Chronic illness warrior and natural health coach and advocate, Gina helps others thrive beyond the challenges of chronic illness.
Learn to enjoy life.
Do you want to live a happy life? If you say yes like most people do, then it’s important to learn to enjoy life. Some people may think that they can only enjoy life when they already have a lot of money or have a successful career. But that’s not true. You can enjoy your life where you are with what you already have. You can enjoy your life now.
I started off with a list of 30, but as time went on there were items that I felt very strongly should be here, so they were added in. I hope you enjoy the extended list.
Here I will share with you how to enjoy life. But before that, I’d like to share two tips that are essential to live a happy life. The first one is to be grateful. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. No matter how many pleasant things you do, if you don’t learn to be grateful you will always see things negatively.
The second one is to slow down. Life has a lot of simple things you can enjoy. But if you move too fast you will overlook most of them. So don’t be in a hurry. Don’t move too quick. Slow down and pay attention to the world around you. Most of the ways I’m about to share will work well only if you slow down.
Play, and really listen to, your favorite music.
1. Play, and really listen to, your favorite music.
Play music. If there are lyrics to the songs, really listen to them. Don't let the words be lost on the wind. More than just listening, playing music allows you to express yourself. I grew up studying the piano and learnt to play several instruments along the way. The only one I regret not learning is the violin.....and I still have time learn. I don't believe it's too late. I must tell you that one video that touches me deep down every time I hear it is that of Celine Dion in To Love You More and the violinist in that, Taro Hakase. Talk about making love to the violin.
Read the Classics.
2. Read a classic book.
#1: You will improve your vocabulary
It doesn’t matter if you want to impress that girl at the coffee shop, boost your test scores, or simply deliver more unique and engaging presentations at the office – Reading the classics will familiarize yourself with words that will boost your intelligence.
Reading Classics of Greek and Latin origins, in particular, will develop your personal vocabulary. Over 70% of all words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin. As a result, knowing the Latin and Greek prefixes, roots, and suffixes will help you to remember definitions as well as determine the meaning of new words that you may come across.
#2: You will become a more empathetic person
Reading fiction strengthens your social empathy, and reading works that are of high quality and strongly character-driven furthers this.
#3: You will be challenging yourself
Not only do the Classics tend to have universal themes that have survived the test of time, but they are also a bit more challenging than commercial fiction . Not only will you find deep characters, experiences, emotions, and overall perspectives, but you will also be reading books that you will be proud to be seen reading. You may not like them all, but you will undoubtedly find something you will love.
#4: You will become an interesting conversationalist
You will be able to drop literary references during conversation, as well as be able to offer some other cultural references. Allusions to concepts and characters such as “Big Brother”, the fact that Frankenstein is not the monster, knowing what an Oedipus complex is, and more will no longer go straight over your head. Plus, hundreds of common words and expressions come straight from Shakespeare. Not only will you be more familiar with them, but you will be able to cite the original source. You will have something to bring to the conversation and, as a result, seem more interesting.
#5: If you don’t use it, you lose it
The works of Shakespeare have been proven to give your brain quite the workout. Do you want to improve cognitive function, but aren’t a fan of math? A close reading of Jane Austen has been shown to be associated with a level of cognitive complexity that matches – if not surpasses – solving a challenging math equation
- Improved writing ability
- Fresh ideas
- Improve your creative thinking and imagination
Sometimes it is the concepts and storytelling that broadens your mind, and other times it is simple lines of text that expand your capacity for imagination and free thought. Reading words such as “a pool of light” may help push you past the pedestrian way your creative mind functions at the moment.
Learn creative thinking with Sun Tzu’s – Art of war
Examine how office politics has been going on for years with The Book of the Courtier
Learn to exploit your surroundings with Machiavelli’s – The Prince.
Broaden your mind and spot when others are ripping off older text.
Older stories and ideas are ripped off all the time. Things such as “The Time Machine” and “A Christmas Carol” are still being ripped off in movies and books today.
See how far women have come with Mary Wollstonecraft’s.
Seeing just how far women have come and seeing how philosophy used to work can be very enlightening. It may also lead to some very uncomfortable conclusions about the rights of women in less enlightened countries.
Plant a garden.
3. Plant a garden.
- Gardening can save your waistline.
- Gardening can save your health.
- Gardening can save the planet.
- Gardening can save your mental well-being.
- Gardening can save your bank account.
- Gardening can save your community.
Visit a Museum.
4. Go to a museum.
- Museums make you feel good.
- Museums make you smarter.
- Museums provide an efficient way of learning.
- Museums are community centers.
- Museums inspire.
- Museums help bring change and development to communities.
