If we think deeply about the way we spend most of our lives, we come to a simple conclusion – we are always on the way. On the way literally and metaphorically. We are either driving or flying somewhere, on our way to that next promotion, surviving till the weekend or the next vacation, or on our way to change ourselves (for the better, of course).
And, for the most part, we aren’t enjoying the journey. We often think that we are going far too slow (are we there yet?), we dislike the process, and we fail to learn from it. We have our eyes closed tight, fighting wildly, doing everything with gusto (in the name of productivity), just so we can get through it. We often wait for our lives to start, unable to accept that this is it.
We also spend a large part of our lives doing the same things repeatedly. Getting out of bed, getting ready, eating, working, driving, checking our phone, doing chores, running errands, and then going back to bed knowing tomorrow is going to be no different. While some find comfort in routines, others find it mind-numbing.
Finding joy in the journey means experiencing life as is. It is knowing that no two moments are exactly the same. Some moments may appear similar, but we can only experience every moment only once in our lifetime. No take-backs, exchanges, pauses, rewind, or fast forwards. And while it may be difficult at times, finding joy in the journey also means appreciating the now. Appreciating the now in good moments like a birth of a child or grandchild, and even bad moments like heartbreak, loss of job, or a loved one.
So where do dreams and aspirations fit into the picture right now? The desire to change is what urges us to grow. But it is important to acknowledge that we are whole at this moment but at the same time, we are always on our way to someplace else.
So how can we find joy in the journey? Here are a few simple tips:
Embrace the slow
As a society, we have slowed down after the Coronavirus pandemic. However, we need to slow down our thoughts as well as our actions.
Have you ever stepped into your car and reached your destination but you do not realize how until you get there? Completely unaware of where the last 30 minutes went? It's not just driving, we perform many actions in the autopilot mode, skipping over parts of our lives unintentionally.
When we check out of these situations, we inadvertently miss out on the nuances of the moment. We become unaware of the present and our thoughts take us to a different time and place altogether, often jumping from one thought to another mindlessly.
We can slow down by becoming aware that our thoughts have drifted and by bringing them back to the present moment. In our driving example, we can take a deep breath and bring our focus back to the road and observe the tiny details we would have otherwise missed.
Use the “and yet” method
Life is a roller coaster. We all experience low moments in our lives and it becomes difficult to stay in the present when we are going through emotional turmoil or physical pain. This is where the “and yet” method can help.
Whenever negative thoughts take over, take a deep breath. Slow your thoughts and listen to the first thing that comes to your mind. For instance, it might be something negative like, “I don’t have a job. My life sucks.” Instead of concluding that sentence in a negative tone, add an “and yet” twist to it. For instance, “I don’t have a job. My life sucks. And yet, I have a loving sister.” or “And yet, here I am, alive and healthy with the ability to make it better.”
Adding a slight contrast to your situation can help in not just changing your perspective about the situation but also making the journey more joyful, not just tolerable.
Do something without an agenda
We spend so much time being productive and getting things done that sometimes, we forget to do things just because we like to or we want to. We even turn certain pleasurable activities into a productivity hack. Taking photos with friends as a remembrance can be creative and pleasurable. But doing that just so we can be active on social media and garner some engagement makes it a chore.
Ever so often spend some time doing things without any expectations. Doodle on paper without worrying about how it looks, cook something that you enjoy making when you don’t need to “put food on the table”. Look around you when waiting in a line (instead of finishing that email on your phone). Enjoy the silence in the car instead of finishing that audiobook. You don’t need an agenda all the time, and you don’t need to be productive 100% of the time.
Doing this will not only make you feel better but also boost your creativity and happiness. Taking time to do something for the heck of it makes us feel good about our life and gives us a sense of control.
Invest in wellbeing
When your mind and body are in sync and functioning well, small things stop bothering you and you find joy in simple things. When you take care of yourself, you have the ability to focus on things that are bigger than you. You also have the ability to make things happen, you feel in charge of your life and your wellbeing. If you have been missing joy in the journey, evaluate the status of your physical and mental wellbeing. How are you treating yourself?
Exercising and meditating have become a cornerstone of overall wellbeing. We won’t explain its numerous benefits, plenty has been written about them. We know that it is hard to build healthy habits. Getting up in the morning to work out, meditate and cook a healthy meal is arduous. But trust us, it is well worth the effort.
Take a look at some of our recommendations centered around the four pillars of wellbeing.
Giving back to society and loved ones without any expectations is a rewarding feeling. Making a difference, touching someone’s life in a positive way builds goodwill and an everlasting legacy around you. It makes us feel valued. When generosity flows through us, we become a channel of abundance, goodness does not just flow through us, it also flows through us. When we cultivate the habit of generosity, we become a source of goodness, in good times and in bad times. We experience the everlasting contentment of our time and live in the joys of the moment.
Here are 12 ways to give back to society: