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Last Updated on January 6, 2020

13 Ways to Seize the Moment and Enjoy Life More

13 Ways to Seize the Moment and Enjoy Life More

A life filled with joy is the one thing everyone wishes for. There are countless ways to reach for what you want, but when it comes to happiness, little things make all the difference. You have no idea how the simple joys of life can skyrocket your mood levels. But since you are here, you will find these 13 ways easy to practice, easy to apply in your own life and actionable in order to enjoy your life more.

By using these methods, short moments of bliss will compound over time in huge amounts of happiness. The smallest changes recommended in this article, practiced as a way of life, will make you stand out from the overworked, overbooked, and somehow bored crowd that seems to fill every street and every room nowadays. Focus on what matters and everything else will just fall into place.

Make sure you take the time to read all 13 tips and tricks to seize the moments. Even if you only take what resonates with you – based on your personality and bigger life purposes – you can still highly improve your life starting today.

1. Say Yes and Say No

Both are equally important.

First, saying ”yes” more often can expose you to tremendous new experiences. You can think big – like finally taking that trip, or more local – like going to an improv show. Both are equally effective in transporting yourself to new states of mind.

The other side of the always saying ”yes” coin tells a different story. You know what I’m talking about. The one that Jim Carrey got himself into in the movie ”Yes Man”. While at first saying ”yes” transformed his life in this wonderful adventure, by the end of the film, he couldn’t take it anymore. It was too much.

This is when ”no” comes to stage. In order to be able to say ”yes” to the things you want, you must also be comfortable saying ”no” to anything and everything else. Here I include: that informal get together, that wedding, that deadline no one asked if you can make it, that shopping list and so on. You know better than I do what I am talking about and I bet you can already think of a few examples.

Need help in saying no? Leo Babauta has this advice: The Gentle Art of Saying No

2. Take Care of Yourself

There is a reason why we are instructed to put our oxygen masks first in case of an emergency. If we don’t, we can’t function. If we’re not able to function, we cannot help others. During a normal week, helping others can translate to doing your job or going on with your day.

This tip goes even further. Think about it. When you take care of yourself, you feel good. You feel good about yourself and about the day ahead. You feel like you can take on any challenge that might come your way.

Try to look like you care about yourself.

The quote above is from a 90s TV show. Just start there. Clean yourself up, put fresh clothing on, comb your hair and that’s it. You are ready to face the world.

Do this every day and you’ll be ready for anything at anytime.

Try to recall a day when you didn’t shower, didn’t change clothes and your big plan was to stay in, watch TV and indulge in some junk food. The only problem was that you needed something from the store, so you left the house looking like a mess, secretly hoping you won’t bump into anyone you know. But you did.

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What happened then? You tried to hide behind the shelves. When that failed, you felt uncomfortable even making eye contact and you tried to shorten the conversation as much as possible, so you could return back to the cave as fast as possible.

Now imagine the exact same interaction with you looking nice and smelling like someone who cares about themselves. Much better, right?

If you need more advice on how to take better care of yourself, here it is: 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

3. Make a Bucket List

You’ve seen the movie (the Bucket List, if it wasn’t clear!) You know what happens. Two elderly, facing death, decide to cooperate on one last special adventure.

Now tell me: Why is it that only when we’re in front of something terrible do we realize how finite our life is?

Why, when making plans, are we always thinking ”some day”?

Why is the future always better for our most desires and the present is only good for our day-to-day tasks and responsibilities? You know: mopping the floor, grocery shopping, doing laundry.

If you never wrote a Bucket List, don’t freak out. It doesn’t have to be filled only with life changing dangerous experiences or expensive stuff. Start small instead.

Make a Summer Bucket List: wine in the park, that free outdoor concert. Write a Winter Bucket List: go on a sleigh ride, build a snowman.

The idea behind this tip is to write it down. Read it every day and seize the opportunity when an item can be checked off the list. At the end, you’ll find yourself smiling every time you do it. And that’s how you turn your mundane day-to-day life to something that’s exciting and outgoing.

4. Find a Form of Exercising That You Enjoy

One of the best ways to seize the moment and to enjoy your life more? Exercise!

Now, I’m sure you’ve already read this tip before, probably a gazillion times. But you have to know that it’s simply true. I’ve met so many people who have turned their life around by finding a form of exercising they enjoy. I’m a pretty good example myself as well!

Finding a form of exercising that I like (running) has transformed my life. It has helped me cope with stress, anxiety and boredom more often than I can remember. It is both an outlet and a source of fulfillment for me, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

And I’m not even that good of a runner! I’d call myself a passionate hobbyist. I don’t really care about racing and being the fastest, because I’m obviously not able to compete on that level. I mean, I have a friend who runs 15K in under an hour and I still find it hard to believe that such speeds are possible. I run purely because it allows me to do one of the following:

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  • Feel good about myself
  • Challenge my body
  • Meditate
  • To blow off steam when stressed
  • To burn calories (I would probably be obese if I didn’t run, considering the amount of food I consume)

So whenever I have a busy day at work, I go for a run afterwards and feel great.

Feeling bored? I go for a run and feel energized again! Feeling energized and want to feel good about myself? I go for a run!

Simply put, running always has a positive effect on my happiness. That’s why exercising is ALWAYS featured in guides on how to be happy![1]

Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

5. Go off Your Usual Path

There is nothing more simple than this.

Think about changing your route to work and back home from time to time. Think about trying that food on the menu you don’t even know what it is. Think about getting that new soda flavor. Think about listening to people you usually dodge.

