“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~Deepak Chopra
For years I allowed everyday struggles, like slight disturbances from schedule, to steal my happiness, peace, and energy. Whenever something disrupted my plan, I got negative and started complaining.
When I realized this, I began taking steps to accept the daily chaos. I shifted my focus to how I percieve my daily life and how I spend the twenty-four hours I get.
I started asking questions, like: Am I being positive? Am I spending my hours in a way that’s productive yet joyful?
And I began working on changes that enabled me to be at my happiest, most optimal self.
Gradually, I was able to regain my lost calm and restore my lost energy.
If you’d also like to experience more peace and joy in your days, these steps may help.
1. Add fun to your daily chores.
What are the most boring tasks in your daily routine? How can you make them more enjoyable?
Minor changes like this can make a large difference in your day.
One idea is to couple boring chores with more pleasurable activities. My favorite way to do this is by turning on some music while doing tedious tasks.
Another idea is to plan fun-time as a reward for after work. Or, do a task that makes you feel accomplished just before you handle a mundane one so you’re in a better mental space when you tackle it.
Completing your tasks in a more exciting manner enables you to have fun, while staying more productive as well.
2. Be grateful.
Once we start complaining, we keep listing everything, small or big, that frustrates us.
Meanwhile, we ignore the good altogether, as if it does not exists.
Recently, I was planning to meet with an old friend after not seeing her for a long time. But she cancelled the day before and said she was going out of town, so we wouldn’t be able to get together for at least a month.
Because I was so frustrated, and fixated on this one thing that went wrong, I couldn’t enjoy the movie I watched with my family that day. I kept dwelling on how upset I was, which pulled me out of the moment.
If you want more peace, stop getting into this vicious cycle of dwelling and complaining.
The next time you find yourself counting the bad, stop to count some good as well. The good things you find might seem ridiculously tiny—like a shared movie with someone you love—but so are the complaints, if you think about it.
Staying grateful keeps the negative balanced with the positive, thus preventing you from taking a glum view on life.
3. Go slightly out of routine.
When someone asks you what you are doing today, do you say, “Oh, the usual,” with a sigh? Or, do you feel excited as you count off things on your fingers?
If you do the former, then maybe following the same routine has become too monotonous, and you could benefit from some unpredictabilty.
Take a different route to your office, do something on the spur of the moment, or pick up a task that’s scheduled for later and finish it beforehand.
When you voluntarily break your timetable, you can adapt better to the sudden changes that happen.
Besides, If you finish an important chore, it will give you a sense of early achievement!
4. Set aside compulsory “me time.”
In our busy life, it’s easy to forget to take breaks. But working around the clock doesn’t necessarily make you more productive.
Instead, it ends up making you more negative and reluctant to work.
On the other hand, having something refreshing to look forward to makes it easier to get through even the worst of days.
What makes you happy instantly? Include it in your compulsory to-do list.
Enjoy some music, read a book, go for a morning stroll, or savor a cup of coffee. Anything that helps you relax can qualify as your “me time.”
5. Take care of your mind and body.
If we are not in our top form, mentally or physically, we get exhausted easily. We are also unable to deliver our best.
You don’t need to spend hours in a gym, follow a strict diet, or be an expert in meditation.
Here are quick examples of activities for a healthy body, wise mind, and contented spirit:
Body: Go for a walk, eat fruit daily, and ensure that you get enough sleep.
Mind: Indulge in quick mental exercises—solve a puzzle, do easy math, or memorize a number without your phone’s help!
Spirit: Spend a few quiet moments with yourself—focus on your thoughts, think of the minor goals you accomplished, or recall a moment that made you happy.
6. Cut down the negative sources.
Spend more time with the friends who encourage you instead of the ones that make you feel low.
Limit the activities that unnecessarily stress you out.
When you need to face something negative, decide in advance that you won’t allow that negativity to leak into your entire day.
I have a friend who used to put me on the defensive. I couldn’t understand why; she had a nice manner, after all.
I eventually realized it was because she’s the kind of person who expects everyone to conform to the society’s views.
She was actually being judgmental and criticizing, but with a disguised exterior. She was also coercing me into being like her.
I used to get drained because I was constantly making excuses or giving explanations for my differences.
When I understood this, I started spending less time with her and kept conversations general.
Now, when we do meet, and she finds something to criticize, I simply leave it at “Oh, that’s just the way I like it” instead of wasting my energy trying to justify my views.
7. Remove extra clutter.
One of the reasons we feel so drained is because we focus our attention on too many things.
Clutter doesn’t necessarily mean your posessions. Your clutter can be material, digital, or even emotional.
Whatever it is, take a while to understand what’s occupying your space, time, and thoughts.
Think deeply about what you really need and get rid of what you are uselessly holding on to.
Go ahead and do the house/office cleaning that you’ve been putting off for so long.
Limit your time on social media and utilize that time reading useful sites/watching informative videos instead.
Or go even deeper—let go of the grudges and negativity and focus your thoughts in a direction that benefits you.
8. Stop looking at the ideal things that could be.
We all have things we don’t like and situations we want to be different. But if we can’t change them, it only ends up making us unhappy.
Quit giving these external circumstances the power to affect your joy.
Appreciate what is present, use the resources you have, and accept the few things that are not the way you want.
I felt very lonely during the first year of college. I’d had to leave old friends behind and start afresh. I was okay with that—I’d always considered the possibility that we might go our separate ways.
But I believed that I would make new friends—ones who were totally like me—to share my dreams and passions with.
That was not what happened. I couldn’t find anyone I truly connected with, and I became hyperaware of how different I was. As a result, I felt shy and vulnerable, which further prevented me from getting close to people.
Eventually, I got tired of being aloof. I decided to focus on the fact that I had good people around me instead of comparing everyone to the ‘ideal friend’ image I had.
Accepting my situation didn’t change it, but it helped me appreciate others and gain true friends in spite of our differences.
Utilize any opportunity you get, even if it doesn’t looks perfect, or you don’t feel ready to use it.
Don’t expect things to be better; take steps to make them so. And when they are beyond your control, channel your thoughts into what you can appreciate about how things are and what you can improve.
A busy life doesn’t have to be a stressful life. By adding, subtracting, and modifying a few of our daily tasks, we can prevent the day from stealing our energy. Similarly, by fine-tuning our thoughts, we can find more peace in our days, months, and years.
Floating businessman image via Shutterstock