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It's Your Life to Live

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It's Your Life to Live

From crackberries to virtual reality, North Americans are addicted to speed, technology, distraction, achieving, and packing as much as possible into each day. While this lifestyle offers excitement, it does not leave much room for fulfillment, contentment, or health on any meaningful level.

From crackberries to virtual reality, North Americans are addicted to speed, technology, distraction, achieving, and packing as much as possible into each day. While this lifestyle offers excitement, it does not leave much room for fulfillment, contentment, or health on any meaningful level.

In fact, the result of all this busyness is often chronic fatigue, unfulfilled personal relationships, burnout, and the feeling that our lives are out of control.

Practising these 10 simple strategies can help you take back control of your life.

1. Say no

We often overburden ourselves by saying yes when we want to say no, cramming one more obligation into an already overfull week. Saying no does not make us selfish; we are caring for ourselves and our quality of life.

2. Review your calendar

Identify where you can schedule out an activity. If you find yourself rushing to work, through work, home from work, to get dinner, to get the kids to their activities, and home again…there is an imbalance. Evaluate your activities and uncover opportunities to be less busy.

3. Schedule family time

Talk, play a game, go for a walk–simply enjoy each other’s company without technology. Satisfying relationships require a commitment to spending meaningful time with those who are most important to us.

4. Get active

Regular exercise creates a sense of well-being and helps us feel in control of our bodies and our lives. The Mayo Clinic reports that regular, moderate exercise prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes while managing weight and extending life. Start with a half-hour walk in the morning or evening. Get your kids or spouse to join you and make it a time for connecting–just do it! You will start feeling better immediately.

5. Eat healthier

A UK study found that 80 percent of people suffering from mood disorders affirmed diet affected how they felt. Processed sugar sapped energy and caused stress, while fruits, nuts, vegetables, and oil-rich fish stabilized moods. Cut out the fast food and integrate fresh, healthy choices—this is the secret to losing weight and feeling great. It’s like putting high-octane fuel in the car; our bodies function better and the fuel burns longer and cleaner. You’re worth it!


6. Start journalling

Stanford Hospital reports that journalling can help improve our health, coping skills, immune system, cognitive abilities, and emotional adaptations to stress. It helps us to understand what’s going on in our lives. It is a place to examine our fears, successes, and joys. It helps!

7. Applaud your successes

We often focus on what we did wrong without acknowledging the many things we have done right. It is a very rare day that we don’t do something right: an act of kindness, a project that we put our heart into, the time spent listening to a loved one. Every day includes activities we deserve to feel good about. Start noticing them. Write them in your journal. Celebrate them!

8. Just be

Author Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes meditation as “a method for paying attention in your life, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Taking time to sit in silence and focus on the breath for 10 to 15 minutes each morning helps develop equanimity to the thousands of thoughts that pass through our minds daily. Regular practice creates a foundation of calm that permeates the entire day.

9. Integrate spiritual practices

Researchers at Duke University found that cardiac patients who used prayer and similar practices had better clinical outcomes after heart surgery than those treated with surgery alone. Powerful daily practices include patience, acceptance, kindness, inquiry (seeking to understand), letting go, relinquishing the need to be right, and forgiveness. These practices make life richer, fuller, and more joyous.

10. Believe in yourself

Many of us feel we are at the whim of life’s events and have little control over outcomes. While it is true that we can’t change people, places, and things outside ourselves, we can change our own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours, thereby altering our outcomes and increasing our effectiveness.

Implement at least one of these activities today and you may notice the joy of living seeping back into your day.

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