By Jane O. Smith at Stage Your Comeback
Quality of Life is defined as one’s standard of health, comfort and happiness. Abraham Lincoln looked at it this way:
“…In the end it’s not the years in your life that count, It’s the life in your years.”
Are you able to enhance your quality of life without spending a fortune or an excessive amount of time? What is at your disposal to get back into the game so you feel healthier, more comfortable and happier?
Aside from rest, nutrition and physical activity, here are simple ways to boost your Zen in times of need:
Mirrors can be your friend, as they reflect whatever they are aimed at. If you look out on something gorgeous, bring it into your environment by placing a mirror across from the view. Along with doubling the view, it will increase the intensity of natural light in the room throughout the day.
If you don’t look out on something lovely, consider hanging a nice piece of stained glass to add more color and design to your space. If you put a lamp nearby it will illuminate the piece, providing you with a touch of delight and inspiration. Look for deals at flea markets, Goodwill and discount stores and on Craigslist.
Birdsongs, a light breeze, children laughing, soft jazz and far away train whistles can add serenity or help you to daydream and remember better times. If you can’t open a window to these sounds you can listen to many of them on-line or you can buy a sound machine to take you away at your discretion. Even ocean waves can be heard through this amazing technology – how great for those living in the desert!
Noise cancelling drapes, soundproofing foam squares and well placed earplugs are other options that can help you cope with distractions and echoes.
Familiar scents can take you away – peppermint, cinnamon, vanilla, jasmine and pine are popular options for candles and plug-in fragrances. They can also enhance feelings of well-being during the holidays or when a room feels stuffy or lonely. Our sense of smell is powerful, and choosing mists and perfumes to cocoon ourselves in is a splendid way to cozy up alone with a special book or blanket. Essential oils are options, too, to boost your physical well-being, spiritual awareness, cleaning rituals and personal care.
Nature’s Best Friends
The companionship of a dog or cat, or goldfish or canary is a wonderful way to lose ourselves and to rediscover the joy of living in the now. They are loyal, forgiving and intelligent in many funny ways. Their antics, their devotion (yes even fish know who you are), and the nurturing of another live being has been proven to calm even the most agitated or lonely among us. If the demands are too great for a four-legged, finned or winged beastie, living plants are another good option. They add oxygen to our environment and their seasonal blooms and growing patterns remind us of the mysteries and beauty of Mother Nature.
If you’re unable to take any of these in, make time to visit a botanical garden, park, city aquarium or local zoo. An alternative is to buy or borrow books about nature and to display them on your coffee table or nightstand. Posters of your favorite places, animals and plants can also add a bit of whimsy or enchantment for your soul.
These examples aren’t about quantity, but rather quality. If we agree with President Lincoln, our quality of life is determined by how we appreciate and by how we see. When we are feeling a lack of something or grieving for a loss, we can choose to pivot – to notice that abundance is all around us. Perhaps the best tonic of all when we feel sad and anxious is to be grateful for what is beautiful and for what is working in spite of it all.