Humans were created with a deep need to experience identity, mission and belonging. At our best we desire fulfilling, rich lives that leave a positive impact on our world. So, how do we live truly alive? Here are three simple ways:
- Invest in experiences, not things. We don’t need more things. In fact, “stuffocation,” is a buzzword dubbed for the way junk and clutter impact our stress levels. Plus, research shows that excitement over a new purchase wanes by the second day — but meaningful memories last a lifetime. (This is also a great way to connect with the younger generation. The Harris Group recently found that 72 percent of Millennials prefer to spend more on experiences than material things.)
- Practice gratitude. What if you could record everything you said or thought for one week straight and listen back? Would you be proud of what you heard? Would there be any recurring themes? It’s easy to experience life through a lens of doubt, criticism, or complaining — but we don’t often realize the impact it’s making on our hearts or relationships. Consider practicing “grateful touch” for a week — simply thanking God for a cup of coffee or the softness of your young child or grandchild’s cheek, things you touch on an average day — and see how your perspective changes.
- Give. Acts 20:35 echoes the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and did you know science backs this up? Giving releases oxytocin and endorphins into your body — rewarding the same pleasure centers in the brain as receiving a gift! A recent UnitedHealth Group survey of people who had volunteered within the last year found:
- 76% felt physically healthier
- 94% said volunteering improves their mood
- 78% felt less stressed
Plus, giving of your time or money to an organization has the added benefit of impacting lives. Many people have decided to update their Will to include a gift to a ministry they care about. This is a unique way to feel more alive now — and ensure your legacy will outlive you.