Commonly this jovial magic wanes the older we get. Studies have shown that 80% of all 3 year olds are creative, but by the age of 12 this has declined to a heart breaking 20%. What happens to these children? Well, my attention cautiously turns to the generations that are leading by example. I’m not sure if this is you, but most people I know wake up, go to work, eat and sleep. They repeat this process over and over and seem to be caught in the fishing net of life. You see, you now have responsibilities, and these have dictated that you can’t just go out into the world to explore and create. Who will pay the bills?
Well I can relate to a certain degree to that. I can’t just up and leave my life in the hope that my rent will be paid and my hunger satisfied by well meaning neighbors. But one thing I do do (hahahaha, I said do do) is keep a certain level of wonder in my life.
Here are 6 things I do regularly to keep the magic alive and make life a new and exciting discovery:
Take Up Yoga
Or anything new for that matter. Anything that challenges you to discover your body in a new way. Because I’ve done yoga for so long I recently decided to take up CrossFit. This was a massive step outside of my comfort zone as I had to learn how to do things I’ve never done like use weights, run, and do pull ups. I found everything challenging, but in the process I learned about my body and made new friends. The most exciting part was seeing improvements in my body week after week, not just in my CrossFit training but my yoga too.
Try New Foods
Finding new things to add to a healthy diet, or new recipes to impress your friends with are both brilliant ways to keep your mind active and excited. When you find something you really like share it with the people you love you begin to activate a part of your brain that is always on the look out for new things to enjoy. Food is miraculous because the variety is endless. Whenever I’m in a new country I go to the markets in search of fruits I’ve never seen before to try out. It’s amazing how many new varieties of foods I’ve come to discover this way. My favorite was discovering Dragon Fruit in Cambodia. If you haven’t tried it before I really recommend it.
If you have trouble trying new foods buy a scented candle. Smells are important too.
Talk To Someone You Don’t Know
In survey's done on happiness, surprisingly people rated meeting new people as a factor that keeps their happiness levels topped up. I found this somewhat surprising. I live in a city, and in general I find people avoid each other. But the more I pondered this the more I began to see patterns. The people I know that are extremely happy and fun were much more willing to step outside of the their comfort zone and talk to people they didn’t know. Whereas the boring, depressing people stuck to their little cliques and never made an effort with anyone they didn’t know. I also realized (talking separately to these two groups) that the happier people are, the more they want to know about the people they are talking to. They ask lots of questions and ultimately end up finding common ground quickly which they can build on. The unhappy bunch waited for other people to ask them questions and would usually respond with one word answers.
Visit New Places
Visiting new places lends itself to so many new discoveries. In addition to being forced to try new things and speak to new people, it makes you see the world around you. In a monotonous life our eyes tend to be glued to phones, iPads, computers, books, and television. No wonder so many people need glasses to see. When you visit new places the eyes have to take in lots of new images, and visiting nature can be especially incredible for the soul.
This one is easy, and it’s a bit like a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to spot things. The trick to gratitude is to start realising how lucky you are for the things that are “invisible”. For example, when I was reading the the book, The Kite Runner, I was struck by how the author described Afghanistan before the Taliban took over. He speaks about how people were just going about their business - children going to school, people buying groceries and their parents going to work. It dawned on me that the thing I am extremely grateful for is that when going to bed at night I have no fear that someone will burst in my front door and threaten my life. Similarly when I walk through the park and I notice all the little families and groups of friends peacefully spending time together, none of us have our basic security needs threatened. This is something that was largely invisible to me, but now I feel grateful for it all the time.
Meditate with Mindfulness
All of these suggestions are even more powerful at making your life a discovery when you are fully present in the moment, when you can absorb every second with all of your senses without the past and future coming in to ruin the magic. You can learn this skill easily by doing a short sitting meditation where you do nothing but follow your breath. You might notice your mind goes off. That’s ok and that’s natural. Just keep reminding yourself to go back to your breath. Even just doing this for a few minutes a day works wonders for the mind. Meditation has also been proven to make you a more happy and balanced individual. So it makes sense to add it into your routine.
By Celest Pereira
Celest is a trained dancer and martial artist with a BS in Physiotherapy and over 10 years yoga practice. Celest completed her Yoga Teacher Training in India in 2009 and has been teaching full time since then. Witnessing her classes really begin to buzz with increasing numbers of regular students she founded CITYOGI, a website aimed to make yoga more accessible to the city professional. Celest's greatest passion is to teach Vinyasa Flow Yoga. She has classes in top yoga centers in London, such as Triyoga and Evolve and regularly takes groups to exotic locations for yoga retreats.
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