Learning how to enjoy life to the fullest is something we all want for ourselves. There are so many things you can do to have an optimistic mindset about life. In some ways, it is about getting rid of the negative; in other ways, it is adapting some habits, or developing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. Overall, it is being gentle with ourselves, and being aware of the little joys in everyday life.
Maybe right now you are going through a rough patch. Maybe you are wanting to get out of the humdrums of life. Possibly, you are starting to question whether there is more about life rather than just going through each single day. After all, we only have one life, and it’s pretty short in the grand scheme of things. Below are just some of the things you can start working on to learn how to make the most of life.
1. Stop Worrying too much
While these are normal, worrying too much can drain you mentally and emotionally. When you are too focused on the future and are anticipating the worst things, it distracts you from actually being in the present. When you are too focused on what can go wrong, you might miss out on things that can go right.
Sometimes, worrying can be constructive as it helps you avoid negative things from happening. However, excessive worrying – or dwelling too much on what could happen before it actually does, can be harmful. When plagued by anxious thoughts, try to be more mindful and realize that these are little things that can be easily resolved. If not, then know that there is rather no point to worry about things that are out of your control.
2. Acknowledge both negative and positive emotions
To enjoy life to the fullest, it is vital to acknowledge both negative and positive emotions. Emotional awareness promotes healthy conflict resolution instead of avoidance through clear communication with oneself or others and helps people move past difficult emotions more easily.
Being mindful of your positive emotions can lead to a more fulfilled and content sense of well-being. Cultivating and being aware of one’s positive emotions makes it easier to reduce and cope with stress as negative emotions are balanced out. As important it is to acknowledge positive emotions, it is also important to become aware of the negative ones. Negative feelings such as sadness, fear, shame, and anger are actually an important part of life, and accepting these unavoidable emotions help improve one’s welfare. Instead of avoiding or suppressing these emotions, accept them and acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing yourself to feel better. Validating your negative feelings actually helps you process what has happened, analyze why you are feeling a certain way, and helps you move forward without any emotional baggage.
3. Stop seeking external validation
People often seek outside validation, whether it be from their peers or significant other, and most likely through social media. This can be alarming, as it can open the mind up to dangerous mental health issues.
We now live in a world filled with comparisons and instant gratification. For the most part, the accessibility of technology makes us seek validation from people who may not even care about us. Be reminded that you do not need to measure your life against someone else’s ideal. Doing so will hinder you from appreciating the simple things in life and may only pull you back from achieving happiness. One secret to learning how to enjoy life is limiting the desire to base your life’s worth on how strangers see you.
4. Don’t focus on material things
Living in such a materialistic world, we are constantly being fed the idea that worldly possessions make us happy. We are led to believe that the more you own, the more successful you are. Because of this, we often associate one’s earthly possession to one’s happiness. When going on retail shopping, for example, we experience a little rush of dopamine that leaves us wanting more. We then associate shopping and having more things with superficial, and even so temporary, happiness. Worse, these feelings of excitement decrease gradually and eventually make us crave for more.
In addition, study shows that when one clings and depends his happiness to earthly possessions, he or she is more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, sadness, and anger when this material thing is taken from him or her. If you want to be genuinely happy, make it a practice not to focus too much on things that are tangible. As the popular saying goes, “money can’t buy you happiness”. Practice being content and satisfied with what you have. Know that there are other things much more important such as our relationships with other people, our spiritual, physical, and mental health. Focus on these things if you want to enjoy life better.
5. Stay away from social media
There is no doubt that social media almost defines the entirety of modern human society. They say it bridges gaps and keeps people connected wherever they are. But like everything, it has its own share of downsides. This is where the idea of social media detoxing comes in. Social media detox can range from a few hours to a few weeks. Put your devices down and read a book, go out for a walk, and spend time with people that add value to your life. You only need to look at how social media has evolved to see how toxic and harmful it can be.
6. Leave social media for good
If you’ve stayed away from social media temporarily, but it’s not doing you any good, maybe it’s time to go cold turkey and leave it completely. Many people may opt to take a hiatus from social media, whether it be on a permanent or temporary basis. If you find that social media has become a bit too much for you and may border on being destructive to your mental health, then take a step back. Unplug, take a break from your smartphone, or maybe uninstall those pesky apps for the time being. This time, turn to your other interests and hobbies. Getting too caught up in social media can distract you from the things that truly matter in your life. So, take a breather and pull away from your smartphone. There’s more to life than just keeping track of social media and smartphone apps, after all.
7. Accept and love your body
We are bombarded with superficial standards of beauty. Photoshopped images become our standard of what is considered to be beautiful and what is not. Fortunately, there have been movements that encourage body positivity. People are inspired and taught to appreciate all shapes, sizes, and colors. What has been considered “flaws” for so long, such as acne, scars, stretch marks, and body fat, are now normalized and even celebrated.
When you realize that your so-called flaws are what makes you you, it becomes so empowering. No amount of judgment, hate, and destructive criticism can bring you down. Science also shows that when someone views her or his body in a positive light, he or she possesses a more positive quality of life and a healthier body. So accept and love your body no matter what shape and size.
8. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion is often mistaken for self-pity and complacency. In contrast, practicing self-compassion is actually being kind to oneself, accepting one’s mistakes, and being mindful of one’s overall emotions and actions. It involves caring, understanding, and being critical of oneself with the goals of growth and self-improvement.
In order to practice self-compassion, start by finding a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. It is only human for us to fail and suffer but it is how we react during and after which makes all the difference. Recognizing one’s vulnerability and the fact that it is completely normal to commit mistakes is the first step to having self-compassion. Instead of criticizing yourself for messing up, practice positive self-talk while still being critical and objective. Welcome and validate your own negative emotions and avoid suppressing them. This helps you in coming to terms with everything that is happening around you and will eventually help you move forward without carrying that negative feeling. When you practice self-compassion, you are encouraged not to be in your head all the time and see the bigger picture.
9. Exercise regularly to stay healthy
Wondering how to enjoy life alone? Science has proven that when exercising, the body releases happy hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Endorphins, the feel-good chemical, is responsible for blocking pain, increasing pleasure, and producing feelings of euphoria. In addition, the body also releases Dopamine, the reward chemical, and Serotonin, which regulates feelings of well-being and happiness. The increase in these chemicals helps in boosting your mood and relieves anxiety and depression. Aside from this, exercising regularly is one way to stay healthy which plays a role in increasing one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
10. Keep a healthy diet
Your body will thank you for keeping and following a healthy diet. Whether it’s a keto diet, pescatarianprescatarian, a plant-based, or gluten free diet, focusing on more nutritious options should be a priority. To be able to live life freely and to the fullest necessitates a healthy body. Some benefits include strong bones and muscles, keeps the heart healthy, prevents various long-term diseases, and boosts one’s immune system and overall mood.
A study shows the close relationship between a person’s mood and healthy diet. Eating nutritious food such as fruits and vegetables promote the growth of good bacteria that positively affects one’s neurotransmitter production. On the other hand, unhealthy food can cause body inflammation that hinders the production and spreading of the good bacteria.
Too much caffeine intake can cause feelings of agitation, tremors, nervousness, and sleeplessness. In addition, people who have high glycemic levels are more prone to suffering from depression and fatigue. Food such as soft drinks, soft drinks, cakes, and biscuits contain high glycemic load while vegetables and fruits contain low glycemic load. Also, by keeping a healthy diet, we know that we are taking care of our body and mind which helps build our self-esteem. It also gives a sense of accomplishment because it is a challenge for most people to follow a healthy diet.
It is easy to be distracted and get lost in the noise of this world. Meditation is a popular practice that helps the mind to focus and manage both external and internal noises. With the inner peace that it gives, it affects one’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
Physical health benefits to meditation include high tolerance for pain and decreased blood pressure. Aside from this, mental and emotional health benefits that meditation provides include better concentration and improved self-esteem. It also lowers the level of stress which translates to less anxiety since meditation gives you the chance to gather your thoughts and focus on what really matters. It promotes being consciously aware of things that bother you and of your emotions toward certain situations and circumstances. This improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life gives meditators a sense of calm, balance, and inner peace.
12. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Who would’ve thought that simply writing down what you are grateful for has a massive impact on one’s personal life and interpersonal relationships?
Keeping a gratitude journal nudges you to notice even the little things that happen daily. When you jot down what you are grateful for, you gain a new perspective on what truly matters and what you appreciate in life. When done daily, your mind is subconsciously programmed to become self-aware and to focus on the positive things in your surroundings. And when you choose to focus on what brings you happiness, you are more likely to be more satisfied with life. Maintaining a gratitude journal also provides you with a safe zone where you can write anything without anyone’s judgment or approval.
Aside from personal benefits, keeping a gratitude journal also affects how you treat the people around you. When you cultivate a grateful mindset, you are able to appreciate the presence of those around you and foster a compassionate and empathetic love for them. Grateful people are often disconnected from toxic and negative emotions which helps them build good relationships with people who also take good care of themselves and can bring as much gratitude, peace, and contentment to the table.
13. Surround yourself with happy people
As social human beings, it is completely normal for us to crave human interaction. The question is, do you take into consideration the kind of people you surround yourself with? Do you take time to analyze if they uplift you and add value to your life?
A study shows that a person’s social network affects their happiness levels. People who are surrounded by cheerful people have a more happy and positive behavior and also have a better sense of well-being. The Law of attraction suggests that spending time with people can have a huge influence on your moods. When you choose to be with positive thinkers, you are more likely to be exposed and adapt to empowering beliefs and see life from a more optimistic point of view. To grow, it is important to go out of your comfort zone and choose people who will not only inspire and motivate you but will also challenge you to become a better version of yourself. When it comes to friends, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity.
14. Learn to forgive
Forgiving people who have done you wrong, especially those who really matter to you is one of the most difficult things we can do. It becomes even more challenging when those who hurt you do not ask for forgiveness or fail to show remorse. No matter the circumstance, it is hard to imagine that there are benefits to forgiveness. Because of the pain and anger we feel, we see forgiveness as a gift to the offender. However, we should realize that it is actually a gift to ourselves.
When we choose forgiveness, we are choosing to let go of the pain, betrayal, and other negative emotions they have caused us. We are taking back our power and we become responsible for our emotions. When we let go of grudges, we free ourselves of negative feelings which leads to better mental health. When we are at peace, stress and anxiety levels tend to be lower. In addition, acknowledging that it is normal for people, including you, to make mistakes, builds better and stronger relationships.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or justifying what they did wrong. Rather, think of forgiveness as a conscious and deliberate act to free ourselves of negative emotions and in return, gain peace and clarity. When you choose to forgive, no matter how hard it can be, you are choosing to live life and enjoy life to the fullest.
15. Leave toxic relationships
Sometimes, what’s keeping us from being happy is other people. Controlling behaviors, envy, and resentment are signs of a toxic relationship. If a certain person in your circle brings you some sort of negativity in any way, maybe its time to take a step back and assess whether this person is what’s keeping you from enjoying life to your own standards. Regardless if these are romantic partners, family members, or long time friends, the key to achieving happiness is getting rid of the people that hinder it.
While relationships could go through ups and downs, there are some that will improve our life a lot better when we leave them entirely. The sad realization here is that you can cut relationships, and can actually enjoy life without these people, if it means getting rid of that toxicity.
16. Spend time with your loved ones
Spending time with your loved ones, especially family and friends is more important than you think. With the coming of the digital age, we become less social and spend more time on our screens going through different social media platforms on a daily basis. Most times we take for granted our time with them because we know that they are always just within our reach.
Spending time with your loved ones is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and is one of the many ways you can enjoy life to the fullest. Allowing yourself to be with family teaches you the foundation on how to build and maintain meaningful relationships.
When conflicts arise, they teach you interpersonal skills such as clear and healthy communication, awareness of yourself and others, conflict management, and how to solve problems. Spending time with your loved one also promotes improved mental health and reduces stress and anxiety. Being physically present with loved ones creates strong emotional support and increased self-esteem that you’ll need as you go through life. Lastly, carving out time for your friends also impacts and encourages positive choices as they influence your lifestyle behaviors. If your friend likes going out of her comfort zone to try new things, chances are, you’ll be inspired to do the same.
