By Will Hussey, Gavin Oattes and Dr Andy Cope
There was a time when you oozed.
You oozed with vitality, vim and vigour. In short, you oozed with life. You were alive – not just living and breathing but, well – lively. Trust us: You (Version 1a) were a bundle of spritely enthusiasm packaged in recyclable, re-chargeable packaging.
But times have changed, I hear you say. The world is different, not like the good old days. Of course, even the good old days aren’t like how the good old days used to be. But maybe it was simpler back then. You went to work (or not) and returned home to more work, housework or a Kit-Kat. But at least you escaped from the working day. These days, there’s no escape. The nine-‘til-five has been replaced by the eight-‘til-six commute, but neither does it end there. The joys of inter-connectivity ensure that even when we’re not on-line, plugged-in, we’re alert to the possibility that we might be alerted. Which is strange, as the cumulative effect can have the opposite effect and leave us somewhat dulled.
Maybe you’ve just forgotten what it’s like to shine. To imagine, create, innovate, iterate, collaborate and ignite passion, enthusiasm and exuberance. So, here’s our top happiness hacks for rediscovering your zip, zing and zest for life; not so much personal development but more personal ‘remembering…’
Top tips for rediscovering your zest for life
- Hug your dog and your partner; not necessarily in that order or at the same time. If all else fails, just try to live up to being the person your dog thinks you are.
- Listen to your favourite music and music that isn’t. Play it slightly too loud. Make music. Go to perform music. Sing if you can and sing if you can’t. Sing like you’re in the shower.
- Go outside every day, whatever the weather. Whether or not. Weather the storms, bathe in the sunlight and the moonlight, break the crystallized dew on patchwork autumnal leaves. Soak yourself, and enjoy getting warm and dry. Wear your wellies in the summer and flip-flops in the winter.
- Camp out in your back garden. If it’s a nice summer’s evening, then no tent is necessary. Under the stars, watch the universe shine. You are made of that! (Note, if it’s raining, camping out in your lounge is acceptable.)
- Interact with real people. Some will make you smile, others will make you seek out those that make you smile. Just the thought of it is probably making you smile already. Take a moment to listen; think, feel, relate and respond. Then move on, all the richer for the interaction.
- Remember that the world may be burdened, but you do not have to be its perennial Sherpa. Travel lightly and experience, rather than toiling heavily under creeping despair. The good things are there, and the existence of bad further elevates the good.
- Don’t think too much. There aren’t answers for everything, so it’s probably just worth accepting. By all means be inquisitive and certainly seek more than hide, but don’t be surprised by the lack of answers. After all, if there was no mystery, we’d be bereft of magic. Everyone needs a little magic and mystery.
- Don’t procrastinate. There is never a good time, but if you’re consciously considering when that time might be, as a rule of thumb – it’s now. Heed the advice you would give to your friends and act rather than detract, enthuse rather than excuse. Universally, people’s biggest regret the world over is regret. If you go out on a limb with your wits about you, then you’ll more than likely land on your feet.
- The most important of all: commit to the previous eight tips. That way, when your time finally comes, you’ll be sure to go with a satisfied smile of an adventure fully lived.
Will Hussey, Gavin Oattes and Dr Andy Cope are the authors of ZEST: How to Squeeze the Max Out of Life (published by Capstone, July 2019).