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A guide to the good life

A visual of an open guidebook with flowers growing out of it

With Summer in full swing I’m enjoying the sunrise to sunset days, the emerging freckles, hair going honey strand by strand and wild flowers galore. Our cottage garden looks precious and brilliant, bursting with red poppies, daisies, violets, buttercups and forget-me-nots. In the soil, zucchinis and tomatoes are growing fat as gems, and I look forward to crunching them between my teeth.

I find myself reflecting quite a bit these past few weeks. Typically, two times a year I take some time off work to reflect on which direction my actions are currently steering my life. It’s so easy being busy all the time and fool ourselves that being productive is our most important trait in life, while it makes way more sense to focus on staying sane & healthy huh?

I’ve been reading the book A guide to the good life recently, in which the author plumbs ancient stoic wisdom to show how its insight and advice can direct us how we should live in order to be happy and satisfied in our lives. According to the Stoics a life plagued with negative emotions - including anxiety, stress, fear, and envy - will not be a good life. They practiced a form of “mindfulness”, which consists in continually observing our own thoughts and actions. This means learning to pay more attention, on what you are actively doing and what you are passively experiencing.

After finishing the book I’ve been exploring which activities score high on my ‘feeling good & healthy’ list. What are the things that bring about feelings of joy, inspiration and excitement? I’ve broken down this question into these follow-up questions to ask myself:

  • What makes me laugh my pants off?

  • What activity makes me feel inventive/creative?

  • What things/topics do I like learning about?

  • What things make me feel more connected with my friends/family?

  • What helps me shut down my chatty mind and connect with my body?

  • What are things I enjoy helping others with?

  • When do I feel most at ease?

I find it so interesting that as a young child the only thing you are focused on is following your curiosity & joy. But as an adult we need to ask ourselves these questions otherwise we forget and other things in life take over. I’m still in the midst of exploring a range of answers to these questions but some that have come up already are these reflections:

Journal pages with drawings and words showcasing July reflections
Journal with July reflections

I hope this has been helpful in defining for yourself how to live a happy life by taking some time to ponder the questions above and jotting down those activities that make you feel good & healthy! And if you have any additional tips or specific examples of things you do in pursuing to live a good life, please share them below.

X Iris


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