There are certain areas and themes of existence that really make life worth living. Recently I realized it’s not so much about fulfilling some lifelong dream, such as traveling the world, climbing Mt. Everest, or becoming a billionaire. These are admirable feats that really inspire me, and I can see why they offer people a sense of purpose and meaning. But for me, living life to the fullest is more about how I experience each and every day. It’s about finding purpose and gratification from what you do in the moment, and enjoying the time you spend with those you care about. It’s about knowing why you do what you do and having peace of mind that you’re living a harmonious life. The remarkable achievements we wait our entire life for will come along eventually, but without each day offering joy, peace, and fulfillment; we are missing out on many moments to be fully alive. Below are four broad ideas to help you construct a more fulfilling, enjoyable, and fruitful life right now.
Find more meaning
We all need meaning and purpose in life. We need to know what drives us forward and have a reason for doing what we do. In essence, meaning comes from having a daily mission that makes us feel inspired, proud, and joyful. There are countless ways to make life more meaningful. Think about what gives you a sense of enjoyment and dignity. What are you honored to be a part of? This may come from career achievements, relationships, or other daily activities. It may come from having an interest and curiosity in art, science, and literature, and might mean developing your faith and spirituality. Regardless where you uncover more meaning, you need something beyond yourself to really experience meaning and purpose in life. Uncover your passions and follow. Decide what you’re committed to and organize your life around your heartfelt desires.
Having energy and enthusiasm is a major factor in living life to the fullest. I’ll admit there are days when I feel exhausted and resistant to take on my daily role. This is not living life to the fullest, and is when I know I’m becoming a slave to my goals, and am out of touch with my purpose and meaning. On the other hand, there are times when I’m so excited about the following day I can barely get to sleep the night before. This is a true feeling of zest and passion. When is the last time you were excited to get out of bed? When was the last time you really felt enthusiastic and fulfilled from what the day had to offer? What makes you excited and optimistic about the future? A major part of vitality is using your strengths and doing what you were meant to do. We all have signature strengths that can offer us incredible fulfillment (take the signature strengths test here). You were probably using your strengths during a situation where time just seemed to fly by, and you really lost yourself in what you were doing. To increase vitality start engaging in life by using your gifts, talents, and strengths.
Have greater connectedness
One way to immediately start living a fuller life is to begin making deeper connections to your family, friends, and loved ones. It’s so easy to focus on our individual achievements and goals, and neglect the significance of our relationships. Healthy relationships offer us support, encouragement, love, and gratitude. You can also find a sense of connection through nature by recognizing the oneness of everything. Take a walk through the park and focus on the magnificence of nature. Let the chirping of the birds and the wind against your skin help you come to life and experience a spiritual connection. Finding a spiritual connection can also come through religious conviction or a community of like minded people who lift you up emotionally and mentally. Regardless, feeling connected is crucial. The idea is to build healthy bonds and experience the emotion of love, and the more love the better.
Find peace of mind and serenity
Embracing the moment and taking time to experience the little pleasures of life is one area that is easy to forget about. We’re all on the run trying to get ahead and achieve our goals. I’ll admit this is a tough one for me. It’s easy to forget that every moment can offer serenity and pleasure. Working to be more mindful and self-aware can be helpful to experience more moments of serenity and peace of mind. We can apply mindfulness to almost any activity, whether it be cleaning the house, riding the bus, or taking the dog for a walk. Greater satisfaction can come from learning to savor the little things we take for granted. Maybe someone wrote you a nice message or sent you a nice card that you can really let sink in. It might be simply taking a moment to savor that cup of coffee or tea that is usually mindlessly consumed. I prefer to meditate to achieve this peace of mind, but if you don’t have time to meditate find out what will work best for you to begin cultivating mindfulness and clarity. Everything that has been mentioned above is of equal importance. All of these areas are interconnected, and by building and growing in one area, it will often enhance the others. If we feel a sense of purpose and meaning in what we do and within our relationships, we’re more likely to be energized, full of life, and able to enjoy the present moment. Consider how you might want to start living more fully. What’s one thing you could begin focusing on to live life to the fullest? Photo credit: Taston