- Museums are a great way to spend time with friends and family.
- Find one. There is definitely one close to you.
Get a massage.
5. Get a massage.
- It counteracts all that sitting you do.
- It eases muscle pain.
- It soothes anxiety and depression.
- It improves sleep for adults and children, even babies.
- It boosts immunity.
- It relieves stress and headaches.
Go to the theater.
6. Go to a theater.
- Theatre does no harm.
- Theatre is a sophisticated expression of a basic human need -- one might call it an instinct -- to mimic, to project stories onto ourselves and others, and to create meaning through narrative and metaphor.
- Theatre brings people together.
- Theatre models for us a kind of public discourse that lies at the heart of democratic life, and builds our skills for listening to different sides of a conversation or argument, and empathizing with the struggles of our fellow human beings whatever their views may be.
- Both the making of theatre and attending of theatre contribute to education and literacy. Watching the characters talk back and forth in the theatre is tricky; it requires sharp attention, quick mental shifts, and nimble language skills.
- Theatre as an industry contributes to our economy and plays a special role in the revitalization of neglected neighborhoods. We've seen this quite clearly in our own city.
- Theater influences the way we think and feel about our own lives and encourages us to take a hard look at ourselves, our values, and our behavior.
7. Create a collage of pictures of your loved ones, frame it, and hang it up in a visible spot in your home.
8. Watch comedy.
Richard Pyor was always one of my favorite comedians. You don't see much of his stuff anymore or his movies. How many of you remember Bustin' Loose?
9. Blow bubbles
Bubbles are one of my absolute favorite things to use when playing with kids, or just having fun by yourself, especially those virtually indestructible Gymboree bubbles.
Don't forget your cameras.
Watch the sunrise.
10. Watch sunrise.
There are a number of other reasons to wake up early and see the sunrise
- It is beautiful
- It means you can make the most of the entire day rather than spending half of it sleeping
- It is good for your mental health and productivity
- It is often a more tranquil time of day
- You can find more time for exercise and more time for relaxation
- There’s increasing evidence that early risers feel positive and more confident in their work, which results in long-term happiness
- If you get up early in the morning and get on with your day, it makes sense that you will also go to bed earlier
- You will notice the feeling of being tired at the end of the day, and if you respond to that and head off to bed, you will fall asleep faster. This means that you will set up healthy sleep habits and have improved sleep quality
- There is research to suggest people who get up early have less risk of depression than those who sleep away the day
Plan your fantasy vacation.
11. Plan your fantasy vacation.
Plan your fantasy vacation. Do online research, cut out pictures from magazines, collect brochures from travel agencies, and plan your vacation to the last detail. Don’t censor yourself by thinking about the cost or when you’ll have the time to go. To paraphrase Goethe, first you move and then Providence moves too.
Read comic books.
12. Read comic books
Stretch out on your couch with a compendium of your favorite comic strip, read it through from beginning to end, and laugh until your stomach hurts. If you don’t have a favorite comic strip,
Take a hike.
13. Go hiking.
- It's healthy and improves your overall health.
- It's cheap, compared to other sports.
- It allows you to commune with nature.
- It burns calories.
- It elevates your mood, and decreases your anxiety.
- It boosts memory.
- It helps you think more creatively.
- It's great for cardiovascular health.
14. Take a walk in the park.
You couldn’t ask for a much prettier photo backdrop than the natural wonders of your local parks, so go ahead and snap some pics of your stroll.
15. Yo-yo. Enough said!
16. Watch the sun set.
- It can slow down time...or your perception of time.
- It doesn't take long.
- It forces you outside.
- It allows you to multi task in a healthy way.
- It will force you to put your phone down.
- It helps you to appreciate life's gifts.
- It will inspire you.
17. Skip rocks.
Skipping rocks is a skill that requires mastery of speed, spin, and angle. It can make for a great day at a lake or another peaceful body of water and can even be a bonding activity for you and your friends or family members.
Part of the fun is finding the perfect rock, and then throwing it to how many times it skips across the water.
Play a game you enjoyed as a child.
18. Play a game you loved as a child
Play a game you loved as a child: play with marbles or jacks; jump rope; play hopscotch; draw with colored chalk on the sidewalk; get some Play-Doh; or go to a park and climb on the swings. Frisbee. You can, also pull out your favorite boardgames and play with friends.
Go on a nature trail
20. Go on a nature trail.
A walk in nature can give you the small dose of wilderness you need to refresh your spirit.
Whether you see nature walks as a time for introspection or a chance to learn about wildlife, make the most of your stroll into wilderness.
Learn to cook.
