In a life where so often we have to ignore or postpone those things that give us the most joy, today I want to suggest that perhaps we all need to do a few more things that make us feel good. I’m not talking about selfish-joys that are detrimental to others or negate your responsibilities (and I also am not referring to adult-fun either). I’m talking about hobbies, passions, and pursuits that bring you personal pleasure (like artistic endeavors, being outdoors for fitness or sports, reading, seeing movies with friends, etc.). With lives so full, and martyrdom often prevalent (women in particular), many people consistently negate caring for their creative/fun sides.
Remember, life is short and the things that give us joy in life, the passions and hobbies we pursue, the moments of fun and happiness we share and experience, are essential to living a long and healthy life. Too often we isolate those moments into rare and even accidental instances, as our priorities lean heavily on jobs, family needs, and mundane chores that keep our lives chugging forward.
If you do not plan, schedule, and commit to decent chunks of time for you to do what makes you feel good, then you will not spend much time in that happy zone. It’s been well documented that people who maintain elevated levels of stress without a constant and regular outlet for their creative juices (the “happy zone”), suffer serious detriment to their bodies and minds.
When stress levels stay high, muscles and organs do not get enough tension release, which causes reduction in your immune system (more illnesses), increase in inflammation to tendons and muscles (tendonitis, arthritis, and muscle spasms), and your mood will be and stay suppressed (depressed). Life is meant to have a balance between hard work and playtime. Our bodies and spirits require the “peaks” to balance out the “valleys.”
Now if you tell me you have no hobbies or passions (as some of my clients have attempted to do), I will call bull on you (everyone has at least one thing that gives them that personal inner-joy, even if it’s just relaxing with a good book). The excuses most often cited are time and money. Well time is not the enemy, it’s your management (or mismanagement) of it. As for money, while some hobbies are clearly expensive to pursue, there are ample simple joys that everyone can partake in.
So start by figuring out what it is that you find enjoyment from while simultaneously stimulating your imagination and/or body (i.e., reading, arts & crafts, walking, hiking, dancing, playing games with the kids, etc.), then schedule in your calendar (and with your family) WEEKLY time where you will do just that thing (or those things). Make it important enough … see the importance to you … and then it will be a priority just like all the other necessities of life that you pay attention to.
Give it one month, and I know you will see and feel a difference in your life and your outlook. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback about what made you feel better.