5 Simple Ways to Feel Good and Enjoy Life (Every Day)
This post was first published on my old blog on 26/09/2017
As someone with a plethora of experiences of low self-esteem, burnout, trauma, perfectionism and, disappointments in life, my quest has always been about feeling good in my skin and enjoying life every day.
Feel Good is the expression of my desire to experience Peace, Love, and Joy in whatever I do, wherever I go, with whomever I am.
To feel good was not a conscious choice at first. I just didn’t want to feel crap anymore and with this willingness, I learned to practise SELF CARE and eventually it become a routine and then part of my belief system.
Studying Meditation and Mindfulness has taught me a lot about the need to make time to take care of oneself and actively engage in activities that can help one feel good and navigate life more skillfully.
The prime idea is that when you feel good, you look good and also do well and eventually well in life. Most of us can see the difference in our thoughts and actions depending on the state of our mind and mood at a given time.
Here, I lay down some of the tips and tricks I have learnt from my own life experiences and other sources.
Before we start, I must say that I have a very personal view on knowledge. I tend to be both intuitive and rational which means any information I dig in can only become validated as knowledge in my understanding if it passes the test of reality:
When applied to my own daily living, does it produce the results it claims to produce?
If the answer is yes, I will use it and it is all good. Otherwise, I will discard it as for me an information that cannot help me live a better life is just occupying a precious space that could be used for something more interesting and useful.
Most of these tips are applied in my daily life and I also share them within the scope of activities at The Feel Good Club. They have produced awesome results in my life at all levels. How I know this, you might ask. The answer is:
I became a different person: more grounded and happier about my life and others around me started noticing it over the years.
So let me break it down for you.
5 Simple Ways to Feel Good and Enjoy Life (Every Day)
#1 – Make time for yourself and to care for yourself on a daily level
Ideally, dedicating 10 -15 minutes in the morning and before going bed can do wonders for your Wellbeing.
We are living in a fast-moving world with unending demands and sometimes life feels like a race with no finish line in sight. Most of our time is spent doing things or planning things to do. It’s no wonder that we experience high levels of fatigue and overwhelm.
Paying attention to ourselves is a way to be in sync with our own thoughts and feelings. This allows us to understand our needs and nourish ourselves. It is like practicing hygiene at all levels: physical, mental and emotional and spiritual (if you believe in such).
At first, it might seem that we cannot afford to take time out. However, if we do some SELF CARE routine, we are actually helping ourselves to tank physical and mental energy which will help us navigate life and its challenges more skillfully.
The practice of Self Care is actually simpler than most people think. Note that I said, simple and not easy.
You can start by giving yourself some quiet time also known a (head) space:
Take some minutes to move around your desk and stretch
Go for a walk/exercise
Enjoy a cup of tea (I don’t like coffee, but go ahead if it’s your thing)
listen to your favourite song
Write down what you would like to focus your time and energy on
And many other things that you might think of as pleasant
These are all little things, but they have a huge impact because they prime your brain to start from a good point which will influence the way your day unfolds. When you are feeling good about yourself, you are most prone to do well throughout the day.
In the evening time, you can just create your own routine before bed. This actually helps you fall asleep and sleep longer.
Real life story: I used to pick my mobile fist thing in the morning. As soon, I stopped the alarm, I would jump to emails and social media. It would throw me out of balance in no time and I actually end up being less productive because I would get carried away from one thing to another and feeling crap in the end.
#2 – Incorporate joy/pleasant/creative activities in your daily life
Everybody is so busy these days. Thinking of taking time to do something pleasant or that is considered “non-productive”, especially on a week day, brings lots of guilty and shame in most of people. Mostly because there is this false idea that if we are not attending to our “to do list” or if we are doing nothing, we are just being lazy.
I could quote thousands of studies that prove that actually investing time in leisure/hobbies makes us more productive. Think with me, when was the last time you felt more engaged and productive? I bet you were either relaxed or having fun.
We are more productive when we are relaxed, because it allows our brain to use the full extent of its capacity. Below is an excerpt of a scientific article explaining why your brain needs more downtime.
