Every so often, we get bogged down by the ole’ grind. Let’s face it: our nine-to-fives are, in most cases, not the most exciting part of our lives. Some days, someone cutting you off on your daily commute is the most exciting event of the day. When things like this happen, we really start to realize that we don’t feel like people. We don’t feel alive; we don’t feel like what we’re doing matters.
There are ways to alleviate these feelings and bring yourself back to life! All it takes is a little willingness to branch out and be a bit creative. In this article, we aim to teach you some of the best ways to start feeling alive again!
Try New Things
A big part of feeling alive is feeling excited and enthused about things, whether they be new or old. This is why trying new things is such an essential part of feeling alive and happy. Having the same thing all the time can be comforting – just like with food – but no matter how much you like it, we all get sick of it eventually. As they say, variety is the spice of life.
There are hundreds of new things that you can try at any given time. Try to narrow it down based on your personal interests and skills – if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to make good memories, as well as pick it up again sometime in the future. For example:
- If you like art, try something new that’s art-related, like a wine-and-painting seminar
- If you’re handy and like DIY projects, try building a bench or fence from old pallet wood
- If you love animals, try bringing some new furry friends into your home (but only if you have the space, time, and money to support them)
- Alternatively, if you like animals but can’t adopt one, try volunteering at an animal shelter
There’s no way for us to list all of the things you can try here. If you find the right opportunities, you can do virtually anything! If you’re an adventurous person, try something you may not have ever dared to do before, like rock climbing, skydiving, or parkour. Intense, adrenaline-inducing activities like this are proven ways to make you feel more alive!
Step out of Your Comfort Zone
One of the biggest reasons why we get bogged down in our everyday routines is because we don’t venture outside of our little “bubble” that we’re used to. When we get caught up in the predictability of the everyday, we eventually start to think that it’s safe and normal, and anything different and exciting can start to scare us. Be careful not to get caught in a cycle like this – if you do, though, there is hope!
If you’re concerned with how “dead” you’ve been feeling lately, pushing your personal boundaries can open up a whole new world for you. This relates to trying new things in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something new to be pushing your boundaries. Try going back to something that you used to enjoy that you’ve felt you haven’t had time for lately.
Throwing all caution to the wind isn’t for everyone, however. Don’t let people pressure you into doing things that feel inherently wrong or dangerous to you. For some people, destroying their personal boundaries can be an effective way of feeling alive, but if you’re an anxious or fearful person, take it slow!
If stepping out of your comfort zone is causing you to panic and be in general distress, it’s doing more harm than good. Keep your mind open to new activities, yes, and give them a chance before you dismiss them entirely, but don’t be afraid to cross them off the list when they don’t work. No one should be able to pressure you into doing things that you know don’t work for you.
Say Yes More
Saying “yes” to more things is an important part of broadening your horizons and increasing the number of opportunities that come your way. Instead of saying “no” to something that might scare you or make you uncomfortable, give it a chance! You never know what might come out of it, and if it doesn’t work out, well, you know what not to do next time.
Be careful of what you say yes to, though. If you’ve seen the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey, you know that while saying yes can benefit you, you should always use some discretion – some requests just aren’t meant to be answered that way! Sometimes, something is just too far out of your wheelhouse to be a good match for you, or it’s not a good match for your nature or character traits. In some cases, it’s just not a practical choice, and saying yes can hurt your livelihood.
Try to find a middle ground. Instead of saying no to things because it’s “too much trouble” or “I’m too busy,” say yes to these things instead! However, if it’s something that’s too expensive or not a good fit for your family, it’s absolutely okay to say no.
According to the website Everyday Power – a website that was launched because the creator said “yes” – there are three things you should keep in mind when saying yes to something. They are as follows:
- Saying “yes” will lead you to new opportunities.
- Saying “yes” will help you find personal growth.
- Make sure to choose your answer wisely when you say “yes.”
