Fulfilling Habits That Lead to Joyful living

You know those joyful women who always seem to have smiles on their faces – the gals who seem to have all the world’s secrets tucked away in their gorgeous, Louis Vuitton handbags?

Chances are pretty good that those women seem as happy and content as they do because their daily habits lead highly fulfilled lives.  

If you’re thinking, “Hey, I want that too!  Can I live a highly fulfilled life?”  The good news is: you can! 

And the truth is, as elusive as finding fulfillment might seem, it’s really not as hard as you’d think. It’s all about – you guessed it, Darling – transforming your self-image and making a few tiny tweaks in your daily routines and habits. 

When you change your self-image, you change how you show up in the world. That means your attitude, your energy, and your day-to-day doings. 

Embrace acceptance and let acceptance cultivate peace.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras state that the fourth cause of suffering is Dvesha or aversion. The sutra refers to repulsion and avoidance of things you don't want. Patanjali goes on to explain that through refusal and opposition in present moments we create pain for ourselves. 

Anxiety and stress make life more difficult than it needs to be because we are resisting what is happening now which can lead us into a negative spiral where our lives are filled with struggle.

You operate out of a mindset that says that (no matter what ) when outside situations or circumstances go against you, the answer is to change them. While it’s true this approach can sometimes be successful, more often than not it just leaves you exhausted. When going up against nature you use your energy inefficiently. 

A much better way is to cultivate peace and wisdom through acceptance.

Acceptance is the ability to allow people, circumstances, and situations to be as they are. It's a conscious choice that stems from an understanding of how all previous moments have led up to this moment.

Consider cultivating the art of allowing, changing your perception and your attitude toward the situation, and seeking out the possibilities in the given circumstances. 

As Wayne Dyer puts it, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Create a habit of looking at the world through the eyes of acceptance and watch how that energy shifts everything for you.

Take a break.

“Stop. Breathe. Allow yourself the luxury of doing nothing for a moment, or an hour, or even a day. It is in emptiness that inspiration will appear.” -- Carole Katchen

In a culture that demands productivity, it can be difficult to wind down and take a break. Downtime, in fact, can feel foreign and unnatural. 

Many of us have a hard time relaxing and doing nothing because of that judgy voice in our head that says things like, “There is so much to do! Stop procrastinating! Don’t be so lazy!”. 

If you’re not working, it can feel like you are wasting your potential or your time. 

You may not even be aware of these unconscious thoughts that keep you running that hamster wheel no matter what. 

If spending time lounging around makes you uncomfortable because of how culture defines productivity, don’t worry; you’re not alone in that feeling. 

In reality, though, rest and relaxation are equally as important as moving your booty; in fact, you’re likely to be more creative and more productive when you are well-rested and take the time to just be.

Dolce far niente (pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness) is a part of everyday life for Italians, and they are really good at it. The idea can be easily observed in families taking strolls together through the piazza, women sitting on porches gazing at passersby, or friends enjoying an afternoon glass of wine at a cafe. 

Doing nothing can be an event in and of itself!

Sadly, somewhere along the line, our culture lost the notion that relaxation and living in the moment were important parts of life. 

Relaxation is an art and a science; as with any other craft, it takes time and practice to hone. Armed with the knowledge of how your mind and your body function, you can create relaxation rituals that will ultimately boost your productivity and leave you feeling more fulfilled. 

Try some or all of these things on the daily. And, see what else you can come up with on your own (do share!)

  • Sit quietly and gaze at the trees.
  • Have a little lie in once in a while when you wake up in the morning.
  • Enjoy some leisure time over your morning coffee.
  • Disconnect! Take a day away from email, social media, the news, and phone calls.
  • Nuggle up with some naptime- naps aren’t just for babies and toddlers! They can do us all a world of good.  

Gratitude journaling goes a long way toward fulfilling your soul.

It's been said that a thankful heart is the best medicine, and through various research studies we are finding out why. 

Counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have can help us sleep better, lower stress levels in life, and improve our relationships with others. 

