that needs to get done.
But if you take too much of an absolutist view on productivity, there’s a good chance that your emotional well-being will suffer, and that you won’t feel halfway as motivated to do “productive stuff” at any rate.
So, give yourself permission to do small things every day that make you feel good, whether that means getting some personalized air fresheners for your car that help to remind you of a good vacation went on, or whether it means paying a bit extra at your local cafe for a cup of coffee that really makes you feel good about life.
The more you’re able to find moments every day to enjoy little things like a custom air freshener or gourmet cup of coffee, the greater the likelihood is you will start noticing and appreciating more of the other little blessings of everyday life, as well.
Try a bit of journalling
The practice of journalling has been enjoying a resurgence of popularity in recent years, thanks in large part to the “Bullet Journal Method” created by Ryder Carroll, which uses a straightforward and intuitive system of symbols and indexes to allow you to organise more or less your whole life in a mindful way, using only a paper notebook.
For a long time, all sorts of people have found the practice of journalling to be therapeutic, and a great way of deepening the meaningfulness of everyday life.
Regular journalling can help you to avoid going through each day on autopilot, and to instead get into the habit of actively analysing and “digesting” the events that happen, so that you can find the lessons and meaning embedded in all of them.
Then again, journalling doesn’t have to take the “dear diary” format that we all assume it does. Instead, journalling systems such as the Bullet Journal Method can simply be a great way to organise your life and categorise and manage your various projects and ambitions so that you can keep on top of them. It can also be a great way to plan for the future, too.
Although so much of the world is centred on digital technologies these days, research has found that there may be some unique benefits to writing things out by hand, that just don’t apply to typing things out on a keyboard. For example, students who write lecture notes by hand apparently recall more information and engage with the subject more deeply than those who type their notes out on a laptop.
In many ways, regularly writing things out by hand can serve almost as a form of meditation.
Make sure that you get enough sleep
The sleep scientist Matthew Walker is pretty alarmed, to say the least, by just how much sleep tends to get disregarded in today’s always-on, busy, go-getter world.
It’s easy to see why he is concerned if you read his book “Why We Sleep,” and get a sense of just how important good sleep is for overall health, well-being, mental function, and more.
Among other things, Walker notes on the first page of his book that even just moderate sleep deprivation for one week will mess with your blood sugar levels so much that a doctor who saw you during that time period would classify you as prediabetic.
More than that, though, Walker also looks at research that shows that when people are sleep deprived they perceive more threats in their environments – including in the actions and intentions of other people – are less attentive to detail, and are less likely to feel positively about what’s going on around them.
Make sure that you get enough sleep, and it’s a sure bet that your life will brighten up significantly. Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume (especially later in the day), turn off the lights, and give yourself the opportunity for a restful eight hours of sleep a night, as often as you can.
If you’re worried about falling behind at work – you probably shouldn’t be. People who are well-rested are naturally more efficient at their jobs.
Come up with routines that help to calm and ground you, so that you can appreciate the blessings that are right in front of you
It’s very easy to become chronically stressed and frantic these days, and to always be operating with a sense of unease and impending doom, more or less regardless of what’s going on around you.
Some people are obviously more prone to this kind of stress and anxiety than others, and there are various lifestyle factors that can contribute significantly as well – such as regularly drinking caffeine and consuming nicotine.
All the same, part of the issue is invariably down to the fact that we all tend to be extremely busy these days and to allow ourselves to be constantly distracted and rushed off our feet.
Come up with certain routines that help to calm and ground you, and that slow the pace of life for a while so that you can catch your breath and appreciate the blessings that are right front of you.
This could involve having a hot Epsom salt bath every evening, and then curling up with a good book and a warm cup of herbal tea. The choice is yours.