There is no doubt that everyone in this world is searching for happiness. You cannot turn on a talk show or flip through a magazine without hearing different ways on how to be happy. About two years ago, I replaced the word happy with content. Happy is great. But happy is usually more temporary. Being content is more lasting, more satisfying. I love to eat pizza; it makes me happy. However, I find a deeper fulfillment in eating lighter, nutrient-rich, whole foods. Here is my top-ten list on how to help each day be more satisfying.
10. Connect with Nature: There are several things that I love about nature. Nature has a powerful way of reminding us of the many things that are greater than ourselves. It allows for the opportunity to create distance between the normal hustle and slow things down a bit. And I don’t think there is anyone who can deny the joy of fresh air, blooming flowers, or flowing water.
9. Stretch: Running is great. Lifting is great. But stretching is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do for yourself. Increasing range of motion, decreasing tension, and increasing circulation are only a few of the vast benefits of stretching. Many of the day to day kinks that we feel, tight shoulders, stiff back, tired legs, headaches, are relieved with regular stretching. A good stretch is very liberating. I highly recommend doing simple stretches throughout your day and getting one deep stretch at least once per week.
8. Girl Time: Ladies- if you don’t have good girlfriends, get them! I cannot stress enough the importance of strong, supportive, and empowered women in your life. Women thrive off of healthy relationships. They can provide deep emotional fulfillment that may be missing in other areas of your life. Sharing trials and triumphs and receiving authentic validation in a mutual relationship will keep your well filled.
7. Tea: No, not swate tay (sound it out), for all of my Southern friends. Herbal, green, red, white. The benefits of various teas are extensive. Tea can oxidize, detoxify, and clarify, meaning, tea can cleanse your system (weight loss), relax your mind, or provide preventive health benefits. Some of my favorite grocery store teas include Yogi and Republic of Tea.
6. De-Clutter: A clean house aids to a clean mind. Cleaning, in itself can reduce stress and burn calories. It gives you a sense of satisfaction and productivity. The benefits of a clean environment will greatly decrease your stress level. In today’s society, we are all about more, more, more, which only heeds more, more, more stress. Keep your rooms, closets, and storage spaces clean and de-cluttered. My simple rule: If you haven’t used it in the past two years, you never will.
5. Home Spa Treatments: Going to the spa is wonderful. If I had an endless budget, then I probably wouldn’t home spa, but I don’t. And I don’t want to miss out on the extended benefits of spa treatments. Whether it is a self-mani/pedi, facial or massage trade-off with your partner, the benefits of the spa will improve your stress level and your appearance. Just as significant is that it reminds you to regularly take care of yourself. Light some candles, dim the lights, and turn on Ambient on Pandora and you too, can create a mini spa atmosphere. Using healthful products is also significant. One of my new favorite secrets is an at-home peel by Philosophy. It’s really amazing and ridiculously affordable at $5 a peel. The fun part of philosophy products is reading their affirmations while you cleanse.
4. Indulge in Fresh Ingredients- I truly love good food. And good food, to me, means, fresh, whole ingredients. When you make a healthy meal with the freshest ingredients you can find, it is the best meal. Once again, most of us cannot afford to purely use the best ingredients, but from time to time, it is OK to indulge. It is important to treat yourself with good food. It is one of the most satisfying experiences. Your body and your mind will give you extended thanks.
3. Be Quiet: Pray. Meditate. Take some alone time. Listen more; talk less. Allowing the silence will allow you to hear some of your important thoughts and feelings. Most importantly, embrace gratitude.
2. Return to Innocence: Children and Pets are the most innocent creatures on the planet. Their openness to love and acceptance is refreshing in a convoluted world. Spending time with children and/or pets reminds you to find pleasure in the simple things in life and love each other despite our flaws.
1. Learn: When we stop growing, we may as well be dead. We need to constantly keep learning in order to keep growing. Learning could be anything from personal interest to personal growth to career or academia. Learning more about humanity and acceptance will decrease the fear and anger that you carry for others; guided introspection will decrease your fear and judgements of yourself. Becoming competent in a subject that is interesting to you will give you a sense of mastery.
Many of us are searching for a near constant state of euphoria that doesn’t really exist. Living a content life is about finding appreciation in the many things that you do have, learning from your mistakes, and finding peace and understanding with yourself and others. What makes you content?