Get out that journal and write!

If gratitude journaling is new to you, writer’s block can kick right in. Try following a few of these prompts to get you going:

  • Name three unique things about yourself that make you feel good and grateful.
  • If you had to give up everything, which three things would you keep and why?
  • If you could name two moments in your life that gave you complete joy, what would they be?
  • Jot down four things your family did this week that made you smile or laugh.
  • List three ways to express thanks to someone without saying the words, “thank you.”
  • Look around you – name nine things that make you feel happy, content, and satisfied.
  • Write a thank you letter to yourself.
  • Think about a time when you made a big mistake - write about what you learned and how you grew from that experience. 
  • Remember the last time you laughed until your sides hurt and tears were running down your face? Write about that. 

Take a daily thrill ride.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  -- Hellen Keller

Life is meant to be a big adventure, so get out and discover it! 

Be audacious and start saying yes to things you might normally talk yourself out of. 

  • Learn something new. 
  • Make a new friend. 
  • Go out to lunch by yourself- or better yet, go on a trip by yourself! 
  • Say yes to that request for a date, even though they’re “not your type.”  Remember when your mother said never to judge a book by its cover? You never know ... 
  • Get creative in the kitchen - or the bedroom! 
  • Get creative with your wardrobe, your hair, your nails, or your perfume!
  • Do something that scares the heck out of you. 
  • Apply for that job- even if you don’t think you’re 100% qualified. 

Pamper yourself like a princess.

When was the last time you indulged in a little “me time”? With a multitude of responsibilities taking up so much of our lives, many women are challenged when it comes to self-care.

Take the time to indulge yourself. Bubble baths, gourmet teas, spa days, and silky drawers… don’t you deserve the best?

Of course, you do! When we treat ourselves with love, we send a message to ourselves that we deserve that love. 

Not feeling it 100%? Fake it till you make it, Darling. Self-esteem comes with esteemable acts – and vice versa. 

A daily habit of doing something nice for yourself will go a long way toward fulfilling your sense of self. 

Eat, drink, and be healthy.

“Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed. The mind and the body work together. Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and the spirit. If you take good care of it, your body can take you wherever you want to go, with the power and the strength and energy and vitality you will need to get there.-- Jim Rohn

You know what you need to do. Eat well and get moving. Drink plenty of water. Sleep. And breathe. 

A daily habit of treating your body like a temple will not only give you more energy, it will also give you longevity. 

You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and you’ll be more productive when you treat your body with the love and care it deserves. 

Reach out and touch someone’s heart.  

Today it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with those you love. Sadly, we often get so busy that we forget to just call (or text, or video chat) and say “hi.”

Take the time each day to reach out to someone you care about, even if it’s just a simple text message to say, “I’m thinking of you.”

Make your bed!

Little habits around orderliness can go a long way toward making us feel balanced, peaceful, and fulfilled. There’s something soothing about a neat and tidy space; and, not only will it soothe your soul,  it will actually make your life easier!

I have a friend who always says, “Organization is my friend.” Getting out the door is so much easier when you don’t have to spend a frantic half hour searching for your keys, your wallet, or that great pair of shoes that will give you all the confidence you need to crush it today. 

Practice the art of stopping to think, breathe, and then act.

There are four simple life-saving words that are drilled into every student’s head during a standard scuba diver training course: 

Stop. Think. Breathe. Act.

These words apply to so much more than just your underwater sea adventures, though – this simple, yet profound advice can also have a deep impact on your everyday life. 

Fear, anxiety, anger, or frustration can come at us in a tidal wave, flooding our body with adrenaline and drowning out all reason. 

If in our everyday lives we apply this simple scuba guideline, we can navigate most difficult situations with ease and calm, acting rather than reacting, and creating more peaceful and practical outcomes. 

As a result, your relationships will benefit and so will your soul. 

I'd love to hear from you! What daily or weekly habits do you have in place that help you lead a more joyful and fulfilled life? Please share in the comments below.

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