Life, the fact that we are alive in the here and now, is something we have a tendency to take for granted and neglect to be grateful for. Work obligations, family responsibilities and the myriad distractions of news and social media all too often deter us from focusing on discovering and fulfilling our true purpose in life. These six practices will help you ground and center yourself during what can often become a hectic, stressful time of year, and reconnect you with the natural world—and the people—around you, as well as with your body and your own amazing, one-of-a-kind self.
1. Experience Nature
Spending time in nature reminds us of who we are and where we came from, and natural beauty elicits a sense of awe. When we experience reverence for something greater than ourselves, a state of euphoria is flushed through our body, due to the expansive sense of timelessness. This state of timelessness stills the central nervous system, allowing our body’s immune system to strengthen and heal. Likewise, people who spend time in nature may experience more balanced levels of the stress-regulating hormone cortisol; one research effort demonstrating this effect was a small, widely reported 2007 Japanese study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.
In order to celebrate life, we have to have the time to do it. Create space for grace, one step at a time: Every day, make one choice that will make your life easier. I’m the kind of exuberant person who loves what I do, which can lead to doing too much of it. Renegotiate with yourself once a day to make space for something that’s waiting to reveal itself through you. This also allows you the opportunity to hold space to serve others.
3. Lighten Up
Encourage the development of a lighter body by learning healthy eating habits; a lighter mind with a new meditation practice; lighter movement with a guided yoga program; lighter responses that help you release attachment to an expected outcome; and lighter consciousness by apologizing or forgiving whenever the opportunity arises. A creative routine of lightening up will help shift your life into gentle ease.
4. Go Green
Also known as earthing, walking directly on our planet’s surface—such as on fresh, green grass; or a beach—reconnects us with Earth. Earthing has been linked with positive health implications, according to research reviews such as “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons” (Journal of Environmental and Public Health, January 2012). Proponents of earthing say that stimulating the nerves located in the soles of our feet releases blockages and allows a new flow of energy into our body. Add the two together and you will have a reason to celebrate—effortlessly.
5. Serve Others
Seva is the Sanskrit word for selfless service. Selflessness, or altruism, can improve your overall mental well-being. Psychologist Alicia Clark, L.C.P., defines this as a capacity for empathy.
“Empathy is the ability to understand another’s experience in a way that helps a person to feel understood,” Clark says. “It is a fundamental tool to deepen understanding and bonding.”
Begin a daily practice of seva by sharing one of your special talents with others and having no agenda, and their joy will be reflected in kind. For example, making a special meal and serving my family, friends or guests gives me the most joy.
A quote attributed to German playwright Johann von Goethe says, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” This is a quote I have truly lived my life by. To be able to do anything, I had to learn a few things.
“Google it” is another favorite of mine, but Google wasn’t always around, so for me learning has often been initiated by an inspiration. What inspires you or brings you limitless joy? Begin it. Celebrate your life by learning how to do something you admire or that inspires you.
Honor this one amazing life you are living now by discovering your hidden potential.
About the Author
Lorrie Lawrence, C.A.P., L.M.M.T., C.Y.T., N.A.M.A., the director of Sedona Wellness in Clarkdale, Arizona, has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of health, wellness and integrative health modalities; she has developed many successful spa startups and signature private and group wellness retreat programs, and is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved continuing education provider.