Let’s face it. We live busy lives. Run here. Run there. Drop off the kids. Pick them up. Pick up dinner, put the kids to bed, wake them up, get them to school, and do it all over again. When does the routine end and life begin? Do you ever feel like you could run your daily routine in your sleep? Where is the joy and connection in the same old routine? Do you get discouraged by the mundane duties?
Even through the mundane, you can live a life of peace and happiness. Richard G. Scott, a wise leader, has said, “Your perspective is vital to your happiness. Some, blind to the bountiful opportunities around them, live lives of sadness and despair with brief moments of joy. Be alive to the abundant potential that surrounds you so that you live a life of peace and happiness with periods of challenging growth.”
Changing our perspective is ”vital”. Sometimes we are bogged down with life, the demands placed upon us, and we don’t see much hope for the future. How do we change our perspective so we can “be alive to the abundant potential that surrounds” us? Each of us has the potential to live a life of peace and happiness even through the challenges. Try these ideas for a start:
Observe a child. Children have so much to teach us if we pause and allow ourselves to learn from them. Children show us how to be enthusiastic, live in the moment, love learning, and their curiosity never ends. My happy-go-lucky 4-year-old daughter has always been very enthusiastic about life, and laughs and giggles at normal everyday things. Just this last week, she started a fun little reaction-when she asks for something (a snack, if she can play outside, if I will read to her, etc), and we give her what she asks for, she raises her arms to a “V” in the victory sign and exclaims, “YES!” It’s adorable. How simple would it be for us to be enthusiastic about the good things that come to us–like a child is. This is just one example of how observing a child can help us adults change our perspective. Each child has their own gifts in the way they see life and respond to it, and every child has something to teach us. Watch and learn from your children. Allow their excitement and exuberance to fill your soul as you watch them play and enjoy the moment.
Be thankful for the little things. With all of the big yuckiness going on in the world today, life can feel heavy. Gratitude keeps the light on through the storms of life. Challenge yourself to find 5 little things to be grateful for every day. Write them down. Share them with your family. Find things that you wouldn’t normally think about. For instance, I love freshly pressed, crisp clothing. I am grateful for my iron that allows me to have fresh, crisp clothes! (now don’t shoot me, I know some of you hate ironing, and that’s ok! Find something YOU like! 🙂 Or be thankful for your fingers – how difficult it would be to go through life without fingers! Make it a game, and play it with your children. What 5 things are we thankful for and happy about today? Have a thankful day once a week. Draw or paint pictures with your family of what you’re all thankful for and put them up on the wall. The more random the ideas, the more fun it will be!
Blow away the clouds. Do you ever feel like there is a cloud over you that just dampens your day? Or when you are around a certain person their cloud rains on your parade? This idea is a little something I give to my clients to help dispel the clouds coming their way. Think of someone who may be negative or is difficult for you to be around. Pretend in your mind that they bring a cloud above their heads that wants to rain on you. As you see or feel the cloud coming your direction, take a deep breath, tell yourself it’s their cloud and not yours, and blow it away, feeling the negative energy dissipating and feel the sun shine on you. You can use this little trick anytime, whether the person is with you or your thoughts of them are dragging you down. Remember to tell yourself that their cloud is not yours, you don’t need it, and you choose to feel the sun instead of the cloud. This is not done in judgement of the “cloudy” person. We all have clouds at times. Blowing away the clouds around us tells our mind and heart that we are ready for more peace and happiness. Do this consistently and see what happens.
Find someone who needs your help and serve them. When we feel down, one of the best ways to feel better is to get out and do something nice for someone else. It fills their bucket and yours! Sometimes it’s difficult to get up and leave the house when you just want to stay in bed with your blankie. But doing this one thing-finding someone else in pain or in need that you can help, will completely change your outlook on the day.
Create! We are all creative beings in one way or another. Taking some time to honor the creative person inside you will bring joy. For example, I love papercrafting. I have stacks and stacks of adorable cardstock and delightful patterned papers. At times, all I have to do is enter my craft room and admire my fun papers and I start to feel better already! Being creative does something to your heart. It opens up your knowledge and belief that you have something to contribute to the world-that there is beauty inside you to share. Create something and give it away. Share your gifts. Everyone is creative in different ways. Creative doesn’t have to mean “crafty”. It can mean writing a poem, building or designing something, singing, or anything your heart desires to create. Set some time aside, and make creating a priority. It will lift your spirits!
Remember, “Be alive to the abundant potential that surrounds you”. Start with one of these ideas – the one that when you read it, you knew you needed to do it. Listen to what your mind and heart are telling you and just go for it! Live a life of peace and happiness.