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4 New Words to Help You Love Your Life Now

4 New Words to Help You Love Your Life Now

This might be too much information, but the other day as I was sitting in the restroom of a coffee shop, I glanced at the wall in front of me where either bored or inspired patrons had inscribed their particular sentiments.

One scrawled word caught my eye: Exploreality.

    “What a cool word,” I thought to myself.

    Walking back to my table, I turned the word over and over in my head.

    Exploreality. Exploreality.

    I’m not sure what the artist meant when she scribbled the word on the wall, but it did what good art is supposed to do – it made me think.

    That’s how I understood the word and it got me pondering about what it meant to me.Explore reality.

    A portmanteau is a combination of two words into one new word such as exploreality. Here are a few of my own portmanteaus to sum up my thoughts about the inspirational restroom art.

    1. Extendenial

    Why did the bathroom writer encourage us to explore reality?

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    Because we spend most of our time in a type of veiled, extended denial – extendenial.

    Denial sometimes gets a bad rap. When we are traumatized or experience severe adversity, denial is a protective factor that helps us rest before we actively address the trauma or problem.

    But used too much, denial gets in our way.

    It prevents us from seeing what is right in front of us – the life that we have, not the life that we think we should have.

    It’s this latter idea that forms our veil of extendenial. We don’t embrace the reality of what is in front of us because we hold an illusion that “someday” life will be ____________. (Fill in the blank with whatever you don’t have right now.)

    Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly nothing wrong with having goals.

    But how much of life are you missing by thinking, “I’ll be happy when . . .”?

    2. Busymbiotic

    A way to extendenial is to be busymbiotic – having a symbiotic relationship with being busy.

    Our social norm of “busy = productive = good” has caused us to glom onto busyness as though it is an integral and reciprocal part of us. Just like a symbiote, we think we need busyness in order to do well in the world and be happy.

    But busyness is just another way to engage in seeking the “someday” life and disengage from the life that you have right now, both the glory and the gloom.

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    Someone commented on my blog the other day that she decided to put away the busyness of life so that she could get on with the business of life.

    Amen to that.

    3. Interactuality

     So, how do you stop being so busymbiotic that you’re in a state of extendenial?

    By interacting with your actual life – interactuality.

    Let me say again that there is certainly nothing wrong with having goals and being motivated to better yourself in life both emotionally and materially.

    But interact with your days now as you are working toward those goals.

    Enjoy friendships.

    Learn something new.

    Notice how you like the aroma of coffee in the morning but would be happy to not have to smell your partner’s burnt oatmeal again.

    Find something that you like about work and emphasize that in your mind. Note the difference between that feeling and the one that comes up when your annoying co-worker walks by.

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    Life is good and bad, joy and misery, contentment and discontent, and many shades of gray in between those things.

    But it’s your actual life. Interact with it.

    Love your life now.

    4. Remindfulness

    Yes, this portmanteau is exactly what it looks like: reminding yourself to be mindful.

    Mindfulness is the art and practice of noticing your present experience without judgment.

    So maybe part of what inhibits you from exploring reality is that reality isn’t such a great place for you so it’s easier to be in extendenial.

    But is life really that bad or are you making it worse with judgmental thinking?

    The thing about mindfulness is that it allows you to be engaged in your current life experience without all of the drama that you add to it in your head.

    So for example, as I’ve been writing this, I’ve drifted in and out of extendenial and remindfulness.

    Although I enjoy writing, it’s very hard for me. It takes a long time and I can get very easily distracted.

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    My thoughts tend to go something like this:

    Geez, this is taking forever. Maybe I’m just not meant to be a writer. I really want to do something else right now. Focus . . . focus . . . you can do this. Other people must be faster at this than I am. Maybe I should . . . squirrel!”

    You can see that I spend a lot of internal energy wishing my life was something other than it is at the moment.

    But when I remind myself to be mindful, I come into the present, take a breath and realize that I’m . . .  okay.

    Even with a mind that gets distracted by a squirrel or takes a long time to finish a sentence. It’s all okay and I recognize that my mind has been making me miserable only seconds before by judging my experience of writing.

    Now that I’m in the present and not judging it, I can accept that writing brings me both joy and frustration. Like you, I want the joy and not the frustration.

    But frustration is a part of life and mindfully accepting the emotion, not magnifying it in my head, and moving on frees me from getting stuck and wishing my life was something that it is not.

    Instead, I acknowledge that this is the life I have and to live fully is to interact with it consciously and with mindfulness.

    And, as I remind myself to be mindful by taking that deep breath, I look up and notice the sun outside my window and hear the sound of the chimes in the trees as they blow gently in the breeze.

    Reality.

    I’m exploring mine. What about you?

    Featured photo credit:

    Heart in Hands via Shutterstock

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      Last Updated on March 25, 2020

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

      So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

      1. Exercise

      It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

      2. Drink in Moderation

      I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

      3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

      Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

      4. Watch Less Television

      A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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      Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

      5. Eat Less Red Meat

      Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

      If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

      6. Don’t Smoke

      This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

      7. Socialize

      Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

      8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

      Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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      9. Be Optimistic

      Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

      10. Own a Pet

      Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

      11. Drink Coffee

      Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

      12. Eat Less

      Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

      13. Meditate

      Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

      Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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      How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

      14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

      Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

      15. Laugh Often

      Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

      16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

      Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

      17. Cook Your Own Food

      When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

      Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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      18. Eat Mushrooms

      Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

      19. Floss

      Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

      20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

      Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

      Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

      21. Have Sex

      Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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      Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

      Reference

      [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
      [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
      [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
      [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
      [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
      [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
      [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
      [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
      [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
      [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
      [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
      [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
      [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
      [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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