Your Health

Take a deep breath

Plus 20 other ways to enjoy your life more

21 ways to enjoy your life more

BY KAREN KYLIUK
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, May / June 2011

Think you need to win the lottery to enjoy life more? Not so!

Actually, research on happiness has found that once basic needs are met, increased wealth has little to do with life satisfaction.

So why do some people appear more content and able to take life in stride, despite daily pressures and stressors? These people seem to experience daily pleasure even when faced with disappointments and struggles that are an inevitable part of the everyday human experience.

Emerging research on happiness and well-being is shedding some light on this mystery. This research highlights the importance of a person's perception in many life areas such as psychological, social and mental well-being. People who flourish have a zest for life and tend to be more optimistic in their outlook.

The new thinking about happiness suggests that by nurturing many aspects of one's self, including life purpose, social connectedness, spirituality and a sense of optimism and appreciation, we can become more fulfilled. It is about prioritizing what is important in your life, making a point of doing what you enjoy and spending time with people you like to spend time with.

Want some simple, relatively inexpensive suggestions on how to enjoy life more?

Here are "21 Ways to Enjoy Life More." Try one thing, each day, for the next 21 days to promote and improve your overall health and well-being:

Day 1

Start the day off FRESH. Take a deep breath. Make a conscious choice to slow down and just breathe throughout your day.

Day 2

Focus on the positives. Write down three things that went well today. What was your role? Being grateful can enhance your mental well-being.

Day 3

Make time to play today. Get outdoors. Play with your kids or your pet and take a moment to rejuvenate.

Day 4

Touch base with your loved ones. Call two people who you feel close to or enjoy spending time with and thank them for being a part of your life. Expressing and hearing affirmations is very healing and rewarding.

Day 5

Bigger picture stuff. What is meaningful in your life? How do you want to make a difference in your community? Jot down one thing you can do today that will make a difference tomorrow.

Day 6

Treat yourself. Eat some chocolate, but really experience the taste, smell and texture. Be mindful of all your senses as you enjoy this treat!

Day 7

Embrace culture. Reflect on your heritage. Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your history as a valuable part of who you are.

Day 8

Be active. Call up friends and arrange to meet at a local park. Did you know that being active and connecting with others has real overall health benefits?

Day 9

Personal resources. What or who has helped you through difficult times in the past? What can you do for yourself when feeling stressed? We all have difficulties from time to time, but knowing what helps us can make a difference in how quickly we get through it.

Day 10

Learn. Go to your library or local craft store and get information on a hobby you've always been curious about.

Day 11

Take a timeout. Enjoy some quiet time, close your eyes as your thoughts drift. Breathe. If you like, take a warm bath.

Day 12

Meaning. Get in touch with your purpose in life. What excites you? What do you feel passionate about? How can you get more involved in what is important to you?

Day 13

Enjoyment. Spend one hour today doing what you want. What was that like? How do you feel now? Taking time to re-energize allows you to continue to be your best in other areas of your life.

Day 14

Connect. Call a friend and arrange to meet for a cup of tea or coffee. Spending time with people we like can actually boost our immune system and helps us stay more mentally and physically healthy.

Day 15

Reach out to others. Do something kind for someone today. Say hello to your neighbours, bring a plate of cookies to the office, visit an elderly relative or friend, and give someone a compliment.

Day 16

Happiness. Create a happiness list, write - down four things that make you feel happy.

Day 17

Spirituality. Say a little prayer of thankfulness. Nurturing your spiritual side not only provides hope and peacefulness but can encourage us to let go of things beyond our control and gives us the focus to change the things we can.

Day 18

Breathe. Take three minutes to focus on your breathing. Get comfortable in your chair, inhale slowly through your nose (or mouth), count one, two, three; completely fill your lungs. Hold your breath - pause, then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes.

Day 19

Disconnect. Yes, to stay connected, you need to disconnect. Turn off all electronics for one hour today (BlackBerry, cell phones, television, computers, video games). Do something that you haven't done for a while like read a book, write in a journal, or play an old-fashioned board game.

Day 20

Reflect. Pull out a photo album and reflect on your memories. Each picture tells a story. What do you remember? Call someone who is in a photo that you like and reminisce about that time in your life.

Day 21

Nature. Take a walk in a local park and observe the nature around you (the sights and sounds). Re-connect with the natural world around you and Enjoy Life More!

Karen Kyliuk is a mental health resource and education facilitator for the Winnipeg Health Region.

Wave: May / June 2011

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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