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10 Simple Tips to Live Happy, Wild, and Free

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” -Morris West

In the past I was not known as a happy, wild, and free person. (OK maybe wild, I had my moments…) In stuck phases, peppered with depression, darkness, and hopelessness, I often wondered what it would be like to feel happy, wild and free.

I fantasized about living in Europe, writing in cafes like Hemingway, having wild crazy affairs with sexy men, or even moving to Hawaii and wearing nothing but sarongs and flip flops all day. But in truth, these fantasies were empty.

I knew in my gut that fantasies of escape would not bring authentic happiness or true freedom. Maybe at the onset, but in the end trying to create happiness, wild moments, and freedom outside of myself is only temporary. I’m left with facing whatever is still present within me.

Funny enough, I am most happy and free when attending my yearly meditation retreats. Yeah, I know, sitting in a dark room for hours at a time without moving doesn’t seem like the world’s wildest party.

But, when I relax, let go, juice up my heart, and get concentrated on the guarding point, my meditation practice takes me to unlimited expansion. There is nothing more that I need.

While meditating I am content, sometimes wildly ecstatic, and blissed-out, but most importantly, I am free. I realize then that my inner-crazy chick’s happiness and freedom exists in the simplest things.

When I attune to the simple things that give me joy, my body and spirit ignites! I feel truly alive and wildly happy. I feel free of the heavier burdens, beliefs, and complicated constructs that kept me stuck by focusing only on the “storms” within me.

Here are 10 stupidly simple tips to live happy, wild, and free:

1. Write out a short-list of the simple things that give you pleasure.

Keep them in the front of your consciousness and make sure you engage with them at least a few times a week. As you do these things, stay present and mindful of the joy they bring you.

For example, I love eating a fresh juicy nectarine on a summer’s afternoon, and meditating in the morning after a fresh brewed cup of tea, and taking a walk with my husband and window-shopping. What are some of your simple things?

2. Get moving.

Maybe you like the openness and relaxation you feel after a yoga class or the sweat and wild release of spinning. You may enjoy seeing your dog run happily in circles as you throw balls at the park.

Whatever movement inspires you, do it and observe the happiness and freedom it brings. Also, take a short walk after having a meal. This not only helps with digestion, but also instantly relieves any heavy feelings.

3. Eat light.

Support your body/mind/spirit with simple meals three times a day. On retreat, we eat out of three small bowls, usually a grain, a soup and a vegetable. Eating light helps us to feel lighter and also increases concentration, digestion, energy levels, and productivity.

As a practice of mindfulness, I put my eating utensil down between each bite and wait to pick it up again until the food is completely swallowed. It takes 20 minutes for our meal to be digested, so I know if I eat slowly for 20 minutes, I will feel completely satisfied without having to eat large portions.

4. Take a cold shower.

Waking up in the morning and taking a cold shower revives and wildly awakens the senses. Here are some benefits of cold showers:

  • Improves circulation
  • Relieves depression
  • Keeps skin and hair healthy
  • Increases testosterone and fertility
  • Increases energy and well-being

5. Talk less, and when you do talk have noble conversation.

When you hang out with your friends and loved ones, learn to love the spaces in the conversation. Listen more to their tone as they share rather than thinking about how you are going to respond.

Pay attention to what happens to your energy when you talk less, and how much happier you feel as you conserve more energy. Plus, you will love the simple intimacy of your relationships as you increase presence and heart-centered listening, freeing yourself of complications and unwanted dramas.

6. Get 10 minutes of sun a day.

With sunscreen, there are benefits to getting sun. Well-documented research shows there is a relationship between low vitamin D levels and poor health, such as frail bones, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer. We need vitamin D!

Also, light hitting your skin, not just your eyes, helps reverse seasonal affective disorder. Here comes the sun! Let the sunshine in!

7. Turn off the TV.

Rather than watch TV, use your time more mindfully. Read, walk, meet friends, or join an evening group or class. Use your time to connect to others and yourself. Or jump in and do something different, spontaneous, and wild!

8. Create.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist there are so many ways to express creatively. Cook with a loved one, dance in your living room, sing in the car, journal without editing or crossing out, learn a new joke.

Be happy, wild, and free as you express yourself more creatively!

