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Finding Joy in Every Day Life

As we age, there is a definite sameness that begins to take over life.  Same routine, same feelings, same people coming around each day.  Once we've made the transition into an assisted living facility, that sameness can continue & even become crushing, if we allow it.  It does not have to.  Even if our life & routine are very similar from day to day, there are ways to look at that life with a new perspective.

Consider thankfulness.  When you are faced with the mundane, and wonder why you should even bother to get out of bed to face it, consider starting to be thankful for the things that ARE mundane.  The bed, for one, & that you have one.  Perhaps the roof kept you dry last night, there's two.  The heater is working, that's three.  You can breathe, four.  Go through the little things that surround you before you even sit up & soon you will find yourself thankful to be able to sit up & then stand.  It's not guaranteed that you'll be able to do those things for your entire life, so while you can, be thankful & when you can't, find other things to be thankful for.  It really does put a whole new spin on your outlook & on your day.  Our lives are, after all, made up of many consecutive, seemingly mundane days.

Show that you care.  I know, it's not popular in some households & frowned upon by people from some backgrounds, but it's important.  If you can spend even 15 minutes out of every day intentionally letting those around you know that you care for them, in word or deed, it will improve your life, bring you joy & bring joy to them. If you have 10 more minutes, drop letters to those who are further away from you.  If you have 30 extra minutes, call someone you care about.  The sense of connectedness is important to all of us.

Make a few lists.  In the back of my journal I have lists of my favorite sounds, smells, sights, etc.  Spend some time thinking about the things that you really love.  Then, when your day is especially difficult, try your best to incorporate some of those things into your day.  If you love walking in the woods, but never get a chance to do that, make it a point to do that when you're feeling down.  If you love reading, but haven't been able to make time to do it, eek out some time to spend with a good book.  You're a uniquely made person, and as such, you need to pay attention to the things that bring you joy.  They won't necessarily coincide with the things that bring joy to others & that's okay.  It's good to be different & it's good to pay attention to what makes you different.  Feed what brings you joy, starve what brings you anxiety.

  Turn your words.  Sometimes when life is incredibly difficult, negativity can set in.  It's not bad to say things are tough...it is bad when that is the only lens we see things through.  It is bad when it becomes such a habit that we find only negative words coming from our mouths.  Our words can influence our own thoughts & the thoughts of those around us.  Instead of dwelling on the fact that you can't afford XYZ, talk about all the great things in life that are free to you.  Instead of focusing on your waning eyesight, talk about the smell of the rose bush outside your window.  Life is hard, there is no denying it.  How we interact with it can determine whether it has any joy, or whether we'll just endure it.  I choose joy!

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