17. Foster Good Relationships
With the challenges and struggles thrown our way, fostering good relationships is critical for your emotional and mental health. Having people you can rely on especially during your difficult days is important in boosting your happiness and reducing your stress. Having a healthy support system reassures you that things will get better and helps you cope with the negativities in your life. With the right people, you are taught a better sense of belongingness and community.
18. Meet new people
As innately social creatures, we crave connections and interactions. But are you aware of the many advantages of meeting new people? Meeting new people can be a breath of fresh air. When you meet new people, your curiosity is piqued and you ask many questions. While exchanging stories, you get to look at things with renewed eyes. Spending time with people who have different ideas and opinions can also help you see things and situations from an entirely different point of view, influencing your growth and challenging your current beliefs. It may be uncomfortable at times to exchange differing opinions, but it is important to surround yourself with people who have principles and contrasting ideas as it can inspire you to have a better outlook in life and practice a more productive lifestyle.
19. Give back and help others
Giving back and helping others give people a greater sense of purpose. Knowing that you are doing something meaningful and that you are capable of effecting positive change is an unparalleled feeling. Giving back is said to be rooted in our psychology, as it activates sections of the brain associated with feelings of pleasure and positivity. Giving is hardwired to feel good in your brain. When you do something for a greater cause, it also boosts your self-esteem.
Some people may say that the secret to true happiness is helping others in need. But to truly feel happy about giving, you must know where to start.
Being proactive is better than being reactive. If you’re the type of giver who only springs into action when there’s an obvious demand for it, then you might never find true joy in charity. Find a way to be proactive, especially since there are many people around the world who are in need. You don’t need to hear it on the news first before you help. Seeking out opportunities for charity whenever possible will open your eyes to a whole new perspective on life.
Never underestimate time. Not everybody is rich enough to hand out money or buy food for the homeless. Time is something that is invaluable, so give your time to those who need it. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or food bank when you have time. Look for places that could use extra hands and volunteer time if you can’t give anything tangible. Having the means to help out or offer donations will be all for naught if you don’t make the time to help out in the first place.
Giving is never limited to material things. You can offer services, counseling, and even just a listening ear to someone who needs it. You can teach kids whose families can’t afford schooling. At the end of the day, true charitable work is about choosing to offer whatever you have, be it material goods or your specialized skill set.
20. Understand the power of taking risk
Wondering how to enjoy life alone? Risk-taking is one of those strange yet fascinating aspects of the human psyche. People’s willingness to take risks can differ; what one may consider a risk can be subjective. But in general, we all take risks in our lives one way or another. In comparison, women are more social risk-takers, men, on the other hand, lean towards more physical risks. Not all risks need to be death-defying acts, as many things can be put on the line in the different aspects of our lives.
Taking risks offers many psychological benefits. These include spikes in creativity, developing a new skill, and building emotional resilience.A study on taking risks shows that a person’s inclination to take risks relates to how they expect to benefit from the outcome of their decisions. Though risks can offer failure as a potential result, they also provide opportunities for great success as well. This chance for reward can be enough to push some people into taking risks.
21. Overcome your fear of failing
Learn to overcome your fear of failing. Don’t view failure in a negative light. Instead, look at it as a stepping stone that teaches you how to become better at what you do. After all, the only way you can move forward is to take the leap. Nobody really learns when they are not challenged and when they choose to just stay in their comfort zones.You’ll come out stronger, more confident, and more resilient. Learning how to enjoy life means learning, not just from success, but mostly from failure.
22. Keep an open mind
People adhere to their own sets of values and beliefs. Unfortunately, beliefs can sometimes be so deep-rooted in us that it’s almost impossible to be open to anything else. This, however, can become an issue among people who resist change and like to stick to what they know. People who adopt this mentality can find it almost impossible to understand that the world doesn’t cater to their whims at all times.
In this world, you will encounter people with different sets of principles and opinions. It is important to keep an open mind when it comes to dealing with such people to foster a peaceful and intellectual conversation rather than an argument that attacks one’s belief with intentions of proving yourself correct.