21. Learn to cook.
I was lucky enough to have grown up with my grandmother who taught me how to cook...or to put it another way....I watched and learned how to cook and bake. To this day, whenever I bake a pineapple upside-down cake, I can still see myself standing in the kitchen with my grandmother as she whips up the batter, and explains to me how to layer the pineapple on the bottom after melting the butter perfectly so as not to burn it, sprinkle the brown sugar and then pour the batter.
Although I consider myself a good cook, I still love to learn to cook different dishes. Recently I've been cooking a lot of Indian dishes because of my studying Ayurveda.
Cooking is not just the act of cooking, but also the connection that is formed with the people who you are cooking with or those who are going to be enjoying the meals...it's the conversation that takes place around the meals after.
22. Take pictures.
Well, this is one that I have covered. I take pictures EVERYDAY!.....pictures of nature, of my children, my granddaughter, of myself. I capture moments in time.
Have a cup of tea.
23. Have a cup of tea.
Sitting down and having a cup of tea is a very sacred act for me.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis
Walk barefoot in the grass.
24. Walk barefoot in the grass.
Walking barefoot in the grass is also called Earthing. There has been numerous scientific research done into the concept of grounding or earthing.
Why Earthing is good or you!
Visit antique stores.
25. Visit antique stores
We like story-telling, so it is no surprise that we love to go to visit antique stores. Antiques tell stories. I love listening to the stories behind each piece. Each piece has been on a journey, and that journey is so enchanting to us.
26. Read poetry
- Poets care and leave color everywhere!
- Poets help us see things in ways we hadn’t seen them before.
- Poets urge us into experience, with our senses, in ways that other aspects in life do not.
- Poets personify inanimate objects and concepts in ways that encourage us to see things around us differently than we did before.
- Poets put their hearts and souls on the page in ways that allow us to interpret them as we will ~ assigning meaning and connection that makes sense to us; go with the memory that’s triggered, hear that song in your head, think it’s about this or about that – as long as it moves you somehow in some way and you’re different from having been here, reading the words.
Create something beautiful.
27. Create something beautiful.
Create something beautiful by taking a painting class or sculpting class. Go to a paint your own ceramic class.
We're creative beings!
Creating helps us to:
- express emotion
- have fun
- be empathetic
- go beyond time and space
- helps you to use your imagination
- attract responses
- be courageous
28. Find and watch a movie you like.
Find and watch a movie you like. IMDB‘s recommendation engine can help you find movies you may like.
Watch your favorite movie.
29. Gather with old friends.
Gathering with old friends is like going into a sanctuary.
"One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention."
Clifton Fadiman quotes
30. Attend free local events
Simply check your local news and newspaper for free events that may be happening. There is always something going on, I have found.
31. Issue yourself a "life" ticket.
Issue yourself a “life ticket.” We find ways to pay tickets if and when we get them because we have to. Think of travel in that same way—and be resourceful to make it happen.
Give yourself a lazy day.
32. Give yourself a lazy day.
1. Choose a comfortable outfit you can hang out in all day.
2. Create a comfy area for your pleasure, with candles and comfy pillows, drinks, snacks.
3. Set everything up.This prevents you from having to get up once you're comfortable.
- Pick out a favourite movie. Chick flicks and comedies for some, zombie horror or action movies for others. Indulge your own tastes.
- Put your TV to the channel you want to watch. This way in the morning you can just turn the TV on and that channel will be on.
- Pick out a favourite book. Maybe a long novel, comic book or new magazine.
- Pick out your favourite music. Something calming and soothing. Even if this is music other people would find stimulating or aggressive. Some people really enjoy dark music with angry lyrics, choose it to fit your real emotions and reactions rather than what the majority says is relaxing. If you'd rather pay attention to the book, try listening to nature sound recordings like surf or bird song.
- Grab your favourite forbidden foods. Perhaps chocolate, ice cream, expensive fresh fruit or popcorn. This is your day off to be lazy. Remember?
- Don't forget your toys. Hand held games or hobbies are good for this. Or just a deck of cards. Solitaire gets mindlessly immersed on a computer, amazingly it works the same way with actual cards when you walk away from the machine. For some people it's winding yarn, for others it's crossword puzzles, working out sports statistics or drawing what's outside your window. Just do what you enjoy most if you do anything at all and do it in a way that does not involve meeting obligations or doing anything for anyone else. This is a day for taking care of yourself.
4. Have fun.
5. Relax and enjoy.
33. Avoid the news.
It’s all too easy to get sucked into public drama, online and offline. Trust that if something important happens, you’ll know about it. Otherwise, save yourself energy and spend your time on something more worthwhile.
