Between high work expectations, increased traffic, screen-time distractions like social media or just a To-Do List that seemingly never gets shorter, it’s easy to get lost in the small things that make up a fast-moving day. As most of us live a lifestyle that’s increasingly removed from the physical, tangible world, it comes as no surprise that the rates of depression and anxiety are also rapidly on the rise, and increasingly experienced by younger individuals. There has never been a more important time to re-learn how to celebrate our time, become connected to our community and to our planet, and take practice in the universal truths of life.
There is nothing complex about celebrating life. In fact, most of this celebration simply comes from being present, aware, conscious and practicing gratitude. This change of mindset can ground your entire day with a new outlook, and help you feel more satisfied and alive than ever. As we start fresh this New Year, here are some methods to reshape your life:
Begin Each Day with Gratitude
From the moment you wake up, start your day aware of the life in which you’ve been honored to participate. Many people find solace in morning meditation, writing in a gratitude journal or connecting with the universe in prayer while expressing appreciation for their riches of all varieties – from a warm bed to a loving family member. This is a wonderful way to “turn the lights on” in your mind and put you on the right track to leading a more mindful, and ultimately more satisfying, day.
Move Your Body Through Play
Your body is a truly remarkable operation and there is no better way to explore its aptitude than through movement. Yoga, dance, swimming, weight-training – you can experience so many aspects of your own potential through finding sports that you enjoy. Take the seriousness out of the equation, and instead focus on keeping your biological machine well oiled, diverse and adept. If that means 15 minutes of hopscotch in the community park instead of a spin class one day, rest assured you'll reap the same (if not more) benefits simply through switching things up and staying mentally active. Learn to enjoy your immense physical gift.
Connect with Nature
Just because not all of us are fortunate enough to live in the mountains or on a lake, doesn't mean we need to forget to interact with nature. Nature comes in all shapes and sizes, and it's important to take a few moments to marvel at its incredible complexity and perfect beauty. If you have a trail nearby, take a short walk on unpaved ground. If time is short, place your naked feet on some grass or dirt, tuck a new plant into a pot or feel the texture of tree bark and watch an ant running up its side. Look deeply into an animal's eyes or carefully bring a wayward spider roaming in your house back outside, and wish him good luck in the world. There is truth in literally stopping and smelling the roses – it puts any daily problem into a very different perspective.
Know Your Food
Get to really know what you eat through pursuing education. Read about what an apple has to offer your body or learn about why non-GMO is so important and how to protect your family. The better understanding you have of your food, the healthier your diet will inherently become and the sharper you'll feel. Practice gratitude not only for the food on your plate, but celebrate the nutrients that are being awarded to your body. The foods you eat create the cells that become you. Honor yourself with the best ingredients you possibly can.
Celebrating life every day isn't about the grand things – the epic family vacations, buying the new car or going to the party of the year. Those things may be highlights, but they're not sustainable activities. Instead, actively taking the time to ground yourself throughout the day with micro-blasts of appreciation and awareness of the physical world are essential to maintaining a celebratory attitude. Put your phone away when you're spending time with another person; choose to take in a sunset with your eyes instead of through a camera; or opt for a game night instead of a Netflix binge. We've been given the most incredible gift of life and there is more to learn than we’ll ever know. Let's commit to lifting our heads up a little more often and looking, listening, feeling and honoring that which is around us. Being alive is a privilege: celebrate all of it!