When a certain situation or event does not go as planned, it is normal to feel negative emotions such as disappointment and frustration. However, you must realize that it is inevitable for things to go in a different direction than you’ve planned or expected. What matters is how you respond to these types of situations. Always keep an open mind. Instead of complaining and letting such circumstances ruin your day, analyze what this situation is trying to teach you. Is it teaching you to be more patient and understanding? Is it teaching you to be more flexible and adaptable? Giving yourself unnecessary stress can set you back from enjoying your time and appreciating what you have in life. Understand that true happiness is never achievable with a one-track mindset because the world’s beauty lies in its diversity which leads us to our next point.
23. Try out new things
Trying out new things and going out of your comfort zone is one of the many ways on how you can enjoy life to the fullest. If you’re a person who becomes frustrated when encountering something new or different, slow down and re-evaluate. As mentioned, close-mindedness tends to trigger destructive emotions.
On the other hand, giving in to your curiosity and trying new things widens your perspective. When you expose yourself to a new environment and experience new things, you gain knowledge not only about the things around you but also about yourself. You are able to know your likes and dislikes as well as what you can and cannot tolerate. Fear also shows up when you encounter new situations. This is also another benefit to trying new things – to better understand and face your fears which leads to a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
Also, exploring new things creates new memories you can look back on. These memorable experiences can teach you the value of your time. When we are stuck with a routine, we get to appreciate how we spend our time and we are inspired to spend our time wisely.
24. Spend your time wisely
As the saying goes, time is gold. When we are mindful of our time, nay, the little time that we have, we would realize how important it is to invest it in the people who matter most to us and in the activities that actually nourishes our soul. While it is important to manage your time wisely to improve your work-life balance, do not forget to dedicate time to things that bring you genuine happiness.
25. Spend time with nature
Surrounding yourself with trees, plants, water, and other natural elements reduces stress and feelings of anger, frustration, and fear. It increases pleasant feelings; it is scientifically proven that happy hormones such as endorphins and dopamines are produced, which refreshes our minds and prepares us for our tasks. Witnessing picturesque sceneries also distracts us from our problems and pains leading to calmness and reduced anxiety and blood pressure. If you’re feeling uneasy, lost, or you just want some “me time”, allot time to be nurtured by nature. Allow yourself to enjoy life by immersing yourself with the environment.
26. Don’t live in the past
Take it to heart when people say you need to let go of the past and move on. Did you get dumped by a partner and continue to blame yourself? Or did you lose your job for something out of your control? As painful and as challenging as it can be, you need to learn to let go and move on. Holding on to the past won’t help you move forward in life. It prevents you from enjoying new experiences that could change your life for the better.
Living your life stuck in the past means re-living things that you can no longer change. If you continue to do this, then you risk falling into a habit of self-destruction and a pattern of unhappiness. Acquiring knowledge on how to enjoy life calls for an understanding that happiness will be unreachable if you remain in the past.
Here are some ways that may help you move on from the past and learn how to live in the present.
Never bottle up your emotions. Doing so may turn you into an unstable mess of emotions. This can be especially challenging for men due to today’s society and its definitions of what makes a “real man.” Disregard those standards and prioritize yourself instead. Learn how to let your emotions flow; don’t be afraid to cry and try to be more open with your feelings. By tapping into your emotions, you’re slowly but surely helping yourself ease your grip on why you’re holding onto the past in the first place.
Don’t wallow in self-pity. You can’t learn how to enjoy life if you continue to indulge in your misery. We all make mistakes and may carry regrets, but that’s all a part of life. Come to terms with your past and address yourself with compassion. You owe yourself the chance to make up for past decisions in order to build a better life in the future. Instead of focusing your energy on looking back and regretting, spend your time appreciating and living in the present moment.
27. Live in The Present Moment
Consciously choosing to live in the present helps us live life more fully. When we are attached to the past or if we are constantly thinking about the future, appreciating what is currently happening becomes such a hard thing to do. Focusing on what has happened, the what-ifs, and the what-could’ve-beens can trigger feelings of regret, stress, and agitation. Spending time worrying about the future makes you forget to savor every moment. When this happens, you miss out on memories, things, and situations to look back on.
