4 Ways to Rediscover the Joy and Wonder of Life

Written by Chloe Harwood

Life is a beautiful thing, and there’s an unlimited number of things to enjoy and take pleasure in as we make our way through the world. Unfortunately, however, even the most optimistic of us can be prone to bouts of melancholy and apathy and find that we’ve become jaded to the wonders of life.

Here are a few straightforward tips to reversing this harmful state of being, and rediscovering our appreciation of the world once more.

Continuously educate yourself on the nuances of things

Although we make our way through the world and clump things into broad and straightforward categories, such as “food”, “music”, “cars”, and so on, having a deeper understanding of the nuances of things allows us to open up our consideration and appreciation of them whenever we want.

One of the best ways of deepening our appreciation of the world is to continuously seek to expand our education on as many subjects as possible.

Do you know the difference between Toyota forklifts, new forklifts, used forklifts, and how to judge the mechanical soundness of a forklift? If you don’t, the question likely seems ridiculous, yet there are people in the world who specialise in such matters and who can become genuinely passionate and interested in forklifts.

The same principle applies to anything else. With a trained eye, you start to notice the tell-tale architectural features in old buildings, or the artistic movements which inspired certain paintings.

Focus on learning more about subjects you already find interesting, and let the quest for knowledge expand outward from there.

Step back from your expectations and enjoy the journey

A sense of dissatisfaction and apathy in life is often inspired by the feeling that circumstances are unfolding in a way that’s different to our expectations — specifically, that things aren’t turning out the way we want.

While we should, of course, have goals for the future and work towards them, one of the best practices we can adopt for the sake of our well being and appreciation of life, is to detach ourselves from the outcomes of things and to focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comics, has referred to this as “system-oriented thinking”, as opposed to “goal-oriented thinking”. The idea here is that we act in a way, day-to-day, which is most likely to bring our desired state of affairs into being, but that we find fulfilment from the process rather than the ends, and stay open to unexpected opportunity.

One of the best ways of accustoming ourselves to this mentality is to take up a mindfulness meditation practice which gets us used to detaching from our thoughts and returning our attention to the present moment.

Get your health in order (as much as possible)

Positive mental shifts are brilliant, but at times they just don’t seem to have the desired effect. When this happens, the reason is often that our low mood or apathy is rooted to a lesser or greater degree in some physical health issue we’re experiencing.

When hormones and neurotransmitters fall out of balance, such as when we’re chronically sleep-deprived, malnourished, or socially isolated, for example, trying to maintain a positive mental attitude can seem like a Herculean task, as we’re actively fighting our bodies to try and regain equilibrium.

There are various things that can be done to help address these underlying physical imbalances. A few of the more frequently recommended tips include the following:

– Go for a brisk walk daily — walking is a form of low-intensity cardio which has an array of health benefits, including boosting our endorphins, regulating our hormones, and reducing chronic inflammation in the body. Walking also exposes us to the outside world and takes us out of our own mental bubble for a time. We encounter other people; we see trees and buildings, and, if the weather’s good, we get exposed to some sunshine which boosts our often chronically low vitamin D levels.

– Take adaptogenic herbs — adaptogens are varieties of plants named for their ability to help the body adapt to stress. There are many benefits to supplementing with these herbs, including the fact that they help to regulate our stress hormone production and restore our bodies to a state of equilibrium.

– Eat whole foods, and eat every few hours — apathy and melancholy are often tied to blood sugar regulation issues. There are certainly many demonstrated health benefits to occasional fasting, but if you find yourself in a mental rut, you should treat such practices as occasional exercises rather than constant, ongoing dietary strategies. To maintain balanced blood sugar levels, eat whole, natural foods, eliminate simple sugars from your diet, and have a meal every few hours.

– Get more sleep — sleep deprivation is a major cause of hormonal imbalances and related health conditions. Getting more sleep is one of the best health practices you can take up if you find yourself feeling jaded.

Get out and socialise more

Human beings are social creatures, and even the most introverted person will find their mental health suffering if they remain in isolation for too long.

Deliberately squeezing more social encounters into your day-to-day life is one of the best and most reliable ways of boosting your mood, energy, and enthusiasm for life in the long term.

Joining clubs, classes, or attending events are all good ways to begin interacting with people more often. Opportunities to meet up with friends should always be seized on whenever possible, even if you’re feeling lazy and would rather stay home and watch TV.

It’s not necessary for you to be a social butterfly, or the life of the party, to benefit from socialising more often. Even if you consider yourself shy and awkward, your social skills are bound to improve the more you interact with other people on a regular basis.

About the author

Chloe Harwood