Hello to all of you! I’m happily taking over for David today while he’s in charge over at Jess Witkins’ Happiness Project.
We’re not talking about golf or tennis swings. We’re talking about the swing of your life…bringing back the jazz, the zing, the excitement! I have to admit that I am constantly working at this. I have to remind myself to stay in the NOW because I spend far too much time thinking ahead, worrying needlessly or wasting the moment.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Remember that tired expression? Let’s revive it!
1. Sleep – Almost daily you can find a report somewhere online telling you the importance of getting enough sleep. We know it’s true, so why do we shortchange ourselves? Lack of sleep can cause apathy, irritability, flat emotional responses…no zest, no zing. Sleep to restore you bodily functions and rev up your brain…hence, more zest and zing. If you’d like to read more about the damage lack of sleep can cause, click HERE.
2. Play – No one has more zing in their lives than children. They wake with energy and are excited about the day. Adults can feel the same way. Put more play into your daily life. Create fun activities to amp up your energy. Play tennis, go swimming, play in the garden. Playing with your spouse in bed creates feelings you get nowhere else. The feeling of being younger, being desired, and of being able to then jump out of bed and tackle the day with vitality. Simple acts like eating an ice cream cone in the backyard, giggling over corny jokes, having a pillow fight, or running in the sprinkler can bring back zesty youthfulness.
3. Declutter – We can get weighed down by all the clutter in our lives. Get rid of it all! Clean a junk drawer, a closet, the attic or garage. Excessive obligations are also classified as life’s clutter. Even the people in your life who are a drain on your energy and add nothing but negativity to your life amount to clutter. Clear it all away and you’ll feel refreshed and renewed!
4. Revisit – Take another look at the goals you’ve written for the future. How many have you already accomplished? Cross them off the list. Can some of them be broken down into smaller, more easily achieved steps? Are some goals still valid? If not, get rid of them and replace them with something more meaningful and attainable. Life is constantly in motion, changing all the time. Don’t expect every goal you wrote down a year ago to be relevant today. It’s okay to make changes. After this exercise, you should have a smile on your face and a little more spring in your step.
5. Balance – This is a big problem for most of us and one of the hardest things in life to maintain. Swinging too far to one side creates stress and, often, negative self-talk when you realize you’ve overburdened yourself. Swing too far in the other direction also causes stress when you’ve lost focus and lose track of your responsibilities. You berate yourself for not handling life better and waste time feeling badly about your decisions. Sometimes writing it all down gives you a clear picture of how to swing back toward the middle. Unleash yourself from the ball and chain tasks that weigh you down. Make a plan to get back on track with responsibilities you’ve neglected. The first example that comes to mind is regaining the balance between ‘overeating and inactivity’ and ‘running yourself ragged to keep up with all your health commitments’. Cutting out desserts and walking three times a week can center you with small steps and will bring back some of the energy and zest you had before.
6. Focus – “Today is all we have. Live it to its fullest.” We’ve heard this before and it sounds like a huge mountain to climb. Break it down. Living life to its fullest is simply focusing your thoughts on and enjoying what you’re doing NOW.
a. Have mindfulness. It creates a serene feeling, making you less reactive and aggressive. It takes your ego out of a conflict and gives you an opportunity to make better decisions. Just breathe. Mindfulness opens your eyes to the beautiful view, the succulent taste, the sensual pleasure, the melodic sounds of life at the moment.
Take control of your thoughts, give NOW your full attention, otherwise you may be missing out on some wonderful experiences.
b. We only have so much energy. Wasting energy on worrying over things we can’t change is fruitless. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth doing something about it.” Change what you can and let the rest slip away. We can’t do anything about the past and what’s to come in the future will be dealt with in the future.
c. We live in a world of distractions. To live more in the NOW, allow yourself to get completely absorbed in a task. This is called flow. To create flow, choose an activity with an attainable goal, but one that is specific and will cause you to stretch your abilities. For example, increasing your speed during running, knitting a new challenging pattern, writing the next chapter of your book or playing the next bar of a scroll of music. The focus required makes time slip by, blocks distractions and creates a state of flow.
So, now that you know how to get that ZING back in your life, what are you going to do with it? What can you enjoy more fully? What gets you excited?
Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about SSS (strong, smart, sexy) Women, Health and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, seeing the sights of her home state or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn and always time to play.
Come hang out with Marcia at: http://twitter.com/MarciaARichards or http://facebook.com/MarciaARichards .
Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com
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Marcia, this is a wonderful post and all so very, very true! This week at work, a colleague of mine went into cardiac arrest and passed away on campus. He was only just a few years older than me, and the kind of person who was so full of life and energy and who was constantly busy with goals that involved mentoring and helping others. He lived every second to the fullest and achieved his goals through being in the moment and taking every chance he got to both experience life and reach out to others. I didn’t work too closely with him myself but knew of him and his accomplishments because he touched the lives of so very many colleagues and students that I do interact with daily. As I read each of your points, I thought of how he’d agree with them. Thank you for these awesome reminders!
You are so right, Marcia. All of these points are together a recipe for a better well being. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
I read this a few days ago while waiting for my son to finish piano and forgot to come back and comment! I love all these ideas, but especially #’s 3, 5 & 6.
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Marcia, this is a good reminder to live in the present time rather than trying to plan for the future. You know I bet we will get more sleep too if we do that!
Hi Marcia, all the things you list are definitely worth keeping in mind. I can definitely use some help in the declutter department. I find it quite interesting how much we can better ourselves by keeping just a few basic things in mind. Who can argue with your list? Thanks for sharing and reminding us.
You know, this isn’t the first time you’ve told us do these things and yet I don’t think I’ve ever been very successful at 1 or 2. I think you just gave me a mission to accomplish. Jess’ Happiness Project is soon to be launching a new challenge!
Can’t wait to find out what your new challenge is, Jess! Like any Mom worth her salt knows, repetition is how we learn throughout our lives. 🙂
Hi Marsha! I used to be a professional organizer. I’m all about the decluttering of stuff. It’s really hard for some people. 😉
What a great skill to have! I’d love a job like that. So, you know what it takes to to get rid of all the useless junk in our lives…hmmm…sounds like a great post idea, Renee!
As the song says, ” It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing!” Every day is a gift.
You’re right about that, Patricia! And everyday is even better with a healthy dose of passion thrown in!
Hi, Marcia! Great reminders on wiping the stress out of our lives. I’m finding myself more energized and less stressed now that I restarted an exercise routine.
God bless a workout accountability buddy!
On the declutter side of things, I live with a pack-rat. I have to toss and donate while he’s golfing. Since we have our home on the market and plan to downsize, the act of getting rid of the clutter is a MUST. It does NOT help that, prior to home showings, I run around cramming things willy-nilly out of site and then spend weeks trying to find them again.
Oh, perfect, Gloria! Exercise and a buddy is the perfect combination for success!
Wow, you have your hands full with selling a house and dealing with all that clutter. Sounds like you’re doing pretty well at it though. Getting rid of the clutter when he’s not looking is great because, with most of what you eliminate, he won’t remember having it to begin with. Good luck!
Love this, Marcia…. 🙂 Thank you for some major reminders on how I can really get my rear in gear…
David thanks for having Marcia here today!
Thanks, Darlene. We all need a reminder now and then!
Thanks for posting on my site, Marcia.
Thanks for having me, David! I love visiting!