“Life is stressful! Too much work, too many things going wrong, not enough money, too much traffic, not being appreciated, too much noise, too hard! This is the life you have. Time to find out how to enjoy it.” says this 70 year old grandma, retired teacher, and children’s book author.
Definition for ENJOY — take pleasure from, delight in, appreciate, be entertained by.
What most of us ENJOY in life is close relationships with family and friends. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to take the time and make the effort to really ENJOY our time with these people who nurture, sustain, challenge, and inspire us, so we in turn can nurture, sustain, challenge and inspire others. Here are 5 actions we can take for that purpose:
E — Eat together. Maybe it’s a $5 pizza, or a feast that took days to prepare, or a piece of fresh bread torn from the loaf and shared, or ripe peaches picked from the tree and given to outstretched hands. A pleasant time shared with food nourishes both our bodies and our emotional well-being. Seek to connect often with those you care about and who care about you to ENJOY this. Vary the way you do this to add to the enjoyment, a picnic in your backyard, or in a beautiful spot, a barbecue on the beach, a lunch gathered at a farmers’ market, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shared with a child while the two of you sit on the back step, fresh-cooked tortillas, hot off the cast-iron griddle, handed out to the family members. I’ll bet we could think of a thousand interesting ways to do this.
N — Not money or possessions, but connections with friends and family are what count! ENJOY these moments, however brief, however varied. In fact, many brief connections over a period of time may be far more enjoyable than long, formal visits. Take them when you can, planned or not. Be spontaneous. Then relax and be involved with them while you are there. Call up a friend. Go see a relative you haven’t seen in a long time. Sometimes the most satisfying connections are unplanned. Who haven’t you connected with in a long time? Call them today. Just to say “Hi.”
J — Joy and contentment are what we feel when we are with those we care about. Make sure to let those people know, with your smile, your attention, and your actions how the connections with them make you feel, so they clearly understand you ENJOY being with them. We may think they know, but they may not, unless we work to make it clear. Children are constantly trying to read your mood and meaning. Show them with your expression and your body language that the time you spend with them gives you joy. Make it real. They’ll know.
O — Other activities in our day occupy us. Take time to sit down on the floor with a child who wants to show you something she has made. Stop and talk for a minute with a neighbor passing by your front yard, turn and smile at your spouse when she is telling you about her day. Listen to your friend when she calls. Train yourself to take time to ENJOY the people in your life.
Y — You can make your life happier if you seek to find enjoyment where you are. There are many things to enjoy in every day. Maybe it is only a glimpse of a lovely sunset, or a laugh shared with a friend, or a hug from a child, or a loving look and smile shared with your love. Maybe you’ve had to be pleasant in your work all day. Don’t forget, when you are home with your family, or together with friends to really pay attention and enjoy the connections and share with them. Obviously you aren’t going to be doing this all the time, and there are people who are living in terrible circumstances. But, most of us have the power to make our lives better, if we consciously find enjoyment every day. Think what a positive influence that is for children, to see the people in their lives doing this.
This is your life. This place. This minute. Find the joy in it. Quick! Write down something you ENJOY!