In a recent issue of Experience Life, I was interviewed about what lights me up and inspires and motivates me. For me, it’s a no-brainer: living according to what brings me true joy and happiness. When I do this, I feel more than satisfaction — I feel radiant! I experience more enthusiasm, energy and vitality in everything I do.
Like everyone, though, I occasionally lose that glow. But there are strategies for getting it back. In starts with asking myself, “What makes me happy? What are my priorities? What are the things that add joy to my life?”
I believe there are several important factors that support joy, including health, emotional expression and being spiritually in tune. The more I nurture a balance between these aspects, the more radiant I feel. The opposite is also true, as the more imbalanced I let them become, the worse my mood and outlook. It’s then that I go back to some essential self-care actions:
- Nurturing relationships: When I connect and relate intimately with friends or family — be it through playful laughs, brainstorming about careers or sharing feelings — I get totally recharged, and carry that energy through everything I do.
- Getting enough sleep: When I don’t get enough sleep, forget about it — everything goes haywire. First, I get nervous and cranky; I also feel hungry when I have no need for food. If I’m really deprived of rest, I’m emotionally tender and easily brought to tears. After that, I lose my motivation to do anything about it. Once I’m in that state, it’s tough to do what it takes to get the needed rest. Thankfully, even a short nap can totally recharge me, physically and psychologically. I’ve learned to make getting a good night’s sleep a priority, so I never have to get to that point. (For more on the physiological benefits of sleep, see “Sleep Deficit: The Hidden Debt That’s Hurting Us All” in the November 2008 archives at experiencelifemag.com.)
- Fasting: Under professional care, fasting is one of my annual rituals. Initially, the glow dwindles, but once I start to refeed, it’s amplified and just keeps getting brighter! Fasting resets my whole system: cravings for junky foods disappear; my skin and eyes become brighter; my body performs better; my mind is sharper. All my senses wake up — I can detect smells much more clearly, I hear better, and my sense of taste is highly intensified. My energy is reignited, and I feel fresh and clean, like a newborn baby.
- Showing Gratitude: Taking the time to appreciate what I have and making a deliberate point of finding the good in my life always brings a smile to my face. I sometimes do this first thing in the morning by putting my attention on my body and appreciating the miracle that it is. I may take a moment in the day to look at the sky, the trees and wildlife around me. The magnificence of nature leaves me in awe. I may sit in meditation and listen to my breathing, which slows me down enough to notice the life force in and around me. Slowing down allows me to experience gratitude and appreciation.
- Exercising regularly: I have an exercise routine I practice every week that covers my basic health needs. But when I need to kick up my glow in the middle of a workday, I grab my jump rope. I will stop whatever I’m doing, and jump rope 100 times. It takes about three minutes and voilà! I always feel better physically and emotionally. (For more on the physiological benefits of exercise, see “8 Ways Exercise Makes You Gorgeous” at experiencelifemag.com.)
When it comes right down to it, my glow is a result of living a life based on what truly makes me happy. Finding those things that bring you true joy and happiness takes work – and sometimes it’s not easy — but it’s worth the effort. I promise!
“Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic.” — Rosalind Russell.