Have you ever been at a point so low in your life that you actually started doubting yourself or your faith? Have you ever felt like the world was against you- maybe you can’t find a job, your pockets are empty, your relationships are failing, you’re not getting anywhere with a diet, all your peers are moving on up in life while you’re stuck in a rut, or something similar? You know, where it seems like nothing is working out or you want something so badly but there just isn’t an opportunity for you to get it? I know I have. I’ve been at a point so low that even though I knew there was fun to be had, that things would eventually get better, that I was loved, that if I just believed and had faith my time would come, etc… I just didn’t feel it, and I let it affect EVERYTHING in my life. My joylessness first affected my way of thinking, then my actions, then my effect on others, and thusly, my effect on the world.
I eventually noticed that the only time I felt truly joyful was when I felt passionate about life. I finally realized that I needed to always pursue that passion in order to feel fulfilled. I haven’t yet mastered the skill, but I have learned a few things along the way that I would like to share with you. Whether you’re at a plateau in life, stuck in a rut, or at rock bottom, these practices can help get you back on the right track.
The first and most important thing I learned was this: PRACTICE GRATITUDE.
Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful when we feel that we don’t have anything that we want; but the trick to being grateful is not having what you want; it’s about wanting what you’ve got. Even if you have to write it down, counting your blessings is a very powerful device. You’ve got to come to terms with the gifts you’ve been given, be it a talent, a loving family, a place to stay, an opportunity to serve others or make a difference, your children, a piece of land, an intelligent mind, a supportive community, an amazing spouse or even just the clothes on your back. Only then can you start cultivating the life you want. It’s so much easier to use and enjoy the gifts you’ve been given once you love and appreciate them! Everyone has SOMETHING to be grateful for. Once you start practicing gratitude daily, you’ll start living in the now and learning the true meaning of patience, and I guarantee you’ll be a happier person.
Our bodies are almost entirely comprised of water molecules. That old “water is life” saying couldn’t be more accurate. Want to feel better, look better, heal better, physically, mentally, emotionally? Start by drinking more water. It’s a simple change that anyone can manage.
GET A JUICER.
Juicing. It sounds daunting and gross, but in reality, it’s fun, easy, and can be AMAZINGLY delicious! Even the poor-ish, like myself, can afford to get a juicer once they have a small, steady income. My guess is that if you’re on this website right now and you aren’t at school or the library that you walked to, you probably have enough money or will in the near future. It may be a rinky-dink, prototype-esque one, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. And since all you can do is improve your life from this point on, you know that one day you could invest in a better one if you wanted to. 🙂 I got mine, a Black & Decker, for $39.98 at H-E-B… you can order a simple, generic brand one online for the same price. While it may not be the best juicer in the world, it gets the job done. Fresh fruit and vegetable juicing is SO good for you in every way possible! It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s beyond healthy, and it has actually turned people’s lives around… don’t believe me? Check out Joe Cross’ self-documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead… (it’s on Netflix if you have that) and his website for tons of info and help throughout your juicing journey- he even has meal plans & grocery lists to help those of us who are easily inspired but get easily overwhelmed! You don’t have to go on a 60 day juice fast like he did to improve your health, though- even just incorporating a juice or two a day can be very beneficial. And for those of you that don’t care for the idea of drinking vegetables, you can always make the juices that you would normally buy in a carton. That stuff in the carton isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway- it’s not as natural as you think! There’s also this awesome guy named Dan “Life Regenerator” McDonald, who has all kinds of information available on the benefits of juicing, including hundreds of YouTube videos just packed with inspiration and ideas. Check out his YouTube channel and his website for more information.
^Two people from our day and age that inspire me deeply: Left: Bethany Hamilton; Right: Nick Vujicic^
And I mean on a daily basis. Take time to read about someone who has done something you want to do, or try to apply your fortune cookie wisdom to your entire day. Look at a picture of somewhere you would love to go someday, or read an inspiring verse. When you feel inspired, you will feel much more motivated to go out and achieve greatness. It might just be that extra little nudge that you need to start climbing out of the hole you’re in. I know it was for me.
In order to forgive, one must first come to terms with reality. How can you forgive yourself for a mistake you don’t believe you made? How can you forgive someone else if you still haven’t accepted that they are capable of making mistakes? Once you have faced reality, allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are naturally bubbling up out of you, then let them go. Forgiveness is hard to involve logic in, because forgiveness is an act of love, be it for yourself or for another. Don’t think in terms of whether or not the person you are trying to forgive deserves another chance… think in terms of how holding this grudge is keeping you from being free to move on in life. When you forgive someone else, you are actually freeing yourself- it is an act of self-love. And that is important, because you can’t give away something you don’t have, especially when your energy is depleted. Loving yourself is not selfish; it’s actually selfless when you intend to share yourself- your talents, your vision, your heart- with the world. It’s a universal law- the more you give, the more you change the world, and the more you receive, (so that you can give some more). 🙂 That’s what service is all about. Forgiving yourself or someone else is one of the first steps to freedom.
GET OFF THE COUCH, YOU POTATO. 😉
Get out there and move- do something! Also, just getting outside is beneficial- getting a little sun will boost your mood and your health! Exercise is free, healthy, and gratifying. Even when you are so stuck in a rut that there is literally nothing you can accomplish, you can always exercise. Even inmates exercise. You don’t have to go run a marathon, although that’s a great way to exercise for a cause; heck, most of the time, I just go do whatever I feel. When I go visit my mom at work, there’s an elevator, and there’s a staircase. I usually run up the stairs. When I go to the store, I try to park far from the entrance, so I have a farther distance to walk while using the groceries as weights. Sometimes I do squats while I brush my teeth. When I feel like dancing, which is quite often, I just bust a move. One of my all time favorite times to do this is when I’m at a stoplight. It is actually a rule I created for all who enter my Oldsmobile; if you are in my car, and we are stopped at a stoplight, I turn up the jam, and you have to dance in your seat. It’s ridiculously fun, not to mention hilarious for passers-by. (It also makes the wait for that light to turn green go by so much faster). Seriously! It’s that easy to get moving. And no, I don’t give a second thought to what I look like doing any of that (: It usually makes people smile anyway 😉
MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES.
Start small. Like I mentioned in the previous tip, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Drink herbal tea with honey or stevia instead of sweet tea. Eat a lil bag of grapes and baby carrots instead of cheetos (one of my prior weaknesses). Eat real dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate. Take a walk instead of watching a rerun. Go to bed a little earlier, allowing yourself to wind down without staring technology in the face. Try to transform negative thoughts into positive ones. (A couple of things I successfully did: I changed the thought ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ and anytime I got road rage instead of screaming “EFF YOU!!” at the drivers around me I comically screamed “GOD BLESS YOU!!” or imagined a beam of light and love energy bouncing from car to car and each time I envisioned the beam hitting a car I would say “I hope you, and you, and you have a wonderful day, get to where you’re going on time, get through whatever struggle you’re facing, etc.”). Set a time limit on how long you’re going to watch t.v. tonight. Drink a bottle of water when you wake up before anything else. It’s easy to make small, realistic changes. Eventually these small changes will lead you to a quantum leap, and you won’t even know how you got to where you are.
While we love owls and the symbol they embody here at The Hoot Root, we don’t suggest becoming nocturnal. Get some rest, man! Sleep deprivation could be a huge source of your irritability, frustration, and energy problem if you’re stuck in a rut with your health, home life, or job satisfaction. While you may not be living your dream life just yet, it’s hard to practice gratitude for what you do have when your fatigue rules your life. It’s a very primal need, that sleep business; and your body isn’t going to be able to heal or improve if you aren’t providing it with the bare necessities! Aim to get 6-9 hours of sleep a night- everybody’s different. If you need help getting into a normal sleep routine, (or resetting your circadian rhythm), try taking some melatonin before bed the first couple of nights- and don’t forget to relax and wind down for at least half an hour before you go to bed. It’s a great way to get in a more relaxed state, which will help you get the most rejuvenation out of your sleep.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
Changing my perspective, I think, was the biggest life-changer for me. I learned that everything that happens- the good, the bad, and the seemingly insignificant- is for my highest good. The good lifts you up and energizes you, while the bad refines you, and the “insignificant”? Reacting to the seemingly insignificant things that happen in your life is your time to practice what you’ve learned, and it shows your true character- it’s like a self-assessment. Realizing that I had the power to choose how I let things affect me definitely took me to the next level on my journey. You don’t have to be offended by that comment. You don’t have to feel like someone doesn’t love you just because they didn’t reply to your text in a timely manner. You don’t have to get in a tizzy because the waitress is taking too long. You don’t have to go on that guilt trip. Realize that everything happens for a reason. Learn to let go of the things that won’t matter in a day, a week, or a year.
WHIP OUT THOSE PEARLY WHITES. (:
^Yes, that’s Jim Carrey. I chose him to represent this topic because he’s one of my all time favorite people, as we share the same ridiculously silly sense of humor. He definitely knows how to make people smile, especially me. So the next time you need help cracking up, just watch Liar Liar or one of his other fantastic films… allllll-RIGHTY THEN!^
Smiling is not always easy- but just fake one in the mirror at yourself. Who knows, in a few minutes you might find yourself laughing. Smiling and laughing are both fun and healthy… they’re also contagious. So do it more often. The world needs more joy! Until you’ve experienced what it’s like to make someone else smile or laugh, you haven’t truly lived!
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY.
You may not have the best job in the world. Heck, you could be the trash man. But by the beard of Zeus, you’re the best freaking trash man there is. Why? Because you go above and beyond the call of duty. You know that there’s no way you’re getting a free ride out of this situation, so you’re going to make the most of it. You realize that you may one day be blessed with a better opportunity; but in the meantime, you appreciate the part you get to play in the bigger picture, you realize your significance. There’s a verse in the Bible I like to live by- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23… man, there are days when I just want to do the shittiest job possible at work to spite my ungrateful superiors… (that’s how our ego creeps in and takes over our lives; sneaky-sneaky)… but when I realize my significance in the bigger picture, when I work as though God is the big boss here, it gives me a supernatural energy and fervor that, in the end, gives me personal satisfaction and works out to be better for everyone. And it completely transforms my energy of pure hatred to an energy of love, and I am much more easily able to forgive my “human masters” and serve in a loving manner 😉
So, there you have it! Eleven things you can do, TODAY, to change your life for the better. Have any questions or comments? Leave some feedback, friend! YOU are the one I’m here to help in any way I can, any hour, day or night. (: