Let me ask you two questions. Are you fulfilled in your life? Today, right now, do you have a sense of satisfaction or a list of regrets? Most of us live our lives searching for the one thing that will make us happy with our current existence.
I’m here to give you good news! You can be happy today and joyful through the years. It’s not complex and won’t cost your life savings. Let me show you five ways I have found to have a more fulfilling life.
1. Focus on experiences
We spend a lot of time and money buying things. A nice house or apartment, a new car, the latest gadget and a host of other luxuries. But a truly fulfilling life has little to do with what we own. Use your time and resources to create experiences.
Spend a day at the park with your family, take a vacation to a place you’ve never visited, stay up all night playing board games, go enjoy a play or concert. Creating memories together will last much longer and bring you more joy than having the nicest car on the block.
2. Make exercise a priority
You have an amazing body. It doesn’t matter whether you think you are in shape or not, your body is a miracle. Getting regular exercise is a quick way to boost your mood. Pushing your body, even a relatively small amount, will give you a sense of accomplishment.
You could ride a bike, take up running with a group, enjoy a swim, meet friends at the gym or schedule a walk alone a few times a week. You may not want to exercise before you step out the door, but you’ll love the feeling of power you get from pushing through.
3. Be intentional in your relationships
Many studies have shown that people who have strong social connections live longer. Having a person with whom to share your hopes and dreams makes them more real. Knowing that when you come home there is someone who loves you more than anyone else makes you feel valued and gives you renewed purpose.
Beyond a significant other, having a small group of close friends helps you to see that your problems are not unique. These are the people who will encourage you through the valleys and celebrate you on the mountaintops. In addition you get to pay it back when they need a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. You may lose all of your possessions, but true friends are there for life.
4. Pursue peace
The world moves at a dizzying pace. We often deal with deadlines, rush hour traffic, and trying to live up to unrealistic time expectations. It is overwhelming.
Books and articles abound on how to get more things done in less time. We are constantly pushed to move faster, strive harder and make things happen. While I too am a person of ambition I’ve learned a simple fact. Sometimes it too much.
We need to stop. Just stop. Take a break and give our minds and spirits a time of renewal. Look for a quiet place at home or in nature. Don’t go to a coffee shop or anywhere else filled with people. Read a relaxing book on a shady porch. Spend time in meditation or prayer in your favorite chair. Do so regularly. If we are always rushing, always doing and always pushing we will never be fulfilled.
5. Give of yourself
Perhaps the single most fulfilling thing you can do is to serve others. Holding tightly to your time and resources will not keep them secure or make them grow, but giving them away on your own terms brings great rewards. Take time out of your life to help those from whom you never expect repayment.
Think back over your life. Surely there were many times when you received such grace from others. Make it a practice of doing what you can, whenever you can, to improve the life of another. Become fulfilled by giving of yourself.
Fulfillment manifests itself as a sense of satisfaction in life. It alights on you like a butterfly when you are doing those things that make you most happy. If you are like me you’ve spent many years rushing in the grip of ambition. There is nothing wrong with ambition, in fact part of fulfillment is being a productive person. But ambition alone can’t bring fulfillment.
Experiences, exercise, the love of friends, peace and acting in service of others are the stepping stones on the path to fulfillment. Spend your life in these pursuits and you will change yourself and the world around you.
HuffPost’s GPS for the Soul app is based on two truths about human beings. First: We all have a centered place of wisdom, harmony and balance within us. Second: We’re all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. What we need is a great course-correcting mechanism — a GPS for the Soul — to help us find our way back to that centered place, from which everything is possible.
Because no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into that place of peace inside yourself, it’s important for you to create your very own GPS guide — a personalized collection of whatever helps you course-correct. Email us at GPS@huffingtonpost.com and we’ll set you up with your very own HuffPost blogger account to share your guide on the site. If you’re already a blogger, we encourage you to upload your personal guide today. We can’t wait to see what you have to share.
— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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