A bit of a serious post after a long hiatus:
Through-out my life, I've been someone who is guilty of delaying my 'happiness', waiting and expecting the future to look better than the now. Obviously, it's a dangerous habit and one that leads to less satisfaction overall. Going through a difficult break-up right now, I've begun to be much more disciplined (and that's really what it is, discipline) about enjoying this moment, right here, right now.
Here are a few tips I've been using - hope you find them useful:
1. Start a project that you truly care about
- Make the goal substantial enough that it cannot be completed easily.
- The project could be outside of work or related to work - but make sure you are deeply passionate about it.
- The project does not have to be yours alone, but ensure that you have complete control over the outcome of your efforts.
2. Go on walks and take photos
- Photography forces one to appreciate our current surroundings and become more immersed in the world around us.
- It will always pay off. This world is incredibly beautiful. If you are paying close attention, the spontaneous interaction of people / nature will inevitably come together to produce something that speaks to you. A gift that keeps giving!
(Just yesterday, while not-so-shamelessly wallowing in a park, I noticed a young girl, pig-tail cuteness and all swinging side-by-side her toy doll. The mom was happily playing along, pushing both the girl and her doll in their separate swings. It was adorable. Beautiful moments all around us!)
3. Ask questions
- A derivative of the above, pay close attention during conversations and force yourself to ask questions. Try not to let the mind wander to mental to-do-lists or 'judgment-loops'.
- Really try to get something out of each conversation
4. Spend less time talking on your cell...
- Talking on the phone too much can really pull you away from enjoying the world around you.
5. ...but more time tweeting, if you are so inclined
- Although I'm not a tweetonian as of yet, I see it as a good vehicle to express / share your appreciation for the moment (that said, I think some level of filtering is also a good idea...documenting every step and smile can become a bit too much, and lead to another dependency!)
6. Dissociate your current self, from your past and future
- This is a zen practice and may sound a bit hokey depending on what state you are in. I don't believe it's necessary at all times, only when you truly need to move on from something, or are facing an overwhelming future.
- Ideally, you could just shut-off all past memories, and worries about the future during this time; however, since that's not always possible, here's a trick (that still requires hard work, but helps):
Instead of missing a past loved one and indulging in those melancholic memories, let the feeling pass and 'objectify' it as simply a thought you are having. "I am having the thought of missing X"; this works to separate yourself from your past - it's still a battle, but this has helped me.
- Avoid time-sinking activities, empty sit-com watching, face/tweet creeping. Go outside, make plans, adopt a new hobby or return to an old-favorite. Don't wait to try something new. Do it now.
All, easier said than done, but hope some of this resonates with you.
Okay, I'm going to go outside now! Enjoy.