Everyone should exercise to stay fit and live longer. Exercise to stay fit and enjoy what the world has to offer you. Of course, always ask experts for advice on how to go about your daily exercise routine.
The body is a machine, a magnificent vessel that gives us life. It’s not merely a clothes horse, or a means to attract another. It’s a complicated and endlessly fascinating life form that only works if we work it. We know this, exercise is pivotal to lasting health. If you hate the gym (I can relate), don’t bother because you won’t stick with it. If you do, by all means, continue to use it.
Otherwise, there are many options you can enjoy outdoors or in the comfort of your very own home. Walk, bike, skip, jump rope, dance (badly if need be), do yoga, pilates, garden, hike, climb, swim, play with your dogs or your kids or your partners, wrestle, have sex (hey now!). Get moving.
Get out of your comfort zone.
35. Get out of your comfort zone.
One of the most fun and challenging things I do is practice my Japanese with strangers. Sometimes, it’s a good conversation, and sometimes it goes nowhere. But either which way, it breaks me out of my comfort zone, and, more often than not, makes me feel alive.
Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. It can be anything: try a new food, take some dancing classes, or maybe volunteer.
One of the things that I did that was very invigorating was audition for a play. I set that I would audition for the "very next play" that was being advertised. It turned out to be the Vagina Monologues. If you're familiar with the controversial play, then you understand what I am talking about.
36. Set a 30-day Challenge.
Set a 30-day challenge—i.e. write 5 pages every day without worrying if they’re any good; after 30 days, you’ll have a first draft of a 150-page novel....or it could be taking a picture of yourself for 30 days as part of a self-love challenge, which I am currently doing....or it could be a fitness challenge.
Whatever it is, do it for 30 days and see how more exciting your life becomes.
37. Keep a wish list or a bucket list
If you haven't already seen the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, I recommend putting it on your to-do list.
In a nutshell, this is the list of the 100 things you want to do (places to go, people to meet, things to do) before you die ("kick the bucket"). Here's why I think it's a good idea to invest your time on this task:
- Thinking about your list will remind you of your 'why.
- Periodically reviewing your list is a great way to re-energize.
- Your reward list is ready to go.
- You leverage the law of attraction. By creating your list and sharing it, you send out a 'vibration.'
- Add to or build your legacy. Set the example for future generations.
38. Spend money on experiences...not possessions
- Anticipation (and memories) are good for us.
- We’re less likely to compare our experiences with other people than we are to compare the stuff we own.
- Even bad experiences make good stories.
39. Give back
Spending time on activities that make a difference to others, through pursuits like volunteering, helps instill a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Even though some of the activities might not be that enjoyable or exciting, the simple act of giving back is a reward in itself.
40. Live Your Greatest Passion Despite Inevitable Risk
This is the stage that I am currently living. I've recently started designing clothing with my artwork on it, as well as planning for a one-woman show in November. In addition to this I continue to write, while battling chronic illness.
“Life is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use,” Charles M. Schulz once wrote.
Gretchen Rubin told Anne Kreamer that when clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “I realized that I would rather fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer.” Rubin turned her hobby into her job, writing The Happiness Project, on the a New York Times best-seller list for years. Like many of us, you may need a nudge towards identifying your passion. Find Your Strongest Life provides a concrete approach for anyone, even though it was written for women. Alternatively, many are already keenly aware that they have diverse talents yet are stumped about how to create a life where they can use them.
Live your best life!
In the words of Fannie Fern, “There are no little things. Little things are the hinges of the universe.” Live your best life by celebrating the little things every day.
I’m sure there are still a lot of other ways to enjoy life, other than what I've mentioned here. What is your favorite way to enjoy life? Can you suggest other items for the list?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Gina Welds
Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on February 19, 2021:
They sure do. Don't they? Thanks for visiting.
Mallika Lotus from Hyderabad, India on December 26, 2020:
Good article. simple things in life give happiness.
Shaloo Walia from India on February 24, 2018:
Great ideas...My favorite is listening to music and reading.
Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on August 14, 2016:
Thank you so much, @venkatacharim. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving some feedback.
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on August 13, 2016:
Wonderful tips here. Very useful if people follow at least some of them.
The videos are also much entertaining. I like your approach to life in making it better.
Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on July 15, 2016:
I'm with you, Lipnancy! lol. I'm working on it!
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on July 15, 2016:
There is so much here. I say we take a year off and enjoy them all.
Gina Welds (author) from Tampa, Florida on July 14, 2016:
Thanks, Daniel. There is so much more that I could add, but I had to cut it off somewhere. :-)
Daniel Dela Dunoo from Ghana on July 14, 2016: