Although I am a very positive person, it is not because happiness is glued to my shoes. It is a choice I make every day. It is my choice to be happy, to wake up in the morning and get excited for a new day. For things that I’ve planned, and for things I don’t yet know will happen. I see random things as unique. I teach myself the art of having joy, even when things are not going the way I expected. Because most of the time, I have figured out, things happen in a special way for a special reason.
Here are the things I practice regularly to help me shine through my days:
You already know this. I don’t think I need to explain how all the endorphins and other little microscopic friends flood our body with an increased heartbeat. We burn not only calories, but also stress and toxins that are partly responsible for our lowest moments. Exercising is magnificent. The best part is finding the most enjoyable way to do it. Even just 10 minutes per day will feel like magic.
I exercise 5 or 6 days each week, sometimes only 15 minutes and sometimes for an hour and a half. My current living situation allows me to go to the gym each morning. I warm up with a run and then continue exercising with yoga, stretching, or dance. Whatever I feel like doing that day!
How can you find something you like?
Try to remember your childhood, how did you spend time. Were you playing team sports? Dodgeball? Find out if you still love those activities and find a local club of enthusiasts. I used to dance all day long in front of our record player, and I still feel the happiest when I can connect music and movement. Investigate your memory and discover your active self.
Write in a diary.
For some people there is no worse torture. But trust me, it depends on your approach. A diary is not only for writing your to do lists, but is also a tool for us to celebrate our successes and praise ourselves for our efforts.
For me, writing in a diary means defining my yearly goals, which I find most helpful to write in monthly steps. I also open it every night and I think about what I will do the next day. I always identify three to five things.
A good tip for someone who is just starting their journey with a diary is to simply plan the following day.
I always include a task that I enjoy in my to-do list for the next day. For example, I include reading one chapter of my book. When I finish a task, I dedicate one minute to gratitude. I take a deep breath and enjoy the positive feeling of being in flow. Planning is also a great opportunity to see how far you’ve come, and how far you can go. Try it in a way that suits you. Think of it this way – if you plan and do only one extra thing each day, you have automatically added 365 little steps per year toward achieving your goal. Amazing!
I love food and especially high-quality food. A delicious vegan meal will lift my mood immediately. I love to spend time preparing it, and before I eat, I always give thanks. I give thanks for the opportunity to buy good ingredients that someone grows for me. I give thanks for abundance, and I give thanks to myself for the preparations. Lastly, I give thanks to the food itself for enriching the parts of my body that need it most with the nutrients it provides. This is how I enjoy my meals.
Food is not only about calories and nutrients. Having a meal is a moment I dedicate to my taste buds and to positive conversation.
It is time we can use for our most intimate selves. Enjoying food can be a meditation if you let it. Quality food benefits both our bodies and our souls.
Oh yes, my thoughts are going in all directions constantly. I am not a meditation master, but I do know the importance of presence. I meditate mostly lying on the floor so my muscles can relax. I sometimes meditate in a sitting position– I close my eyes, and I am immediately present. Thoughts arise, I listen to them, and say goodbye; I want to be alone. As the next thought approaches, I know it’s okay. Meditation is something I am learning, and in a few minutes each day I teach myself to switch off and be present. It’s so cool.
A tip that helped me in the beginning was meditating with music.
With music, you can focus on the notes and the melody. It helped me get started, and now I use an app called Zen Friend to help guide my practice.
I am just a human being after all, and aside from meditation, I need to chat! Most of the time my husband is the listener, or he at least he’s really good at pretending to be. My favorite people to chat with are my good girlfriends. Living abroad is not an obstacle anymore. We set a date, can talk through microphones, and interact on screen. We are lucky to have each other and are willing to work for our friendship. If you don’t have someone you can chat with, try to get closer to someone around you. Friendship is worth the invested time.
My last tip for you is to take things as they come. We have all had moments when we feel like the world is out to get us, but these tough times happen for a reason. If we learn to slow down, be present, and take care of ourselves, we can view every situation as an important lesson. You can do it.
Happy, shining days
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier