By Allegra Gallian─
This will probably sound familiar: There are more important things than money, and money can’t buy happiness. Sure, having money is nice, and purchasing items can provide a temporary happiness, but it’s not sustainable. Happiness is an inside job, and it’s something you must work to cultivate every day.
One of the keys to happiness is living an authentic life. You must always be truthful to who you are and what you love. Pursuing your passions is a terrific way to live authentically. The best part is that you can pursue a passion at any age.
Why is pursuing your passions so important?
It might seem selfish to focus on yourself, but it’s just the opposite. Think about it. When you’re pursuing nothing but obligations or responsibilities you don’t feel connected to, it affects your whole person. You might find you’re more exhausted than normal, you get sick more often and you’re not as interested in partaking in previously enjoyable experiences. When you start to include activities or experiences that make you feel happy and alive, everything shifts. By pursuing what you love, you allow yourself to feel fulfilled, which improves your overall mood and quality of life. You have more energy, feel less sluggish and have a stronger immune system.
It might feel odd to put yourself first, especially if you’ve been putting other people first all your life. Think about who you’re inspired by and why. There’s a good chance at least one of the reasons you’re drawn to this person is because they are happily living a life they love. When you follow suit, friends and family members will take notice, and they might be inspired to do the same.
How can you discover your passions?
Passions are wholly personal. The first step is to hone in on what it is you love. Have you discovered a love of dance? Sign up for a class. Do you wish your thumb was greener? Spend time at your local arboretum talking to the staff about caring for plants. Here are some other ways to pursue your passions.
Remember Your Childhood: As we become adults, it’s not uncommon to feel a disconnect with our inner child. A great way to discover your passions is to tap into that inner child. Spend some time reminiscing about what you enjoyed when you were a kid, and ask yourself, “Would I enjoy this now?” Figure out how childhood activities and events can be translated to your current stage in life, then make a plan to pursue them.
Make a Vision Board: Speaking of getting in touch with your inner child, complete this fun arts and crafts project. A vision board helps you visualize what you love and makes pursuing passions more tangible. You can use a poster board or a cork board. Start by cutting out magazine images that speak to you. You might also want to include inspirational quotes or photos of people who inspire you. Let yourself dream. The images and quotes offer a clearer picture of what’s most important to you, which is a perfect first step to pursuing your passions.
Just Get Started: Fear of failure prevents many people from pursuing a dream or a passion. You might not be able to see the finish line, which could make you too afraid to even get started. Allowing fear to paralyze you is not good for your health, and it leaves you feeling unfulfilled. You don’t have to have the whole game plan figured out to begin. Whether you’ve always wanted to write a novel, paint masterpieces or start a business, now is the best time. The first step is always the hardest, but things will get easier once you begin. Schedule time for yourself each day or each week to sit down and write, paint or brainstorm. Once you’re more comfortable, you can really let your creativity flow and pursue your passion with confidence.
Allegra Gallian is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in lifestyle, health, wellness and fitness. She lives in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. When she’s not writing, Allegra enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with friends and family.