“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard
Becoming intentional in everyday life takes effort. While its easier to be on auto-pilot mode and just go about the day, becoming conscious of how we look at and perceive details takes a little more energy. But in retrospect, intentional living turns out to be totally worth it- our days can be joyous and fulfilling without much dependence on variables that are outside of our control.
We’ve spent a large part of our lives on autopilot mode. So to turn intentional over-night is by no means an easy task. However, we can start with some simple ways for the every day:
- Start the day without rush. A calm morning can be a source of great inspiration for a fantastic day ahead. Enjoy the beauty of the morning and use it well to think of three most important things you need to get done during the day.
- The office-hour traffic can be awful at times and take a dent on our moods. One great way to intentionally approach such situations is to start the commute with a smile and promising yourself that you will remain calm and make the most of the day, no matter what happens. It’s easy to forget that promise 10 minutes into the commute, but constantly reminding yourself and starting over can be hugely comforting.
- If you use a vehicle to commute, try parking somewhere different than you are used to. Its natural to have a tendency to follow the same sequence everyday but this little tweak helps us become more deliberate.
- If you walk, try an alternative route and notice the details along the path.
- Try smiling at three people every day. It maybe awkward at first but we are doing it primarily for ourselves. Getting a smile back is a bonus point.
- Anxiety has become the normal human condition. At any point during the day when you feel anxious or overwhelmed, just take a step back and ask yourself two simple questions to attain clarity: How am I feeling? What do I want?
- Take mindful breaks during the day. Gentle reminder tones certainly help. Use the occasion to enjoy the wonders of being alive that we take for granted so often.
- Savor your teatime. Notice the intricacies of the drink- the aroma when you smell it, the color texture, and the warmth of the cup. It’s one of the greatest pleasures in life. Don’t multi-task and ruin the moment. Savor each sip.
- It’s easy to get caught up and feel agitated at how the universe is not exactly doing justice to our grand plans. However, there is so much to be grateful for everyday. Just think of three things every night.
- Each night, try doing a quick compassion exercise for someone-either a friend, colleague, or a stranger. All you need to do is to sit comfortably, close your eyes and think of that person and wish for them to:
Be safe. Be healthy. Be happy. Live with ease.
With just a slight effort, these simple techniques have the power to turn a mundane routine into a day full of positivity and contentment. Every single day lived with a sense of purpose and intension adds up to a good life.