9. Enjoy nature.

Find the nature that surrounds you—really see it. Observe yourself as you witness nature and appreciate its growth and timing.

If you feel like things are going too slow, too fast, or you aren’t really sure of where you are going, remember there is a natural timing for everything, and all the roads are taking you to the right place at the right time.

Ask yourself, “How can I compare nature’s experience to my life? How am I just like the wild flower that is growing on the path?”

10. Know the simple truth.

With enthusiasm and confidence, state what you know to be true about your authentic self. Ask yourself, “What is true about myself right now in this moment?”

For example, I am enough, I am worthy, I am good, I am loved, I have what I need, or I am a success.

State this affirmation out loud a few times to embody the essence of who you really are in this very moment. Take it in! Believe this and you are free!

Keeping your focus on the simplest things offers an immediate experience of abundant joy. May you embrace simplicity in your daily life filled with lightness, movement, and sunshine!

What are your simple things that bring light to your life?

Photo by lululemon athletica

Avatar of Lynn Newman

About Lynn Newman

Lynn Newman’s (aka Lynn Zavaro) published two games, The Game of You™- An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want and the board game version called The Game of Insight. Both offer a powerful, profound and FUN experience of self-discovery and transformation. She has currently finished her memoir. Visit her at lynnnewman.com.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Maria

    Thank you for a great post. I was much more free and happy in my ‘youth’ and now I feel I’m way too serious with little laughter in my life. I’m trying to let the light in and be more present. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and cherish the moments.

  • http://twitter.com/chaicreativity Dave Rowley

    Hi Lynn, some really great tips here. Years ago a yoga teacher advised me to take a cold shower each morning, or if i couldn’t manage that to switch for the last 30 seconds or so and douse my head in cold water. He said it was a great energy clearer and I really notice the difference when I follow his advice.  

    “What is true about myself in this moment?” — This is such a useful question, I look forward to working with that one.

  • Achalus

    Beautiful advice I wish I could tell the world!

  • Jeannie

    Wonderful post!  Thank you so much for your timely, thoughtful and personal tips!  One thing to watch is too much sunscreen though- you can’t absorb the Vitamin D through the sunscreen. Try not going out at the sun’s peak time, and moderating your time spent outdoors instead of slathering on the sunscreen:)

  • Gayathri

    “….and all the roads are taking you to the right place at the right time” FAB FAB Fabulous words! Thank you for the inspiring post!

  • Daria Sorokina

    Hi there,

    I’ve been reading your posts since I found out about it–I absoulutely love it and can never wait for the next one.

    I’ve always wanted to go to a meditation retreat but was little concerned about it (in terms of safety) I dont like going places I dont know about on my own (I’m a 28 year old female)
    You mentioned about yearly retreats you go to..would you be able to name the place

    Thank you in advance!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Daria!

    My name is Lori Deschene, and I run this site. I’m not sure if you noticed, but I actually publish posts from different writers. There have been close to 100 contributors since the site launched! I also loved this post. This is Lynn’s third contribution. If you’re curious, you can find her other posts here: http://tinybuddha.com/author/lynn-zavaro/

    Have a wonderful day!
    Lori

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  • Anonymous

    I absolutely love cold showers. They’ve always done wonders to improve my mood! Great list, these are some fantastic tips. Thank you :)

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    Thanks, Lynn, these are some excellent “stupidly simple tips” for us all! (But why stupidly? ;)

    In synchronicity, I just came from another site I read daily, where I received the tip that daydreaming is good for the brain. While we’re letting our minds wander aimlessly, the areas of the brain that solve complex problems lights up, apparently more able to work out things in the background. “The researchers suggest people encourage daily daydreaming with simple,
    mindless activities. Washing the dishes, knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles,
    or weeding the garden are all good choices.” Then I came here to read your comments about meditating, which is the all-time best mindless activity.

    From your 10 tips, I relate most to #8 Create. I’ve noticed that when I’m painting or doing crafts, my mind just disappears. I only realize it when I get up from that activity, noticing that I haven’t thought about or worried about anything during that time. It’s like a deep meditation. Completely “mindless” for long stretches of time. I’m always amazed at how I can somehow retain focus on the small details of whatever I’m creating without any conscious activity taking place.

