L-I-V-I-N-G. Get to it. If you want to live to be the best version of yourself you can be, living a full and happy life without regrets, you can learn to find happiness, create meaning in your life, and be healthy in mind and body. See Step 1 for more information.
- Form meaningful and long-lasting relationships. No one should have to live alone. Find people you can rely on, and who can rely upon you in times of need. Friends and family are essential to a happy life, lived fully.
- Keep in touch with your family, old friends, and work actively to get to know the people in your life better. See the good in people.
- Try and invest less in what people think of you. Focus actively on doing what makes you happy and keeping people around who will support you and lift you up, not people who’ll judge you and bring you down.
- Share yourself with the people close to you. When you find people who you can trust and who you enjoy talking to, share good times and bad times.
- Find a community and participate in it. Finding a group of like-minded people is an important part of finding happiness. Whether you participate in church groups, social clubs, or online communities, it’s essential that you find people to move through the world with you.
- Join a church, join a band, join a kickball group. Join any club that’ll have you as a member and that you’re seriously interested in.
- Communities don’t even need to exist in “the real world.” Online communities that give you joy and fellowship are perfectly healthy and increasingly popular. Whether you enjoy gaming, participating in a wiki, or putting videos on YouTube, throw yourself into the community and get everything you can out of the experience. Find like-minded people wherever you can.
- Vary your routine. Variety is the spice. Try and shake things up. When the human brain gets accustomed to the data its already experienced, time moves faster. Doing the same thing over and over makes your life whizz by. Changing things up every now and then, as much as you can, will help you slow down and appreciate the little things.
- Do little things, like taking a different route, or method of getting to work. If you usually drive, consider taking public transit, or riding your bike, or walking. If you always walk, take the long way.
- Make big changes, if necessary. If you’re unhappy in your job, find a new one. If you’re bored of your regular relaxation routines, switch it up. Go out dancing, or visit new sections of town. Move somewhere else.
- Surprise yourself. Are you too predictable? Try and surprise yourself. Walk into places you’ve never been, talk to people you don’t know, change things up for the sake of changing it up.
- It’s good to cluster in communities of like-minded people for security and happiness, but there’s also a lot to learn from people who are very different than you. If you spend all your time with people who think the exact same things you do, things will get boring quickly. Try and actively spend time with people who are very different than you. Visit different areas of the country, different neighborhoods, and talk to the people you find there.
- Find reasons to celebrate. Don’t make life a slog. When there’s a reason to celebrate, find the time to party. If there’s no reason to celebrate, party anyway. Gathering with friends and loved ones during the holidays is an excellent way to improve your spirits and enjoy life.
- Don’t let your birthdays depress you. Getting older is a privilege denied many people. Celebrate the wisdom you’ve gained over the last year, rather than dwelling on aging.
- Devote yourself to something greater. Essential to a life lived fully is devotion to some work or purpose greater than yourself. How you define that work is completely up to you. It might be providing for your family, pursuing an art, worshipping a higher power, or giving back to your community. Find something that you can throw yourself into completely.
- Try and be great at something. You don’t have to be “the best” at everything you do, but devoting yourself to one thing and trying to reach your fullest possible potential is an integral part of living well. Know some guitar? Practice more. Decent with cars? Rebuild an engine. Like kids? Be a great parent.
- Work hard. Whatever it is you choose to do on a daily basis is completely up to you, but you should work as hard as possible and be the best version of yourself in light of that work. Take pride in what you do and carry yourself upright. If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied in your job, quit as soon as possible and seek employment elsewhere. You only live once.
- Alternatively, you might choose to look upon your “job” as peripheral to your true calling. Walt Whitman worked as an ambulance driver, but was arguably the greatest of American poets in his “true” life. That doesn’t mean he looked upon his ambulance work as secondary, though.
- Set goals for yourself and actively work toward them. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years? The next ten years? Setting goals and feeling as if you’re actively improving your life and moving toward some attainable goal creates a sense of purpose and drive in lots of people. If you’re one of them, try and write down meaningful goals for yourself and hang them in your workspace, or your living space. Remind yourself at the end of each day what you’ve done to work toward that goal. Celebrate even little things.
- If goals make you squeamish, forget them. Live day to day. Carpe diem. If you’re going to avoid thinking about the future, though, make sure that you’re living each day to the fullest. At the end of each day, stop and ask yourself if you’re really doing what you want to be doing, if your lifestyle makes you happy, and if you’re satisfied in it.
- Find out what you have a talent for. It’s nice to be good at what you do, especially if you’re the type of person for whom positive feedback is important. Go into a field or career that you have some innate talent for, regardless of the prestige or the financial gain of it.
- Don’t go into a field for the money. If you’re unhappy but financially secure, cultivate hobbies to which you’re particularly talented. Take up sports or music and devote your free time to these pursuits. Remember Whitman.
- Make mistakes and learn to live with them. No one does everything right. Dwelling on failures, though, is a good way to keep yourself down in the dumps and living less than a life. Let your failures act as fuel in your ambition. Learn from mistakes and do better next time.
- Be active. Start getting busy. Don’t let your body become a burden to you. Use it, hone it, and enjoy being alive. Find a physical activity that brings you pleasure and take the time to do it on a regular basis. Try and be active for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, even if that just means walking to and from work, or doing some stretches in the evening. Find something that’s easy to do and make it part of your life.
- Eat well. Few things in life are more pleasurable than a good meal. Learning to balance healthy foods and enjoyable ones is sometimes more difficult, though. Eating nothing but moong bean sprouts and dehydrated kale might be healthy, but it might also be less than living. Likewise, you can’t live on bacon and ice cream, however fun that brief life might prove to be. Try and find a balance of good things and things that are good for you.
- Learn new things constantly. Mental health requires variety. As you get older, it’ll be easier and easier to relax your brain and stop learning. Avoid this at all costs. Aggressively seek new information, reading a variety of things–online, print, books, etc.–and make lifelong learning a priority in your life.
- The difference between becoming a crotchety old person who talks about the good ol’ days and becoming a person who ages with grace and dignity is that the latter made staying current, staying smart, and reading a part of their life. Do the same and age with grace.
- Be the best version of yourself. Describe yourself when you’re at your best on a piece of paper. Write down all the things you like about yourself, the things you do best. Try and come up with at least 10 and keep it in your pocket every day. Try and live up to that standard each and every moment.
- Identify the things you don’t like about yourself and change them. There’s no use in waiting around and wondering what life would be like if you weighed 10 pounds fewer, or guessing what Mexico is like. Drop that weight. Get a passport. Live.
- Additionally, though, its important to accept things you cannot change. If you’re 47 and rail-thin, a new career in pro wrestling probably isn’t in the cards. Embrace the life you do live and enjoy it.
- Do all things in moderation. A good life isn’t one lived to excess all the time. Enjoy the things that give you pleasure, both eat and drink, but don’t be a slave to them. It’s ok to splurge every now and then and celebrate. Just don’t get addicted to the carnal pleasures and cause more problems for yourself.
- Put yourself out there in the world, take risks, and respect others.
- If you know something is right, do it.
- Take care of yourself, physically and mentally.
- Be patient with yourself.
- This article is not the answer to all of living; it’s here to give you a start. The internet doesn’t give you all the answers. You have to find them yourself.
- How to Live Life to the Fullest
- How to Live Free
- How to Be Good
- Be a Good Person
- How to Think Positively
Sources and Citations
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