Many of the foods in the grocery store are fortified, which means that extra nutrients have been added so that they’re healthier for you and may help prevent dietary deficiencies. Generally, you don’t need fortified foods if your diet has a lot of variety and a solid base of vegetables. But, since that excludes most of the modern population, food fortification is commonplace.
Just as many of us forget the bounty of the garden in our meals, most of us don’t approach our daily tasks with a whole mind. We tend to regard our goals as purely personal, especially if we’re career-oriented or have a focus on self-improvement. So we are generally caught up in egos and “small mind” as we work our way through our lists. This is a problem because we’re effectively unconscious as we go about our day, ending each night with quiet dissatisfaction and the unhappy desire to accomplish more, faster. It’s just like a dietary deficiency that drives you to eat more even if the “more” won’t fill the physical void.
The answer to dissatisfied days is the same as it is for deficient diets – until you get back to a wholesome way of living, you need fortified activities. Your body is satisfied when you eat less, if you eat the right stuff. Just so, your mind is satisfied when you do less, if you do it the right way.
Here are 3 activity “nutrients” many people are missing from their daily tasks. Take some time to consider whether or not they’re present in your life. If they’re not, it’s time to fortify your activities.
The word “mindfulness” has become muddied through trendiness, but don’t let that dissuade you. All we’re really talking about is having full awareness during your activities.
Mindful walking is a common way to get into this. When you’re walking, pay attention to your breath, your body, and your environment. See how your mind and emotions respond to the sensory inputs. Be aware of the sun shining, the breeze and the smell of the grass. Simply being fully aware leads naturally to gratitude, appreciation and joyful living.
The same environmental and inner awareness can be brought into your work, your home maintenance, your shopping, and everything else you do. There’s beauty all around us if we make a conscious effort to let go of the goal. Focus on just now and wholly engage in what you’re doing – you’ll do it better, and you’ll also rediscover the wonderful world you’ve been given.
If you’re a parent, take every single opportunity you can to include your children in your activities. The other day, my son was delighted to pull weeds with me – there were a ton of interesting bugs, of course, but mostly he enjoyed it because he hadn’t done it much. Along the way to getting the yard free of weeds, opportunity arose to practice focusing our attention on our breath (he scraped his knee) and to negotiate an agreement on which plants should go (I wanted to just clear out the yard, but he thought some of them were too pretty to be torn from the ground). Forget the clean yard – the weeding itself was a bonding and enjoyable time for both of us, which is far more important.
Even if you’re not a parent, I guarantee you that your relationship with your loved ones and your friends will improve if you include them in the mundane activities of your life. Whatever you might have to do next might be drudgery for you by yourself, but good clean fun with someone else. Regardless of the task, you might be helping someone just by offering – sometimes people need companionship and an excuse to talk about what’s weighing heavily on their souls. Even if they don’t want to join in, most will feel happier that you want them along for the ride.
3. Self Improvement
Finally, you can bring artistry and personal development into nearly anything you do. Writing an email can be an exercise in creative writing; taking a nap can act as a mini-meditation focusing on your breath and; preparing a meal can be a cooking adventure. Even deeper, going for a walk can be exploration and pulling weeds can be a creative exercise in landscaping. Even that quick stop at the grocery store could be a chance to try new ways to talk to strangers.
The term “self improvement” means, to some, the mindless repetition of tasks that are supposed to eventually aggregate into some solid milestone – the endless repetitions in the gym, the fitting-in of certain tasks into each and every day, and the abstinence from bad habits and behavior. That’s a shame because the milestones are practically worthless if you loathe your life. Fortify your tasks with mindfulness and companionship, and that won’t be what self-improvement is for you – it’ll be a label for the creativity, happiness and joy you bring into your tasks.
Eventually, if you “consume” enough fortified activities, you won’t need to add in these wonderful ingredients for happiness into your day. They’ll naturally come on their own, blossoming out of the ground of your consciousness. Gone will be the days of quiet desperation and boredom of the rut… replaced, even as you do the same things you did before, with a little smile and a fulfilling life journey.
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I'm a blessed father, husband, web developer, and writer in southern California. Visit my blog at http://programminglife.net/