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Hi Daria – The best way to find a meditation retreat you like is to find a teacher you like. Perhaps pick up some books and see if you are drawn to any teachers? Then google and find out where they teach. I have never ever been concerned with my safety on retreat. In fact, I feel most safe there! Sending light to your meditation journey! Lynn

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Great tip Jeannie!! Thanks!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Lets spread the joy together Maria! Yay!!!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Hi Dave – Yes! Cold showers are an instant depression dissolver and as you say clear the energy:) So great that you do it!!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Thanks Lori! I’ve gotta say that it’s an amazing privilege to be a contributor for your outstanding endeavors with Tiny Buddha! Thank you for this incredible opportunity:) Lynn

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Yes Kate you are right – not “stupid” at all! But so simple it seems “stupid” – ha ha!

    Thank you for your comment! Mindful
    concentration and focus as you say like painting or doing crafts
    strengthens the mind and allows us to become absorbed in activity with
    awareness and consciousness Yet, allowing
    the mind to wander aimlessley can make mush of our brains. In my expereince it is
    more supportive to do it with intention and focus. Yes! As you say – like a deep meditation

  • Sarah

    I love this! They may be “simple” as you say but these are truly helpful tips. Happiness creeps in when we’re not looking for it but rather finally noticing it in our daily lives!

  • Adele Uddo

    There are so many things I resonate with in this article! Thank you so much Lynn for another helpful and heart-filled reminder that all we need to feel ‘free’ is within us… And thank you for your Noble friendship :)

  • Jean Huang Photogprahy

    What a nice article!  Thank you for the tips.  To me, happiness lies mostly in how I feel, not what I do.    I’m not sure about the cold shower in the morning. :-)  But I do enjoy the no/less TV time, nature, less talking, eating light, etc.

    I just saw this article that’s pretty inspiring as well: http://candychang.com/before-i-die-in-nola/.

    Have a nice blissful day,

    Jean
    http://jeanhuangphotography.wordpress.com

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Yes Kate you are right – not “stupid” at all! But
    so simple it seems “stupid” – ha ha!

    Thank you for your comment! Mindful concentration and focus as you say like
    painting or doing crafts strengthens the mind and allows us to become absorbed
    in activity with awareness and consciousness Yet, allowing the mind to wander
    aimlessley can make mush of our brains. In my experience it is
    more supportive to do it with intention and focus. Yes! As you say – just like
    with meditation…Have fun creating! Lynn

  • Ferze

    I like the article. But I’m sorry; I don’t think it takes 20 minutes to ‘digest a meal’. It takes much longer. I think you mean that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal that the stomach has been filled…

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Yes Ferze! Thank you for the correction!!!!

  • Moragbuc

    Thanx for this wonderful info and what a Great Way to Start My Day!!!

  • Sebastian Knowes

    These are wonderful tips! Sometimes living a happy life means making others happy. There is no better gratification than knowing you made someone’s day! And like they say, what goes around comes around! 
    http://www.boxofkindness.com  

  • Lynn Zavaro

    This is so true Sebastian!! Thank you for sharing:)

  • http://twitter.com/sriniovasan srinivasan sankar

    Thanks for posting this Lynn.

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  • http://www.kellymartinspeaks.co.uk KellyMartinSpeaks

    Talk about serendipity. I am very grateful for your post today. I just happened to be browsing who to follow on twitter and saw your name and thought I would go take a look at one of your links and here I am. Another twitter member posted this: “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” – Pema Chodron.  And your message really brings this home to me to also. I have strong desires and I have had many many moments of being present lately, but certain times of the month I seem to get lost in the bog of future thinking and forget about being present. I had to consider what you said about writing in europe etc etc… as my only desire is to travel and yet I understand perfectly well why it has not happened for me because I am still not being fully present where I am. When in the panic state I guess my mind tries to control the ‘ways’ in which joy and happiness come through me.  And I know that when I am in the moment, being creative, walking in nature, taking photographs and simply being I am not worrying or panicking about that elusive future that doesn’t exist. Thanks again. I will share this on a facebook group I am on. Hugs x

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Hi Kelly,

    Your comment rings true for me. I like how you say “When in the panic state I guess my mind tries to control the ‘ways’ in which joy and happiness come through me.” You are so right – happiness and joy exists in the present! Enjoy being present, creative and being! Yay! Lynn

