Zest for life, is enthusiasm, something that may pump you up and makes you feel excited about life. I had a student share with me that she wanted to have greater zest for life and it inspired this post.
(this post will be updated for this fall with website updates)
Zest for life, in a way, occurs concurrently with focus. When we’re excited, it elicits focus from us. In our focus, we’re putting all our internal and external resources to this thing, and it calls us forward. The focus calls our energy forward. That energy, that desire, creates momentum and usually, this momentum feels good.
Off the top of my head are a few ideas. Zest for life does not mean we do not experience sadness or fear.
1) Honor your dreams and aspirations
I think it’s important to not write off our big dreams and desires as “silly” or “childish” or worst, “as impossible”. Consider that your dreams are little pointers and keys to your highest excitement and living your best life. Consider that your dreams are pointers to something deeper, about yourself.
If you did not have to think about practicalities, what would you love to do right now? It doesn’t need to be life changing, maybe it’s a walk outside, or taking the time to make a hearty meal.
2) Cultivate a daily practice, such as mindfulness or my favorite, chi gong
This daily practice, regularly helps train us to turn our attention inward. When we turn inward, our ‘truth’ sometimes stares right back at us because we are no longer drowning out our little internal voice with television, junk food, noise, or busy activities.
Cultivate a regular practice of turning inward, sometimes in the morning, is the easiest way as our mind is still pretty neutral from a night of sleep. At the end of the day, we sometimes have to clear our the junk or stress from the day.
3) Developing the mindset of deserving-ness and trust
We have choices in what we believe. I like to believe that there are universal forces (or Life, or God, which ever term works best for your belief system- universal forces and Life are just more neutral terms) that want you to live a good life, that are supporting you, and that want you be joyful. And that want your dreams to come true (assuming they do not hurt anyone).
4) Cultivate a recognition of your inspiration
When you feel inspired to do something, make action on it. How do you know it’s an inspiration? You’ll know because it feels good, it makes you smile, it makes you feel excited.
When I mean it feels good to think about, I mean it could mean it feels like any an emotion on the positive end: hopefulness, curiosity, enthusiasm, passion, peacefulness, kindness, forgiveness, acceptance, or joyful.
Maybe you feel this inspiration of make vegan food for dinner all of a sudden. Instead of writing it off as “silly” or “troublesome”, try making that trip out of the store to get your vegan ingredients. Funny thing is, on the way to the store, you may end up bumping into a really old friend and then this friend happens to offer a solution to something you’ve been wanting.
I’ve had these kinds of experiences: I’m following my inspiration, without expectation, and a beautiful occurrence happens along the way..
So cultivate an awareness of your inspiration, how that feels like so you can recognize it next time it comes up. That inspiration is sometimes just the stepping stone to get you off the couch!
5) Read or listen to material that uplifts and inspires you
When you’re feeling down from bad news at work, or a fight with someone, do not go and watch a violent movie where you see people slaughter one another. At this point, when you are actually in most need of nurturance and kindness, do yourself a favor, eat something nourishing and listen or read something that will uplift and inspire you again.
In our society, sometimes, we are taught to ignore our feelings, yet more and more people are waking up to the idea that there is more to life than living a life that doesn’t give you joy. Having more zest in life, is a muscle you use, and you cultivate this zest from the inside out.