Everyday life can wear you down. This can be even more difficult if you are already dealing with chronic pain from conditions like Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Diabetes Type 2, or others. Going to work, caring for your kids, cooking dinner every night, doing the laundry, going to the grocery store, and all of the other tasks that fill up our daily lives, not to mention handling your condition, can leave you completely wiped out.
You are probably trying your hardest to manage your condition—doing things like meditating, exercising, taking supplements, different types of therapy, proper food prep, and more—but it can be really hard to continue to do these things on top of your normal daily life. You may have even started feeling like you are stuck in a rut you can’t get out of.
Between all of these different factors, it may seem like you’re not actually living and enjoying your life, but instead like you are simply existing. But, what is the difference between living and existing?
The Difference Between Living and Existing
Existing is only doing what is necessary to stay alive or continue to be. This is what happens when you get into a routine and simply “go through the motions” of your life without actually being excited about anything.
This often happens if you are managing chronic conditions or have injuries that prevent you from doing some of the things you love. So, when the ability is taken away from you to do those things you love, it compounds other issues and makes everything you do more difficult. You start to just continue on, going through the motions in their lives—existing.
Living, on the other hand, is when you have an influence on experiencing fun, enjoyment, and happiness day-to-day. You are able to have fun, do the things you want to do, and feel a sense of freedom, fulfillment, and happiness. It’s important to note that when you’re living, there are still things that go wrong, difficult situations, and stressors, but those who are living their lives are better at dealing with them and maintaining their joy.
While difficult times come up in everyone’s lives, a big part of living is preventing as many negative things from happening as you can. While many aspects of our lives are out of our control, there are a few things we can actively do in order to put ourselves in the best situation and avoid potential downfalls.
So, how do you stop simply existing and start actually living? Here are 2 easy steps:
Step 1: Do Something Fun
The first step you can take to stop existing and start living is pretty simple: do something fun. Now, that may actually be harder than it sounds, since managing your chronic condition might make it hard to enjoy even your favorite things. But, if you make an extra effort to do something fun, it will help to reignite your joy for life.
This can be as simple as going to see a movie, eating at your favorite restaurant, or catching up with an old friend. Whatever it is that brings you joy, make a special effort to do it and treat yourself to a good time. Do something that reminds you how good it feels to be alive and enjoy things.
It’s even better if that something brings humor into your life, like going to see a comedian, viewing comical videos, or watching a favorite funny movie. As the old adage goes: “Laughter is the best medicine.” But, there’s actually a lot of truth to the saying. Laughter helps you manage your stress by releasing endorphins that make you feel better and enjoy things more. It also provides many other benefits for your mind and body.
Whether you’re joking with a friend, watching a beloved sitcom, or out at an open mic night, get out there and do something fun! This first step will set you off on your journey to stop merely existing and to start living again.
Step 2: Calm Your Mind and Move Your Body
The second step you can take to start living and stop existing is to learn to calm your mind. Our days are always jam-packed with responsibilities like work and school, to the point where we often don’t have the opportunity to simply sit and be for a moment. Many times, simply stopping and taking a break gives our bodies a second to breathe and not have to worry about anything. This can help provide us with some perspective and shift our point of view. By doing this, we can then make clear decisions and create a plan for how we can accomplish the things that we want to and enjoy our lives.
Make a point to sit down by yourself for a few minutes every day with no distractions. You can choose to meditate, do yoga, journal, or whatever you’d like, but be sure to schedule in time to calm your mind every single day. Close your eyes. Focus your breathing. Relax. Even a minute of calm can have an amazing impact on your outlook and how you go about your day. If you are dealing with chronic pain, calming your mind can also give you some clarity for what you can do in your situation and how you can improve it..
Then, after learning to calm your mind, the next step you can take to start living is to move your body. There are many benefits to movement, but one of the main ones is that movement has a direct correlation to happiness. Even getting moving for a few minutes a day can have a significant impact on your well-being and happiness. That’s why adding some movement to your day is a great step toward being in control and enjoying your life more.
It can be hard to implement changes to your daily life, so make the goals super easy for yourself, like walking 5 minutes a day or climbing the stairs in your house a few times. Even housework counts or playing with little ones, furry or otherwise. When you make a goal and hit it, it also makes you feel good about yourself because you were successful. This not only helps your physical body, but it improves your mood and overall outlook as well. Just like calming your mind, it’s important to make sure movement is a consistent part of your day.
Make small successful attempts to get yourself out there and do something fun, then learn to calm your mind and move your body each day, you will start to enjoy living as opposed to existing. It won’t make every day perfect but it might create some really perfectly incredible days.
At Life Energy Foundation (LEF), we want to help you start living, and not just existing. We can assist you on your journey by providing you with a free half-hour consultation to help you get started. We have over 25 years of experience transforming lives and, when you are ready, we are here to help you transform yours as well. Take the first step today with our free 30 Days to Better program, which includes exercises, meditation, and other tools!