By Jessamy Baldwin
The writer A.D. Posey famously said: “Life is a sea of vibrant colour. Jump in”. Sounds simple enough right? But it can be difficult to “jump” into the world when our minds are elsewhere. It’s so easy to get distracted by all the white noise that infiltrates everyday modern life.
But, when we do take the time to step away from our computer screens, tear our eyes away from our phones and overt our gaze from the television, it’s clear to see the real world beats high definition, 3D or panoramic any day.
I’m a sucker for a good movie marathon and some of my favourite parts of the day are when I’m writing at my laptop. Still, these technology centred experiences are only as good as the real life ones that inform them. If I didn’t get out and about in the world, I’d have no inspiration behind my stories and the words wouldn’t flow.
Similarly, if I’d never had my heart broken into a million pieces, loved like there’s no tomorrow, laughed until my belly ached or embarrassed myself horrendously in front of a crowd, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the complex characters in my favourite films. Would you?
It’s real life, and it’s a “vibrant sea of colour” that drives us and makes (most of) us genuinely happy. If you’re a gaming addict who spends 8 hours of each day cooped up in your mum’s attic playing World of Warcraft, this one’s probably not for you babes.
But then again, you’re probably not reading this.
It’s the rest of you who are. So to all of you, when are you at your happiest? What gives you a buzz, a glow, a thrill? What makes you feel vibrant or, to put it simply, alive?
We, as humans, have an annoying tendency to live in the past and future. We’re saturated by photos and videos on our news feeds that have already had their time slot in history.
We love making 2, 5 or even 10 year plans. When will I get a house? When will I marry? When will I start my own business? We love to plan, plan, plan. Even if we act like we don’t.
But when was the last time you stopped thinking about yesterday, last year, tomorrow or next year and simply appreciated today. Did you spend this morning agonising over what you said to a colleague last Saturday night in the pub? Are you already planning your outfits for next Friday night with the girls or guys?
Are you, like me, a perpetual list maker?
I have lists for everything: food shopping, work tasks and even cheesecake recipes I want (have) to try. I even started a ‘100 things to do before I die’ list the other day. I’ve got lists coming out of here there and everywhere. It’s weird. And my desk looks like a volcano of paper that’s erupted too soon. It’s the Dante’s Peak of desks. “Pierce Brosnan, come in, over”?
How can we all get out of our own heads and start living more vibrantly and in the present?
Making a determined effort to focus on the here and now when you can, looking after your body and devoting quality time to your favourite things in life are a great place to start.
A great place to start is your morning routine. When you wake up, do you grab your phone straight away? Gotcha! Start your day with no distractions and make it email free for at least 15 minutes. You’re probably not being paid to read Patricia from Communications’ email at 6.30am, so don’t.
For me, the absolute best way to feel present is to get outdoors or exercise. Now I’ve got a puppy, I’ve got no excuse not to tread the fields behind our house for at least 30 minutes a day. I can literally feel the tension seep away as I climb the grassy hills and look out over the Somerset hills. Ha, I sound like Enid Blyton. I even took a ginger beer the other day.
BUT, studies have found that as little as 30 minutes per day of exercise can have dramatic positive effects on your overall health. Getting your body moving relieves stress, improves blood flow, sleep, mood, self-image and mental state.
The only way to describe how you feel after a hike to a beautiful waterfall or even a jaunt in the local park… is vibrant. You have a glow.
Eating and drinking the right things is also key to looking and feeling your best. Most of us feel so much better when we’re eating healthily. Aiming for the five fruit and veg per day quota is what I tend to work from. But don’t restrict yourself either. If you want a brownie or pizza, do it, just not every day.
Inject vibrancy into your life by treating yourself and dedicating time to YOU. Try to do one thing for you every day, whether that’s reading your book, having a bath, listening to your favourite music whilst lying on the sofa or cooking your absolute favourite meal.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word “vibrant” as energetic, exiting, bright, strong or full of enthusiasm. Sounds to me like a pretty perfect way to describe the attitude we should all have towards life.
In the words of Gautama Buddha: “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create”.
What I have come to learn is that a vibrant life can only be created by you and you alone. Someone with bad eyesight can’t see the “sea of vibrant colour” if they haven’t had the initiative to go to the opticians.
THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE JULY ISSUE OF GSY LIFE MAGAZINE