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2023 Jul

A New Outlook

Here’s how to feel more joy.

When was the last time you daydreamed? Just stared out the window at nothing and let your mind roam? It’s one of my favorite things to do. Often after a really busy day, I sit outside and watch the dragonflies and birds flit by. I see the wind caressing the leaves on the trees and maybe hear a woodpecker in the distance. I find that spending a few minutes tuning in to nature can be so restorative.

Many of us feel overwhelmed as we try to keep up with the duties of life. The reality is we can never keep up. Every minute, it seems, something new plops down in our laps that we have to deal with. How do we maintain a sense of joy and fulfillment when it seems the world is conspiring to make us crazy?

That’s where daydreaming comes in. Letting our minds drift off wherever they want to go is an antidote to information overload. Leaving behind our regimented, data-driven lifestyles for a few moments allows us to get in touch with the other aspects of life, the ones that make it worth living.

Like our senses. Try to be still and notice the sounds and smells and textures around you. Once a wise woman told me to go outside, close my eyes, and really listen to all the sounds I hear. Isolate the different noises and figure out what direction they are coming from, she told me. It’s amazing what you hear if you stop and listen.

Kids are the best teachers when it comes to being in the moment. Follow their examples. Stop and watch a butterfly or pick up a leaf and stare at it in wonder. Eat an ice cream cone slowly so you savor every bite. Who cares if it melts all over your hands?

If you haven’t taken a day off in a while, now’s the time. Call it a mental health day and do something fun you’ve been itching to do. Maybe it’s spending a day in your garden or taking a painting class. Simple out-of-the-ordinary activities like these will help you feel more joy in your life, even if you know that the to-do list will be waiting when you return.

In fact, you might find that time spent seeking fulfillment energizes you, enabling you to easily knock out a few items on your to-do list. The key is to pay attention to your needs and let the rest of the world take care of itself for a while. Then when you’re refreshed and energized, pick up where you left off. You may discover a new outlook on life. And it all started with a little daydreaming!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.


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