Do yourself and your brain a big favour and do something you really like on daily basis by consciously creating moments to be creative or have fun. If this is something new to you, you can create a list called “ 10 (or 100 for the hedonists) things that brings me joy/pleasure” and start doing one of them every day and see what happens.
I will be sharing many SELF CARE ideas on this blog as we go.
Real life story: I love dancing and sometimes I break into spontaneous fits of dance throughout the day. It makes my co-workers and strangers laugh, but above all, it makes me feel alive.
Another thing that puts me in a good state of mind straight away is comedy in general. That’s my church and no single day goes without me watching uplifting or funny Youtube videos. Chris Rock, Laugh Factory, Watchmojo, SNL are always rolling on my devices.
My biggest SELF CARE pleasure is what is called a “Clockless day”– a day when I am off -I do no work, no chores except for showering, eating and cleaning after myself - and I live as if there was no time. I sleep until I want or can’t do it anymore. I eat what I want and when I want, and I choose what to do according to my desire at a given moment. Sometimes, my phone is on airplane mode for the entire day and I just check it for shorter periods of time, just in case there is an emergency.
At the end of this day, I feel like I have been on holidays and I had a mental SPA. Refreshing, I must say.
#3 – Have some (purposeful) goals
This one is for everybody even if you don’t consider yourself an achiever type.
The Japanese culture have a concept of Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”). It means "reason for being". It's a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical.
Setting small, medium, big or even delusional goals gives you something to hope and work for. It’s easy to wake up and stand up more cheerfully, if you know the reason why you are doing so. Your life becomes more meaningful.
This is especially important if you are not a morning person like me.
In my experience, you can see people with a purpose if you walk down your street at 5 am. Yes, because there are those who still nice to you despite having reasons to feel miserable for having to work so early, when everybody else is snuggling in bed.
Real life story: I used to be miserable, especially at work: it was mornings - 5.4 am, bam!- and I was doing what a good friend of mine called “committing spiritual suicide”, because I was doing a job I didn’t like and was too comfortable and afraid to go find something better and more suitable to my personality and skill sets.
Eventually, I gain some sense of reasoning and after my Coaching Training. I started writing down my 10 goals for the year every single morning. For months nothing seemed to happen, but after some time, I started feeling more motivated and my attitude towards the job changed. I got lined up for promotion, but it didn’t happen because I resigned and went on being Freelancer for three years.
Looking back, I see that the simple act of writing down my goals, aspirations and, hopes helped me gain motivation to make things happen. I ended up feeling better about my ability to control some aspects of my own life.
Having and writing goals can help. You can start with the daily goals and then progressively move to weekly, monthly and eventually make it to yearly. Even if you don’t achieve all of them, it will be worthy because you will have trained your brain to engage in a purposeful manner which brings many other benefits. One of them being the fact that you have a reason to wake up in the morning and you experience a sense of accomplishment and progression whenever you achieve something, no matter if big or small.
#4 – Connect and share
It’s easy for us to connect to people online but the real connection still happens offline.
In lifts, on the streets and at work, many of the moments are filled staring at the screens;
We neglect our family and friends without even noticing;
We are listening to what is being said but we are not taking it in;
We walk, talk and eat with our phone glued to our hand;
“We are busy”, “We haven’t got time for this and that”.
And what price do we pay for this?
Our relationships become less meaningful and we live confined to the realms of the screen of your devices.
Loneliness is on high. 8 out of 10 people don’t have someone to turn to when they most need. This is understandable because we have relegated relationship to place behind the pine trees: after everything else is done.
We are all guilty of saying: “after I do this”, “let me just do this first” and eventually time goes by and we didn’t manage to reach out and get back to family and friends. Of course, people then stop looking for us. We are super busy and cannot make time for them, but we have time to update our status on social media, where we could actually use the social media to reach out and say “Hi, how are you?”.
Real life story: I, myself have done big mistakes on this chapter. It’s so easy to get consumed by work (especially if your work hours are anti-social as mine) and everyday chores that I end up frequently postponing or declining invitations for social gatherings.
There have been times when I didn’t have anyone to do things with – I don’t mind doing things on my own sometimes, but we are social beings and we thrive in relationships with others – and I realised that I couldn’t blame my friends for not hanging around when I also don’t reach out.
I had to make some changes and I started consciously and actively making time in my calendar to catch up with friends or attend to social events once a week.
The concept of “making time” has been life changing for me. I have read it about in books but it wasn’t until a guy I dated showed me how is done in reality that I fully understood it. When he was trying to get me to go on a first date with him, he would ask me out and I would suggest a date and end with “if you are free/have time”. He on the other hand, would always reply:
“It’s important, so I will make time” and so he did. Unfortunately 1 year after, he started slacking down. Oh well, nobody is perfect! However, that taught me that sometimes we use time as an excuse in our relationships, but the fact is that we are responsible to make time for what matters most to us:
Make time to call/text our loved ones
Make time to reach out to friends abroad even if just to say: “Hi. I am thinking of you”
Make time to go with a relative/friend to something that matters to them. Sometimes, I go to my Mum’s church parties not because I am a church person, but because I know it matters to her to have me there. How well I deal with the attempts of her church mates to convert me into a church girl is a whole different story!
At the end of the day, the quality of our life is shaped by the quality of relationships so it makes sense to dedicate time and energy in fostering good connections with those who matter and share life with them. It keeps us healthier and happier as psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the director of the 75-year-old study on adult development explains in his TED Talk.
Waldinger pointed out three key lessons about happiness:
Quality (not quantity) of relationships
Stable, supportive marriages
Ps- You can also connect and share with strangers because sometimes strangers can become friends in the long run.
#5 – Celebrate the big and small
Those who know me will tell you how crazy I am about celebrating every little thing. I have been working in Events for more than a decade and my brain is shaped to make everything into an experiential sampling of a good time.
The nuns that educated me always insisted that I see life as a gift (from God they said). Therefore, it should be lived and celebrated properly. Plus, the fact that I experienced the death of many people I loved made me realise that life is fragile and we should handle it with care and enjoy it while it lasts.
These two beliefs shape my day like no other. I use every single opportunity to throw moments of celebrations. Sometimes is because I am feeling good or achieved something meaningful to me.
Other times, I drag my friends and co-workers along to celebrate something they have achieved, no matter how silly it might seem.
I used to annoy the hell of one of my former bosses because whenever she said something good during the daily briefing, I would straight away add:
Are we going to celebrate?
A celebration is no silliness. It’s a way to show gratitude to yourself and everyone involved in your success and also re-calibrating your brain with feel good hormones which will help you continue to succeed.
It feels good to achieve something and celebrating it increases also your self-confidence and makes you feel better about yourself and your circumstances. Just watch the Formula 1 drivers splashing champagne all over when celebrating their victory or witness Fortune 100 executives jumping like kids when their companies hit the KPI’s.
Celebrations connect us and create shared memories.
Please don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself:
Whenever you achieve something meaningful to you – no matter how little - do a celebration dance or treat yourself.
Encourage also others around you to celebrate their achievement and by helping them you both can have great fun.
Celebrate milestones with awesome parties that will help you remember that stage forever. I hope to celebrate my 40th birthday one day in a beautiful island. I will invite all my close relatives and friends from all over the world and we will have a “Feel Good Event” where we eat, dance and enjoy ourselves for a weekend. Can’t wait to get there!
I tend to smile a lot and be upbeat which sometimes lead people to ask me if I take drugs. The answer is:
Yes, natural drugs produced by my body known as hormones endorphin and dopamine.
Real life story: I embrace any culture and celebration as long there is food involved. Even my cat gets a birthday party.
I like to throw brunches, get-togethers and surprise parties, sometimes for no reason at all. Before, my friends use to frown upon it, but now they are fully into it.
There you have it, folks. These are plenty of reasons to feel good and enjoy life every day. It doesn’t take a lot to do it.
I have been lucky to learn simple and creative ways to induce the feel good vibes in my life. Of course, I do experience stress and my own moments of madness, but now I know how to get back on track.
What I did today is to share my learnings. I hope the tips above can be useful to you in your daily life and that I have managed to show you the benefits of doing these simple actions.
Feel good>Enjoy life