By Barton Goldsmith
McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Do you ever feel like you aren’t getting enough out of life? By doing a few simple things, you can brighten your days and make your life a more fulfilling place to be.
1. Get outside more often. It has been said that if you want to live a long life, you should spend as much time outdoors as you can while doing things that are not too physically stressful. Taking a half-hour walk every day will help you avoid depression and decrease any anxiety you may be feeling.
2. Trust your gut. Tune into your own feelings, look at them, and work on understanding where the pain is coming from. All of the answers you need are there inside you.
3. Make a new friend. You may think you have enough friends already or that you don’t have time to make new friends, but there is always room to add a positive person into your life. I’m not saying go online and look for friendship there. The idea is to get closer to people you may already know or see on a regular basis.
4. Get involved in your community. It’s hard to open a paper and not see the charity events going on close by. If you have the desire to help out, act on it. You will make a difference in the lives of others, and you will feel better, too.
5. Slow down. We rush so much of the time, and it’s understandable with all that’s going on around us. But if you relax for a moment here and there, just to take in your surroundings and what you are doing, it will make you breathe easier and help you enjoy whatever you are doing more.
6. Appreciate what you have. We all want things, and that’s good, but when not getting what you want when you want it makes you sad and angry, you may be asking for too much too soon. Look around at your life and focus on the good stuff, see what you have, and don’t focus on what you lack.
7. Try a new activity. Take a class, go some place you’ve never been, or create a new space in your home. Taking on hobbies and activities can be enjoyable, and it gives you the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things that will enrich your life.
8. Write your story. Many people are tracing their family histories online these days, and it’s a fun hobby. You can also research and write your own story. It may not become a hit movie, but it will give you a fresh perspective on your life and allow you to remember things that you may have forgotten. If writing an autobiography is too daunting, try keeping a journal. Then your story can write itself.
9. Make that apology. If there is someone in your life to whom you need to say, “I’m sorry,” go ahead and do it. Letting go of resentments and owning up to your mistakes will give you more room to enjoy your time on the planet. It may also help you connect with a long lost friend.
10. Plan some fun. Happiness comes from moving toward what you want, not from getting it, so you need to have new things to look forward to. Now that summer is almost over, it’s a good time to start planning for next year or your next vacation.
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If you are just sitting around and letting the world pass you by, it’s time to get up and start moving. Getting the most out of life is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and making it happen.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” )