It’s a beautiful life… well, you won’t always see it that way.
In my line of work it’s hard not to lose faith in humanity, but even if you didn’t choose a career in the non-profit sector, you just need to turn on the TV to be inundated with everything that’s wrong with this world.
To ensure that I don’t grow old and cynical before my time, I had to make a few adjustments to my daily routine. For those of you in need of a little reminder that life is beautiful even if it doesn’t always seem that way, here is what gets me through the day:
- Spending less time in front of a screen and more time outside and/or with family and friends (if you haven’t found like-minded people yet, try meetups). I limit my exposure to news and prefer to consult those media outlets that offer thoughtful analysis and propose solutions (e.g. .Mic, TED).
- Gratitude. If you look close enough, there’s always something to be thankful for: the roof over your head, a kind smile, a shot of caffeine. I take a moment every day to count my blessings (if you haven’t done this before, write down whatever comes to your mind). My mental list usually includes my family and friends, the first cup of Irish breakfast tea in the morning, and writing novels.
- Laughing. I could write an entire book about shit my friends say, but if you’re lacking hilarious people in your life, pick a sitcom, find a funny YouTube channel or website. I never go a day without laughing no matter how bad things get. Another great way to make you laugh is to do something silly—life is a little easier if we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
- Retreating to a “happy place” for a while. This can either be a physical space (outside or at home), a mental image (or daydream), a book (e.g. Chickensoup for the Soul), or a website (e.g. Pinterest).
- Listening to music. I name every chapter in my novels after a song that corresponds with what my characters are going through, so I know there is a song for every imaginable situation. Many of my go-to songs when I need a pick-me-up are included in my book playlist (see here).