  • http://www.kellynaturally.com kelly @kellynaturally

    Great post — thank you for the tips. Keeping them in mind & sharing, too! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.stefany Lisa Stefany

    i actually just came back from an after-dinner walk. i felt a little bit of that uncomfortable full feeling, plus i had just had a small-scale fight with my dad, so the walk definitely helped. you’re right about that — a simple walk, at any pace, can awaken and revive the senses and rejuvenate your inner joy.

    your “create” advice is also spot on. when i came back from rehab, i completely emptied my room…everything went into the trash, to goodwill, or into the attic. i was left with yellow walls. for the next couple weeks, i wrote, painted, drew, and splattered my walls with playful (and sometimes strange) images, quotes, and cathartic & colorful nonsense. i am not an artist, but i do have an artistic drive to create things, even if it means splashing colorful chaos on a wall. but it’s art. and it feels good to make.

    lastly, the simple truth. brilliant. for the past few months, i’ve been trying to “strip, unravel, & unwrap” myself to the “sacred naked” — a term (i think) i made up to represent my bare, minimal, and sufficient needs. i spent a period of my life starving myself, but ironically, i felt heavy & burdened with an excess of negative thought & energy. the simple truth, my simple self, the simple seed of joy that lays at the root of all my thoughts, feelings, & emotions, is all that matters. i had to put literal weight back on to clear out the mental sewage that was clogging my vision of this simple truth.

    thank you for this awesome post. you rock :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/FeelGoodTrackerApp Dave Crane

    All good ideas! I use the Feel Good Tracker app to track the activities that I enjoy. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/feel-good-tracker/id387106449?mt=8
    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Menlo; color: #76482d}

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  • Lynn Zavaro

    Lisa – YOU’RE awesome and rock too!!! xoxoxo Lynn

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Cool app Dave! Thanks for sharing:) Lynn

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  • Lv2terp

    FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Roger

    This was wonderful!  I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for 2 years now, and am finally on my way up and out!  These things are some of the things I’m working on and it helps to have it reinforced.  I’m going to save this to read again!  Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Roger, its amazing how such small simple things can make such a big difference in our life. Keep up the good work of caring for yourself in such loving ways! xoxo Lynn

  • Roger

    Thanks Lynn!

  • http://lifeonpurpose.org Rebecca

    An amazing post, thank you. I’m currently on a mission to start living life ‘on purpose’, being more mindful of the simple things in life. This reminded me how wonderful the little things really can be.

  • http://lifeonpurpose.org Rebecca

    Absolutely agree with your comment about ‘mindless’ activities. I’m now inspired to go and start a jigsaw puzzle!

  • http://twitter.com/julia_calderon Julia Elena Calderon

    Thank you so much for sharing! it really works!

  • avi negi

    thanks. .but nowdays i m very sad..trying to be happy but every time i faild

  • avi negi

    thanks. .but nowdays i m very sad..trying to be happy but every time i
    faild

  • CretiveS Sense

    Great interpretations!

  • anirudh gupta

    Thanks Lynn….you’re right, it’s the small joys in life that add up….. some related but not the same thoughts of my own, if i may:
    http://hopetrotter.blogspot.in/2013/08/oceans-and-sun.html

  • gina

    awesome article……thank u Lynn……but no matter what i do i am not able to make a positive difference in my life…..please help…..!

  • vinayak

    very good

  • drew G

    awesome

  • Maury Hill

    Great post! I am going through some very troubling, anxiety-ridden times right now. My husband just had open-heart surgery and I’m going to have a foot surgery and two cataracts out next month. I find myself cycling from worry to hope to worry to despair and from worry to just breathing. A friend told me this joke: Imagine yourself riding a horse and there’s a giraffe matching your pace right beside you. Now imagine that there is a lion right behind both of you. What do you do? Answer: Get off the bleeping carousel! WOW! That spoke to me. I’ve been on a carousel of worry…ups and downs…circling and circling. Your post has also helped, and they are all great suggestions. I’m listing them and beginning them NOW —on solid ground beside the whirling carousel… :)

  • http://www.marrilynshtong.com Marrilyn S.H Tong

    Hey Lynn, enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing :)