I’ve learned the secret happiness the hard way: through slip-ups and stuff-ups. And so can you. But to avoid the worst of the pain on your path to sustainable pleasure, try an easier route by learning from others.
I’ve known extreme sadness, moodiness and anxiety but now, in my fifties, I create natural exhilaration every day. I understand the key ingredients and how to get them. And so can you. Psychologist, Dr Gordon Livingstone, identifies three key to happiness:
1. Something to do
2. Someone to love
3. Something to look forward to.
But to live natural exhilaration, you need nature.
Nature brings sustainable happiness and fulfilment. It helps us thrive. In nature we find real health and power. Nature energises mind, body and spirit, creates healthy food and provides real adventures.
As I soar to sixty with a fit, healthy, resilient body and mind, leading a business that supports a family of four, I feel not just happy, but fulfilled. I can still do handstands, climb trees, bounce on beds, out-ski my kidults (not bragging, just saying) and dance about. And so can you.
Life can be tough. Hardships hurt. But if you take your daily dose of Exhilaration Elixir, life’s hardships will empower you. There’ll still be times when you’d rather stay under the doona or wish you hadn’t eaten the tub of Sarah Lee Ultra Chocolate ice cream, but these will be rare. And when life whacks you in the face, you’ll whack it right back.
Daily Exhilaration Elixir Habits
1. Move: Moving makes us feel better. Walking, dancing, sex, cycling, swimming, gardening, yoga, gym, climbing, scrambling, stretching, wrestling, and stretching in front of the tele create happy hormones. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it needs to be at least an hour. (1 hour)
2. Nourish: ‘Nutritious’ rarely comes in a packet, bottle or can. Eat fresh whole foods 90% of the time, check labels and avoid numbers. Just because it looks like yummy, doesn’t mean it’s nourishing. Eating delicious nutritious food requires planning and gets easier with practice. Hit the Sunday farmers market and do a big cook-up to ease the mid-week rush. (1-2 hours)
3. Sleep: Go to bed early and wake-up with the birds, cut coffee from 11am and save wine for weekends. A good 7-8 hours is essential for healing and rejuvenation. (7-8 hours)
4. Puff: You don’t need to run marathons or suffer on a treadmill but you might have to think differently to puff. Make walking up stairs an opportunity not an obstacle. And if you can’t go up, just dance, bounce, leap or jump on the bed. Integrate seven minutes into your day. (7 minutes)
5. Nature: Getting outside heals your mind, body and spirit. Instead of wine, walk outside to unwind. If there’s no forest, hit the park, seek the sunrise or stair at stars in the yard. (10 minutes)
6. Meditate: Yoga is great but you don’t have to ‘Ohhmm’ on a mat to get the healing benefits of deep breathing and meditation. Walking mediation or ten deep cleansing breaths while waiting for a red light or the sleep fairy is just as good. (10 minutes)
7. Thanks: Start your day with a gratefulness ritual recognising special gifts, like a hot shower. This releases happiness. If you need help making it a habit, try a motivating message app on your phone to prompt you. (5 minutes)
8. Laugh: It just takes a giggle to get this daily medicine. But if nothing funny happens, think of a funny moment or find a funny meme. (5 minutes)
9. Tech off: Dedicate time to connecting for real and unplug from technology before bed. Restore family rituals like sharing meals, walks or games, head massages or bed wrestling. And don’t take your device to bed. (One hour)
This Exhilaration Elixir takes up to twelve hours, leaving four hours for other stuff and eight hours for work. So, take your daily dose for just a month and feel the difference. You’ll soon become addicted.
But don’t be hard on yourself if you fall of the wagon. We all do. Just bounce back the next morning and start afresh. And if you still struggle to take your Elixir daily, you’re probably missing number 3 on Dr Livingstone’s list.
You need something to look forward to. You need adventure. So go find one. Seek and you will find. see.