We’d like to add that saying “yes” can make you feel more alive, too!
Follow Your Dreams
What would make you feel happier than following the dreams you’ve held since your childhood? If you want to feel alive, dig up the longest-held dreams of your heart that you’ve buried or tucked away, and maybe reevaluate how possible they might be. Have you always had a vision of going to space? According to NBCNews, we may be able to send “space tourists” to space within the next few years.
Some dreams seem like they might not be within the realm of possibility. However, you’d be surprised by how many people end up turning their goals into a prosperous livelihood in their adult years. Check out this article by AKON, which lists different people that turned their dreams into money-making realities. We’ve listed some of them below.
- Jim Henson: a puppeteer who helped to create the Muppets
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone: amateur cartoonists who met in college and went on to create the TV show South Park
- Michael Jordan: an MLB basketball player who was cut from his varsity basketball team in high school
- Steve Jobs: one of the creators of Apple who started building the company out of his parents’ garage
- Renel Brooks-Moon: a longtime fan of the Giants who went on to be the official announcer for the team and become the first female announcer of a championship game in any sport
Besides those listed above, there are hundreds of other people who have turned their dreams into reality. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to turn your vision into a paying job as those above did – for some, just turning it into a hobby will be sufficient. However, it is a nice bonus when you can focus on your dreams and quit your nine-to-five altogether!
Surround Yourself with Happy People
One of the easiest was to make yourself feel happy is to surround yourself with people that are happy. Sometimes, people who are feeling down and dead don’t realize that the people around them can contribute to this melancholy. According to Psychology Today, both depression and loneliness can be surprisingly contagious among adults.
If you have sad, depressing people in your life, chances are these feelings might spread to you. Sometimes, though, situations like this need to be handled delicately. Cutting someone who’s depressed out of your life can sometimes be helpful for them and you (especially if they need a bit of a reality check to turn their own life around), but it’s best to be careful with those who are in fragile emotional states.
Instead, try introducing these people to guides like this one, or do what you can to help them get back on their feet. Being dedicated to a close friend is admirable and good, but it should not be to the point where it significantly impacts your own happiness. Sometimes, you need to make tough decisions regarding these people if they’re the source of what’s making you feel dead.
In the same way, spending time with close friends and family who are happy and upbeat will influence your mood, as well! Do your best to surround yourself with like-minded, positive people, and you will find that your attitude tends to follow theirs. Family members who you are close to can be especially helpful for this. If you live far away from your family, moving closer to those who love you may be something to think about.
Watch Your Health
Medical science has proven time and time again that people who keep their bodies healthy will have healthier minds, too. According to LiveScience, eating fruits and vegetables has the potential to make you feel happier – and it helps to make your body feel better, too!
Eating fatty, oily, and sugary foods has been shown to have negative effects on the body. Greasy and oily foods, like burgers and fries from your favorite fast food joint, have a profound initial impact on your happiness when you first eat them, but then your body crashes soon after due to the lack of nutritional value. Additionally, if you overeat them, your body can learn to crave these foods, resulting in a vicious, unhealthy cycle.
Besides healthy eating, other healthy habits are essential, too! Exercise, in particular, is known to release endorphins, which create a sensation of fulfillment and happiness in your brain. Exercise is known to be somewhat of a blanket mood-improver – if you’re feeling down, go for a walk, take a quick jog on a treadmill, or even do some stretches or yoga. Science proves that you’ll be happier!
While going out for a quick walk to improve your mood is all well and good, integrating exercise into your usual routine is even more effective. If you’re able to commit to something as small as thirty minutes per day of light activity, you can see a dramatic increase in your overall mood, as well as your general health and energy.
Ditch the Energy Drinks
While energy drinks do have some health benefits – some can be fortified with vitamins and minerals, and they really do help improve your function when you’re feeling tired – it’s best to stay away from them, especially as an everyday habit. Consuming too much caffeine too regularly is associated with many health risks, and many of these can have emotional consequences, too.
We’ve listed some of the most significant health risks that come with drinking too much caffeine below, courtesy of Caffeine Informer.
- Cardiac arrest: not many people ever get near the lethal dose of caffeine, but this deadly dose isn’t the same for everyone. It’s much lower for those with other heart problems.
- Headaches: repeatedly drinking caffeine then not consuming any can cause withdrawal headaches, prompting you to drink more caffeine. This creates a vicious cycle.
- Anxiety: the increased energy that comes with consuming caffeine can lead to nervousness, especially in those who are genetically predisposed to it. In large enough doses, it can even lead to panic attacks.
- Insomnia: sometimes, energy drinks do such an excellent job of keeping you awake that they prevent you from falling asleep altogether.
- Type two diabetes: energy drinks tend to be dreadfully high in sugar. Too much sugar intake can lead to diabetes.
- Drug interactions: some ingredients in energy drinks can react with prescription medications, making the combination of the two potentially dangerous.
- Addiction: as with anything, consuming too much can lead to addiction. Caffeine addiction can be an exceptionally easy trap to fall into because of its productivity-boosting effects.
There are more risks associated with the abuse of energy drinks and caffeine (in fact, there are eight more listed in the above article alone). However, they can be a useful resource if utilized in moderation. Energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages should be used on an infrequent, necessary basis, not every day.
While you don’t have to ditch energy drinks altogether, it’s best to be aware of the strain they put on your body and break any habits you have of drinking them every day.
Inspiration is a potent source of happiness and drive for many people. Anyone that frequently works in the arts knows this – if you don’t have a good source of inspiration, working through it can feel like pulling teeth. No passion for what you’re doing can easily lead to feeling “dead.” However, a powerful source of inspiration can make passion flow from you effortlessly.
Unfortunately, though, inspiration isn’t always the easiest thing to find. Sometimes, you’ll need to go searching for sources of inspiration or dig some up from deep within. Very rarely does inspiration just strike us like a bolt of lightning.
To find inspiration, consume and enjoy things that you like. Follow leads and take part in activities that pique your interest and make you curious. If you follow your dreams and your interests, you can often follow them all the way to new sources of inspiration. As with anything, there will be some dead ends, but such is the nature of inspiration.
Visiting museums, art galleries, poetry readings, and the like can be particularly useful if your passions lie in the arts. Even if you don’t enjoy the arts, seeing the different methods of creative expression and thinking at work can lead to surprising sources of inspiration for yourself. If something seems particularly weird or crazy, follow it! These are some of the greatest sources of new thought.
One of the most common – and most effective – ways of making people feel alive is with a vacation. The opportunity to see new places and cultures coupled with a break from your everyday grind is a sure-fire way to renew life and passion in people.
If you can’t afford a luxurious tropical vacation to relax and renew yourself, don’t fret! There are cheaper, easier ways to find a new source of life within yourself, especially if you’re willing to get a bit creative. Try looking into some of the following:
- Look for retreats, near you or otherwise. These are often cheaper than traditional vacations, especially if they’re faith or belief-based. Some are even free – here’s one located in the UK that’s focused on meditation and renewal.
- Camps are another option instead of retreats. Did you know there are adult summer camps out there? If you have the resources and time available to commit to one of these, think about giving it a try. You never know who you’ll meet!
- Create your own vacation. If you have a reliable car, an adventurous partner, and some time, try planning an extended trip with no strings attached! You can go by yourself, with a pet, or even with some friends or family if you don’t have a partner. Try driving to places you’ve always wanted to visit, either with camping supplies, an RV or trailer, or via hotel or B&B reservations.
- Accept an opportunity in a different state or country. Often, volunteer work and short-term jobs are available far from you that you might find interest in. Don’t be afraid to pursue these opportunities!
There’s a reason why retreats, camping, and general travel are regarded as such great ways to clear the mind and find renewal. A simple change of scenery or a few hundred miles’ distance can provide amazing insight into just what you’ve been missing. Plus, you may just find a new passion while you’re out exploring the world!
If you can manage to do it, being honest with yourself about what’s wrong with your situation is a great place to start. For some people, a change of scenery is necessary for them to see what they’ve been missing, and this is no fault of their own. However, if you can identify some of your sticking points without having to take a vacation, you may be able to change things much more quickly and easily.
Sometimes, this honesty can involve some tough love, especially with yourself. If you’re incapable of this, someone that can help you along on your quest, such as a therapist or trusted third party, may be of benefit to you. However, a good, hard, objective look at what’s been going wrong can often bring some surprising things to light.
Sometimes, all that needs doing is a bit of tough talk. We can often lose track of where we are along the way, and before we know it, we don’t know where the passion we once had has gone. Some soul-searching and sound advice – in addition to some “manning up” – can make all the difference for your mindset.
Being honest with yourself is closely related to being true to yourself. However, we will go over this more in the next section.
While many of us were growing up, we were urged to become doctors and lawyers and pharmacists because those were the most successful career paths at the time. However, not all of us fit these molds – some of us are anathema to these careers! One of the most stifling things to an adult can be finding themselves in a life they don’t want. This is why a “mid-life crisis” is a thing.
If you have a free, artsy spirit, you might find it difficult to pin down fulfilling, well-paying work. This is one of the eternal plagues of the artist – the great Vincent VanGogh, for example, wasn’t truly appreciated until after he died. He only ever sold one painting!
If this sounds like you, it may be necessary to satisfy your creative urges while also holding a job that doesn’t really line up with your passions. Our nine-to-fives don’t necessarily have to be the highlight of our days. They just need to be our source of steady income. When you have free time, make sure to indulge your creative impulses, and you should start seeing some of your passion return.
However, if you are late in your life and want a change, nothing is stopping you! According to Forbes, adults returning to college is becoming the norm nowadays. With online college becoming a very accessible reality, going to school around your working hours is now easier than ever, too. If you really want to find that change of pace and are willing to work for it, it’s definitely achievable!
Appreciate What You Have
On the flipside of finding a change of pace is being appreciative of what you already have. Just as we can lose sight of our passions in life through the tedium, we can just as easily lose sight of the many things that we have going for us. Your family and friends are good examples – if you haven’t connected to those close to you in a while, you may be surprised by how much they can bring your mood up.
Besides people, appreciation for things can also decline over time. Often, we’ll get stuck in a rut of wishing for more than we have, wanting for a better-paying job, or even gambling our money away in the hopes of winning big. While pursuing a better-paying job is a very admirable thing, taking a fresh look at how much you do have can provide insight that’s just as valuable.
Chief among these things that you should be thankful for are those that have stuck with you through thick and thin. Like we outlined earlier, people don’t have any obligation to stick with you when you’re feeling down and depressed – these feelings can spread to them, too. Take a moment to be thankful for the loyalty of your friends and family, because that’s a gift you will never be able to buy.
If you find yourself without someone like this to be thankful for, go out and make some friends! There are good people out there in the world, even if it feels hard to believe sometimes. If you go out there with an open heart and mind, you may find a companion or friend that can improve your life significantly. And in turn, you can improve their life, as well!
There are hundreds of ways to feel alive and improve your mindset that we haven’t touched on in this article. Faith-based activities, for one, are a great place to start being thankful for what you have and what you’ve received. However, that’s not the only thing to do! As long as you pursue your passions and look for opportunities that align with your skills and interests, you will find something that makes you feel more alive.
We hope that, through this article, you’ve found some inspiration as to what might make you feel alive again. If not, though, we hope we’ve at least given you some good places to look! Use this article and others as springboards to launch the next chapter of your life. Happiness is waiting for you out there!