We move through life like machines on a mission. We unwillingly rise early, eat our typical breakfast, complete our stressful daily work tasks, eat dinner in front of the television and finish the day by collapsing in bed. We race against the clock to finish our daily responsibilities and we are rarely present. We dream of the weekend yet we spend half of the time running errands. Does this sound like you? Now ask yourself: What truly makes me happy and what part of my routine brings me joy?
It seems crazy to have to contemplate what makes you truly happy. Yet, after I was asked this question three years ago, it was the start of an awakening. I am a holistic nutritionist and I was living my life like a robot. I started my day early and I spent hours responding to emails even before I got to work. I had started a new business venture, so on top of my regular client load I was balancing a new project and my regular practice. I would see clients until 8pm and I would literally go home and cry.
I was exhausted and miserable and I felt like I had to suffer to be successful. I had lost sight of what made me happy and I didn’t even realize it. When I bumped into an old friend he brought awareness to my misery with his simple, but complicated question about happiness. I did have a response to his question, only I realized that NONE of the things I mentioned were part of my regular routine—or even my monthly routine!
I love being near the water and I was spending time in a skyscraper. I love animals and nature and I hadn’t left Manhattan in six months. I adore my family and I hadn’t seen them for three months. I love writing and music, but I hadn’t explored either one of my passions in ages. His question forced me to reevaluate and make drastic changes in my path.
When you live your life on autopilot, it isn’t your own. Your choices are made from a place of “have to” rather than “want to” and your wishes and goals become secondary. Oftentimes, you may feel fatigued because you are drained by life’s responsibilities, rather than energized by life’s pleasures. You may even suffer from digestive issues because you aren’t “digesting” your life or a thyroid imbalance because you’re suppressing your creative voice. Although it isn’t easy to make each day full of passion and purpose, we can make it a practice to be more present and aware of that little voice inside of each of us that knows we deserve more.
What brings you joy? When was the last time you truly felt happy? When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Who do you surround yourself with? How do these people make you feel? Is negativity a common theme in your life? Do you know what brings you peace and balance? Now ask yourself: If today were my last day on earth, would I be proud of the life I am living? Begin today knowing that life is a precious gift that is meant to be lived fully.
5 Tips to Manifest Joy
1. Do you believe you deserve to be happy? Although this is a simple question it is not always a simple answer. If the answer is no, ask yourself why you believe this. Where did you first hear this? Oftentimes we are our own block to joy.
2. Draw a picture of your happy self. You can even do this in your mind. Close your eyes and quiet your mind. Take a few deep breaths and picture yourself happy. Where are you? What are you doing? What emotions are you feeling? Who are you with? Now ask yourself how you can duplicate that feeling in your daily life. If you were on vacation, think about the parts of that trip that can be incorporated into your everyday life—maybe it’s just taking 30 minutes to read a good book or soak in a bubble bath!
3. Create a vision board. This board should be a collage that represents the life you would like to live. Once you have finished, evaluate your current life and think about the action steps you can take to move closer to your ultimate desires and goals.
4. Make time in your schedule for YOU. If you block off time in your calendar for things that make you happy you will manifest more joy on a daily basis. This can even be 30 minutes per day of quiet time.
5. Affirm: I live a life I am proud of and my dreams are fulfilled each and every day.