In tears, I awoke believing my Dad was dead. Groggy and confused, I struggled to come to – slowly becoming aware I’d been dreaming, but not yet fully grasping that that meant my Dad wasn’t dead after all. It took a good five minutes to internalize the fact that it had just been a no good, very bad dream.
But was it really all bad? I don’t think so. Nothing ever is that reminds us of just how precious and fragile this life is. Disturbing as that dream first felt, I am always more grateful than not for those moments in life that shake me out of my sleepy slumber of apathy.
Recently, we talked about a few ideas to love the life you live, but what about when life is not as easy to love? What small steps can we take to fight apathy each day, so as not to take for granted the time that we’re given? How might we discover a deeper appreciation for this gift of life? Here are some simple ideas I have found that help me make the most of each day. Be sure to share what has helped you to live intentionally too!
1) Take time for mindful observation
Approaching life mindfully makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur. Mindfulness helps you become fully engaged in activities and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
2) Spend one-on-one time with the kid(s) in your life
There really is something about spending focused time with a child that centers us on what’s important in life. Their exuberance and innocence inspires. Their joy is contagious.
3) Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is associated with increased energy level, optimism, and empathy. I can attest to the benefits of not just feeling gratitude, but choosing it with intentionality. When I started keeping a gratitude journal in November, I shared here what a difference it made in my perspective. It was something I had often thought about doing but had never taken the time for before. So glad I did, as it’s now one of my favorite ways to find the good in my days!
Prayer reduces stress, invites hope, improves attitudes, reduces selfishness while increasing selflessness, and can even strengthen physical health through lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system.
I have found that the more time I spend doing something for someone else, the less time I spend thinking about myself and what I may wish were different in my life. This is a way of life I also hope to teach my kids. The more time like this we spend, the better. It is through serving others that we make way for humility and joy to permeate our lives.
Lord, teach me to number my days. Help me to grow more like you. Show me how to make the most of the time you have given me.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.”
Psalm 39: 4-5
For what do you hope to be known and remembered? Have you ever experienced a dream or an event that caused your perspective to shift? If so, how do you approach life differently now?