Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Evelyn Rennich of Smallish Blog.
How much delight do you experience in life? Do you feel real, soul-quivering delight on a daily basis? If the answer is “no,” it is possible that your delight is buried under stress and stuff.
After a busy time of year, we are tired of comparing Instagram lives, tired of working our tails off only to see someone do the job better, tired of the more-more-more rat race. The rat race is really a gerbil-wheel trap of consumption (a joyless void). Chasing after things or a bigger house or a promotion often leaves us feeling tired, angry, sad, lonely, and ultimately delight-less.
On the other hand, living intentionally—minimally, simply, slowly—can increase white space in your life. This white space provides opportunity for delight to bloom.
Consider delight for a moment. It means “to please greatly, to take great pleasure in, to revel, to captivate.” Don’t we all want to be able to say we take great pleasure in life? That we are capable of reveling in even the smallest of blessings?
Regardless of your external circumstance, it is possible to cultivate appreciating pleasure in your everyday life.
Here are four ways you can take specific action to invite delight:
1. More Slow.
It’s difficult to take great pleasure in anything when you’re constantly on the move or even mentally switching gears. Rushing from one thing to another might feel important but it only serves to increase stress. Find ways to slow down.
Create “stops” throughout the day, even if they are as small as drinking a cup of water and staring out a window for three minutes. Allow yourself moments to merely breathe. Say a prayer. Center. Enjoy sunlight on your face. Slow. Build in beautiful white space which allows the mind to fully process. Everyday delight can be a habit as you slow down and appreciate life on a detail level.
2. More Simple.
“Simple” here means to have your life priorities in line. Life can be wildly complex and yet remain glaringly simple if your priorities are set and you stick to them. Set your priorities for your own convictions, and you might be amazed at how straightforward decisions become. Life priorities come in all shapes and sizes: Serve God. Love people. Respect boundaries. Stay healthy. Commit to exercise. Parent with grace. Enjoy work.
Whatever is most important to making your soul come alive. Once you create a net of priorities it becomes a sieve through which to filter opportunities. Screen incoming commitments or opportunities through your priority net and say “no” to things which don’t clearly support goals which are close to your heart. As you gain momentum in investing in your life priorities, room for delight will emerge.
3. More Gratitude.
Giving thanks isn’t just for November. Recent studies unequivocally link happiness with gratitude.
It turns out that counting your blessings truly changes your outlook. I’ve seen the power of thankfulness in my own life. When I am intentional about giving thanks for every good thing, however seemingly inconsequential, my joy flourishes and I see goodness all around me. This habit is most helpful on the hard days, when joy seems difficult to uncover. Being grateful on purpose is one of the most powerful ways to see delight surface in life.
4. Less Stuff.
Ability to delight often gets buried in excess stuff. When we open a closet full of things, instead of feeing thankful that we have what we need, we feel stressed because we see a need to organize. How tragic! Owning fewer material items actually makes it easier to be thankful for what we have. When we have less stuff, we somehow appreciate the stuff we do have more.
Owning less stuff causes us to be intentional about what we bring into our homes. Consequently, we have more room in our homes. It seems backwards but it’s true: less stuff definitely equals the ability for more delight in life.
We all crave more delight in our lives. Breathtaking pleasure in the ordinary is possible, but it is easily abandoned as our lives speed up, priorities get out of whack and piles of stuff accumulate. Invite more delight this year. Intentionally slow down. Evaluate your priorities and make sure your commitments reflect your goals. Be thankful on purpose. Get rid of a whole lot of stuff and discover how easy it is to be grateful for less.
After taking a few steps toward less, you’ll find you might be smiling.