Bliss is a state of emotional joy, personal fulfillment, and happiness, and to feel bliss is to feel perfect. It means to feel free of stress from work, stress from your job, stress from the noise in your head.
It doesn't mean being perfect; rather, it's a perfect state of mind. The more you practice feeling blissful, the more you won't need to practice, as you'll become healthier and genuinely happier, 15 minutes at a time.
Worrying about what is going to happen in the future and stressing about what has happened in the past does little but crush the moment. There's nothing wrong with planning future events or learning from your past, but when you begin dwelling on things, it becomes a negative habit that can quickly become destructive.
Take 15 full minutes to eat something delicious, and focus only on this experience using all your senses. Take small bites and chew them thoroughly. Notice the texture, hear the crunch or lack thereof, and taste the flavor. Practice this exercise several times with food, then move to other activities, such as taking a walk, and practice being present in the same way.
You will quickly notice how little time it takes for eating to transform from daily need to daily experience, as you realize how truly magical it is simply to eat.
In the cyberworld, you're literally "alone together," punching the social media clock or answering endless work emails. Continual screen time severs you from reality, making it difficult to have face-to-face relationships with people, whether they are work colleagues or friends and family.
When it comes to social media and work, ignorance really can be bliss. Who really needs to know about what your aunt had for lunch or whether your high school boyfriend is at the airport or not? You are living your own life, not theirs.
You do not need to be up to date on everyone else's life, leaving no room in your own for new things to happen. Live your life, don't post it.
Turn off your screens for an extended period of time during the day. This means your phone, computer, iPad, and anything else that connects you to Cyberland. Start with 15 minutes, and work your way up to an hour.
Be sure to alert people who might want to get hold of you that you will be offline, so you don't worry about it while you're enjoying the silence and being present. (See exercise No. 1!)
When you exercise, your pituitary gland releases endorphins, which give you the famous "runner's high." These are actually the same feel-good chemicals that stimulate you during sexual intercourse and orgasm! I dare you to say you don't have time for that feeling.
Move your body at least once during the day, doing something you enjoy: walking, jogging, dancing, golfing—anything that elevates your heart rate and gets your blood flowing.
Start with 15 minutes, and work your way up to 60 minutes gradually to avoid injury. You will feel better each time you do it, and after enough workouts, your body will change and you'll be more confident.
Meditation is difficult for many people, since the demands of life often get in the way. In our society, it is anything but easy to silence the mind. Work, family, friends, parties, homework, and what was that dream I had last night about, anyway? All clutter the mind, and releasing these thoughts for extended periods of time can be a big challenge.
Meditation can help you connect to yourself and your needs. It also can help you be present while reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.1 If you don't have enough time to meditate for 15 minutes, meditate for 10, as you are too busy and need to relax your mind and reconnect with your inner self. You are not a robot.
Sit calmly in a quiet space and take slow, deep, calming breaths, focusing on expanding your belly with each inhalation and contracting your belly with each exhalation. If your thoughts intrude, acknowledge them, then let them go.
As little as 10 minutes a day can help you feel refreshed and renewed. Having trouble? Try a guided mediation. There are tons of free apps that can help take you to a place of peace and help you move one step closer to bliss.
Play With Your Pet
Connecting with your pets is a surefire way to make you feel happy. Animals are masters of living in the present, and watching them can bring you onto that plane of consciousness yourself. And the unconditional love—well, there's nothing better to bring happiness to your day.
Take your dog for a walk, or buy a laser pointer for your cat. Spend some time cuddling on the couch or brushing and grooming your pet. Spend at least 15-30 minutes together, and enjoy every moment. We aren't blessed with our fur families forever, so get to lovin' em!
Connect With Nature
Being in green space and surrounding yourself with nature has been shown to be therapeutic, reducing stress and boosting your mood.2,3 Gardening can also be enjoyable, helping to elevate your mood and decrease anxiety. And the bonus: You'll get your daily dose of vitamin D in just 10 minutes of being outdoors.
First, find an outdoor space you love, and frequent it during the week, no matter what the season or the weather. It can be a beach, forest, pond or even your own back yard. Spend some time there walking, enjoying the elements, and observing the wildlife, no matter how small.
If you're in your own yard, pull some weeds, plant some seeds, or trim some hedges. If possible, walk barefoot and reground yourself to the earth. Mother Earth is here to love you—love her back.
Take a Nap
Sleep is an elixir for many ailments, such as stress, anxiety, and even fat loss.4 In a sleepless environment, cortisol runs rampant, negatively affecting your hormones, blood sugar, and stress levels. To truly feel joyful, it is also necessary to feel healthy and rested.
Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a week. Turn off all screens to avoid distractions, or read a book to relax instead. Once you've mastered those first 15, shoot for 30 minutes the week after, and so on. At the end of the month, you'll be getting an hour more of sleep without realizing it, keeping cortisol at bay and opening yourself to bliss.
Do-it-yourself projects are all the rage, and with YouTube and Pinterest at your fingertips, simple instructions on doing anything from baking the perfect birthday cake to rewiring an old lamp are at your fingertips. The sense of accomplishment and pride you'll feel choosing a project and completing it successfully will slingshot you toward bliss.
Start small, perhaps repainting an end table or patching some nail holes. If you're a Handy Mandy, tackle a larger project, such as icing a cake with fondant or tiling a backsplash.
- Anderson, J. W., Liu, C., & Kryscio, R. J. (2008). Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension,21(3), 310-316.
- Barton, J., Griffin, M., & Pretty, J. (2012). Exercise-, nature-and socially interactive-based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population. Perspectives in Public Health, 132(2), 89-96.
- Teas, J., Hurley, T., Ghumare, S., & Ogoussan, K. (2007). Walking outside improves mood for healthy postmenopausal women. Clinical Medicine Insights. Oncology, 1, 35.
- Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of Internal Medicine, 153(7), 435-441.