“How can I lead a happy and fulfilling life?” is a question that lurks in your 3 am thoughts. No worries, you will find your answers here!
For now, we’re all eagerly waiting for the pandemic to end. Just like we waited for summer break in childhood, vacations in youth, and retirement in our middle age. The wait never seems to end.
In the chase of skyscrapers and ambitions, our connection with nature takes a backseat. We find ourselves in relationship-deprived corporate cubicles with exhausted minds and spirits. Believe it or not, all of this can leave us alone, overwhelmed, and disoriented.
Although it would be nice for all of us to retreat to the caves and lead a solitary life away from the chaos, is this what it truly takes to enjoy living? Keep reading to discover how you can build your own sphere of joy.
As we designate our lives to laptops, the blue light from our laptop screen blurs what truly lies beyond work.
We’re social animals. Let’s assess this analogy. Where do you tend to find animals happy and carefree? Around nature of course. Who are animals generally content around? Their loved ones. How are you any different? Think about it.
According to statistics published in a Stanford report, 43% of the U.S. labor workforce was working from home in 2020. As time-saving and comfortable WFH was supposed to be, it has surely contributed towards a digital disconnect.
We’re having more time than ever before but we’re not spending it with our loved ones. Most of us are glued to the laptop screen – crunching numbers, texting back on Slack, and keeping a hundred tabs open.
You need to find a way around this lack of connection. And guess what? The best way to do this is what I call a Digital Lockdown.
Look at your schedule and pinpoint where you can spend time with your loved one in a short activity that involves being emotionally connected. Maybe create some art together, listen to music, build a LEGO set, or bake some delicious goodies.
The point here is to spend time acknowledging each other’s presence. As social animals, our feel-good hormones a.k.a dopamine levels increase with social connection, automatically making us find joy.
Nurture With Nature
In the past, people often turned back to nature so that they could find joy and relief. Nature hasn’t reduced its healing capacities, we’ve simply stopped knocking at its door.
In a 2014 Finnish study, researchers drafted evidence about how nature can positively impact rejuvenation and happiness. They found how short-term visits to nearby natural areas can reduce stress hormones and improve happiness levels. You don’t need to spend hours of your day finding joy outdoors. A fifteen-minute walk can do the trick.
Nature is found everywhere. We have this tendency to associate nature with woods. But, that’s an incomplete picture. You can spend some time by the rocks, visit the beach, bike around the woods, watch the desert dunes, or simply walk on fresh grass.
Even if you’re unable to spend time outside, take a few moments to stand near your window and observe the sky. Watching the sky can instill a deep sense of purpose and relief.
Make Music Your Best Friend
Human interaction is irreplaceable. However, that doesn’t diminish how music provides relief and joy when we need it the most.
Unlike your girlfriend who left you hanging on a Friday evening zoom call or your friend who forgot to invite you to his birthday party, music is always available for you.
This universality of music is what makes it a great tool to find joy in everyday living. You can simply tune into your favorite jam while doing the dishes, swirl around while cleaning your room, focus while studying, or use it as a background theme song for your imaginary midnight scenarios.
Take music as both a solitude outlet and a solution to loneliness. You don’t have to simply take it as a way of entertainment.
During these chaotic COVID times, take some time to savor music in its true sense. Experiment with listening to new genres of music. Try not to judge the music or its theme. You might be surprised to discover a masterpiece that you had been neglecting.
In fact, music can be a great tool in overcoming loneliness. Dr. Andrew Budson, a neurology lecturer at Harvard Medical School, perfectly sums it up – “From a brain perspective, listening to music can be a very active, rich experience, almost as rich as interacting with another human being.”
Brighten Someone’s Day
I’ve personally found this tip to be the biggest contributor to my happiness. There’s a sweet satisfaction in knowing that someone would go to bed with a smiling face because of your kindness.
You don’t really need a million bucks in your bank account to be ‘generous.’ Kindness is also reflected in being present for someone. Pay attention with genuine interest and an open mind to what someone has to say.
Every small act counts – surprise your neighbor with freshly-baked goodies, hold the elevator door when you see someone running towards it, compliment the grocer, run an errand for an elderly person, offer help to your colleague struggling with his/her workload, and so on.
The crux is that you don’t have to be an outgoing and bubbly person to make someone’s day. All you have to be is kind. You know, generosity can go a long way in these puzzling times.
The Bottom Line
The road to finding joy in everyday living is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is reconnect with aspects of life that bring you the most joy.
After all, life passes in the blink of an eye. So spend your time relishing small moments with your loved ones, the fresh smell of trees, and the soulful rhythm of music. This is where you’ll really find joy.
You’ve been working relentlessly all these days. Give yourself a moment of relaxation and start indulging in the little joys of life.