Everyone has a story to tell and most have mind-blowing ones to share. You can learn something new from every person you meet and every single new experience you try. Be prepared that sometimes the lessons come in the form of a ”no-no” example.

6. Spend Time Outside

You heard this one before. I know.

But let’s try another exercise. Think about your life from the last months. I will share with you mine, so I won’t make any assumptions. I mostly work from home. Sometimes I have meetings with others, usually at their office. My parents live in an apartment, so are my friends. I shop at the mall, because I find everything I need in one place. During the summer, the days are so hot where I live that I can not stand the heat, so I avoid it. During the winter, the city is mostly grey than white, and unbelievably cold.

What do you think these items have in common? The fact that my normal days are spent mostly inside. Even if I go to the theatre or to concerts, most are organized under a roof.

All of us who live in the city are lacking sun exposure, some fresh air and the peace that comes with it. Just make sure your days include some down time in the sun.

If you say it can’t be done because of your busy schedule, try walking more from one building to the other. Or just going outside while taking those short breaks from work.

Little moments like these count and they add up in the long run. Don’t overlook them and don’t underestimate their power.

7. Whatever You Do, Don’t Plan Every Minute

Yes, I understand. We all have so much to do. We’re always feeling like we’re running a marathon, sometimes like we’re in the army. But we are not. And we don’t have to be.

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Let life happen a little bit.

If you are reading this, chances are that you have at least some control over your schedule. Don’t book every minute with activities. Leave time for leisure, for spontaneity. Your brain will thank you for this. Your energy levels too. And even your moods.

This way, you also make room for the unexpected. For being able to say ”yes” to that impromptu invitation to see a street performance, to enjoy a picnic or simply a walk in the park or a coffee date.

8. Ditch the Digital

Hear me out. I’m not saying to go completely off-grid. I do benefit from the advantages technology has to offer too. But I keep it under control.

The studies are clear on this. The World Happiness Report that comes out every year backs it up. People spend more time online than interacting in person with each other, which has unprecedented negative side effects on our happiness levels[2]

The logic is simple. If you want to keep your happiness level up or to give it a boost, all you have to do is go old-school. Pay someone a visit. Read a magazine. Instead of watching a movie at home, look for an art exhibition. Possibilities are endless once you focus on the little things.

Try these 5 Simple Ways to Unplug and Be More Mindful In Your Life.

9. Ditch the Map, the Clock and the Reviews

Just go. Aziz Ansari did a stand-up where he pointed out to the fact that recently we all feel complied to make the best possible decision every time. Even if it’s all about buying a toothbrush.

I know this applies to you too. When leaving for a vacation, I bet you already had an itinerary planned for every day of your stay. Right? If not, my apologies. But if that’s you all the time, I will make a bold recommendation.

Ditch the map of the city. Don’t read the reviews for the restaurant, just sit down at a table and order. Don’t look at your watch, do what you feel like, be it 2 in the morning or afternoon.

10. Learn Something New Continuously

Don’t get comfortable in your ways. ”You don’t know where the rabbit is jumping from” is a saying in my country, referring to the fact that we don’t know where or when the next opportunity will show itself.

If you always wanted to cook better, but don’t have the time, the energy, or the skill to organize yourself to do so, look for a cooking class. You don’t know where the rabbit is jumping from and maybe you’ll meet someone who will change your life.

Don’t wait for others to do things. I know we all wish to do things with our friends, but sometimes they don’t share the same interests. Don’t let that stop you. And remember, there’s no better time like the present, no perfect time in the future.

You’ll thank yourself and you’ll have some good stories to tell next time you chat with someone new in one of your adventures.

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Some inspirations for you: How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart

11. Reward Yourself

This is for you and for you only.

Reward yourself for every little thing you do the way you want. You had a good work day when everything you planned was done? Buy yourself an ice cream.

Rewards have double powers. First, the more obvious one – you give yourself a moment, be it in the form of an ice cream, a new pair of shoes you had your eyes on, or movie tickets.

The second power of a reward is that it acts as a motivation.

Everything on this list is connected. You try something new, you meet someone new. You don’t wait, you make it happen. You challenge yourself, you reward yourself.

12. Volunteer

The correlation between volunteering and happiness is undisputable. The World Happiness Report says that even just giving time to others increases one’s whole well-being.[3] Prosocial behaviour, like volunteering, is a double edged sword.

First, it makes you feel better which will make you act in the same positive way in the future; and second, it spreads happiness to someone else.

You can volunteer to do thousands of activities, but remember, we’re talking about the smallest possible actions you can take to boost your joy. Think about holding the door, giving flowers, paying compliments, smiling, returning a lost item. These small things all do wonders when trying to spread other people’s happiness, and paradoxically, this also increases our own happiness.

13. Sleep

Now, this sounds a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Yes and no. The same principle from using the oxygen mask first applies.

There are countless studies that state the same thing. Without getting enough sleep, we are more prone to errors, we fail to retrieve memories or to finish a basic task, even thoughts. The amount one needs differs from one person to another.

I need an average of 8+ hours. I stopped trying to change and feeling guilty about it, I just work my life around the fact that I sleep more than most. Otherwise, I don’t function at full capacity and it keeps me from enjoying the hours when I’m awake.

Why do that?

The Bottom Line

Being happy is a state of mind that can easily be influenced by the smallest actions we take every day. Make a commitment to yourself, cover the basics, set some principles – easy to follow, and breathe. What you need to remember is that you have to make your life work for you. As long as you know what you value, you’ll know what to do to seize the day and enjoy life more.

More About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Donald Giannatti via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Hugo Huyer

Author at Tracking Happiness, lifelong happiness tracker and passionate about all things mental health and well-being.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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