What makes up a well lived life? It’s an intensely personal question. Your vision of success may be vastly different than mine. I may value connections, authenticity & adventure; dream of kids, a thriving business & living in another country. You’re driven by success, learning & independence; you won’t be complete until you hit CEO & found a charity. Our neighbor places importance on harmony, creativity & the community garden she started; the mailman digs abundance, vitality & contributing to his church.
That’s what makes the world such an intriguing beast. We’re fascinating in our differences.
Whatever your definition of “the good life” may be, it’s vital that you enjoy & get meaning from the day-to-day while on your journey. This is something we all have in common, regardless of the particular path we’re on. Your daily experiences (your tasks, your schedule, the places you spend your energy & time) are what make up your life. And in my book, that’s all we’ve really got. Life.
“Attention is a tangible measure of love. Whatever receives our time and attention becomes the center of gravity, the focus of your life. This is what we do with what we love: We allow it to become our center. What is at the center of your life?” –Wayne Muller
Are you ready for some inspiring & practical ways to rev up your capacity for joy, fulfillment & meaning? Ready for some tactics to improve the quality of your day-to-day life? I think I hear you shouting “Hell yes!”
Way to be. Way to be.
8 Strategies to Improve Your Quality of Life
- Cultivate Optimism. Being positive can often be seen as naivety or “Pollyanna” behavior. In actuality, optimism increases job performance, creativity, ability to weather stress & self esteem. Optimism can be used in how you talk to yourself in the face of adversity, explain past events & think about the future. In the quest for the good life, positive expectations can be self-fulfilling. Cultivating your ability to be optimistic is beneficial to your health & your success. How cool is that?
- Be Present. Take a deep breath. This is the here and now. Stop ruminating over the past or worrying about the future for a moment. Tell the voices in your head (“your committee”) to be silent. Enjoy your ability to create your experience this very second. If you’re washing the dishes, wash the dishes. If you’re writing a blog post, write the blog post. If you’re playing with your kids, play with your kids. It’s harder than is sounds, but worth practicing every day.
- Clarify. When you are clear on what is important to you, there comes an incredible sense of freedom. You no longer live in a world of social comparison. You are running your own race. Goals, big decisions & small habits are surmountable & invigorating because you have a clear picture of what you want your life to stand for. Clarity does not come easily. It also evolves throughout your life, which requires gracious flexibility. But it is worth it. Spend some quality time getting clear.
- Give Out. Mentor, contribute, practice random acts of kindness, express gratitude. Make a loan, give your time, be fully present for your family, change the world. There are a million ways to give of yourself. Do it big, do it small, just do it. It’s one of the most positive equations in the world: You give of your time or resources, which improves someone’s quality of life, which makes you feel needed & valuable, which in turn improves your quality of life. We’re all better off. Magic.
- Connect. We are social beings. We crave connections to others individually, to our communities, to our world. Pay special attention to your family, your lover, your adored friends, your colleagues & your neighbors. Explore & strengthen your connection to a Higher Power. And be open enough to enjoy the spontaneous connections that come from making a new friend on vacation or sharing a witty remark with your seatmate on the bus. Genuine curiosity & kindness are an amazing way to foster connections, new & old.
- Find Flow. Flow is being in the groove, totally engaged in your present activity, challenged but succeeding with clear goals & feedback. It’s a glorious state to be in. For some it’s gardening, writing, cooking dinner with your partner, intense conversation, or crunching numbers. Though it requires more energy than passive ways to spend time (reality tv, idle gossip, video games) seek out the activities that challenge, engage & satisfy. Find your flow.
- Celebrate. We need play & whimsy in our lives. A healthy dose of joi de vivre fuels your creativity & feeds your spirit. Celebrating is a wonderful way to share love with others & incorporate more play in our lives. Who in your life has done something big lately? Did you celebrate? What about something small, but personally important? Did you celebrate? Celebrate with traditions, with heartfelt compliments, with notes in lunchboxes, with surprises, with big evenings out, or with cozy evenings in.
- Love Yourself. Your body is the vehicle that carries you through your life. Love yourself by treating your body with respect & care. Fuel it well with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains & lean protein. Move it daily. Don’t smoke, don’t abuse alcohol. Meditate. Help yourself age well by staying flexible, protecting your skin from sun & exercising your mind. Sleep well. Beware the ease in which you critique yourself & indulge in praise instead.
There you go, rockstar. It’s as simple as that.
I want to make sure you know that these strategies are useful even when you already feel perfectly content. If you’re “happy”– wonderful. That’s a great space to be in. Try increasing the quality or quantity of one of the strategies you already enjoy or tackle one that’s a bit less familiar. Think of them as ways to “stay happy”.
And if you’re feeling a bit stressed or stuck or apathetic lately, go all out! Devise a plan to add some of these strategies to your day, to your week, to your life. Your well being depends on it.
Which strategies are you drawn toward? Which ones do you think would make the largest impact on the quality of your life?