On the other hand, when you maintain a state of presence, you will feel a lot calmer and at peace. You become grateful and appreciative of each moment as it unfolds. You acknowledge that time is fleeting and you can only enjoy life while you can. Although life may be complex, you should take it one moment at a time. Let life unfold in moments and choose to focus your time and energy on each one as it unravels. When you choose to live in the present moment, you are choosing to let go of the past without regrets and overthinking and you embrace what is to come without worries and expectations. When you focus on things happening in the present moment, you get to fully embrace and enjoy life.
28. Appreciate the little things
Sure, it is exciting to receive grand gifts, attend big events, and start a new chapter in your life. But do you take time to appreciate the little things that happen in your everyday life? Oftentimes, these things are taken for granted. We tend to overlook the little things just because we are so used to expecting big changes to happen to us. When this happens, we actually miss out on the vast majority of our lives because we fail to acknowledge the fact that little things compromise the bigger picture.
When you decide to actively notice the simple pleasures of life, you are actually choosing to appreciate the simple joys in life. You wouldn’t feel the need to seek a grandeur lifestyle, expensive gifts, or big and drastic changes. When you pay attention to the little things and what truly nurtures your soul, you are practicing gratitude that leads to contentment.
29. Find something to look forward to
Having something to look forward to helps improve your mental health. Whether it be spending time with loved ones, traveling, or simply enjoying your own company at home. Yes, it is possible to enjoy life at home. Whether it be ordering food, binge-watching shows, and movies, or taking a hot shower.
Imagining a bright future increases feelings of optimism about the future, makes you feel better in the present, and adds value to our lives. Just planning something fun can already fill you with excitement and anticipation and helps in combating stress at present. This healthy sense of anticipation is a powerful motivator for people to keep going through the hard days. Atlanta therapist, LeNaya Smith Crawford, also suggests that anticipation creates discipline as it helps with understanding the concept of delayed gratification. People realize that a reward can be obtained when we are patient.
It is inevitable that sometimes, things really don’t go as planned. When these plans go down the drain, it is normal to feel sad and frustrated. This also teaches people the importance of being adaptable and flexible. People are taught to take time and understand how and why things went accordingly, acknowledge their emotions, and formulate a good response.
30. Take time to rest
Nowadays, rest seems to be a luxury. When you’re trying to multitask to get your work down, it becomes hard to unplug in such a busy world. However, it’s time to realize that rest is not a reward, but an essential.
When you take your body for granted, your internal systems are compromised. You may start to feel a little more stressed out that in time could also affect your decision-making, relationships and overall mood. Getting the right amount of quality sleep is a fundamental part of your overall well-being and long-term health. When you take time to rest, it refreshes the mind and helps the body regain the energy that it needs throughout the day. When you take time to rest, it boosts your creativity and productivity. In return, you get to enjoy life to the fullest.
31. Live for yourself
Living for yourself means building and living the life you want for yourself. It encourages people to live a life aligned with their interests and values.
To be able to do this successfully, you have to get to know yourself on a deeper level. Know what you stand for, your hobbies, what makes you happy and stressed out, and determine what you can and cannot tolerate. When you know your core values and your priorities, it becomes hard for other people to dictate how you should live your life. Having this as a foundation will make it easier for you to live a life that you love and a life that you are proud of. It is also important to be clear on what you want in order to build a habit of not settling for less. This also creates healthy boundaries so that people have no authority to impose values or opinions that do not resonate with you.
However, it is important to know that living for yourself does not equate to living selfishly. Rather, it promotes self-love and self-improvement and is rooted in the idea that investing in yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Remember that looking after yourself is not selfish and that you have every right to live life to the fullest.
How to Enjoy Life
Figuring out how to enjoy life must start within you. Knowing how to make the most of life is more of an internal battle than an evaluation of the cards you’re dealt with. Looking inside what drives and makes you “you” is the root of living your life to the fullest. In the end, knowing how to enjoy life is a very personal journey. What one person may consider a source of joy might not suffice for someone else. With that said, you must think of our advice as tips instead of imperative guidelines to follow. Take your own personal beliefs and what works best for you into consideration.
There are good habits you can adopt to make yourself a better person, but ultimately, the road to self-improvement won’t be linear. There will be ups and downs, but don’t be disheartened when you fall off the course. Learning how to enjoy life for what it is means finding the beauty in everything — including mishaps and failures.