Pathways for positivity: Life is for living

I’m typing this month’s article from the comfort of my bed, electric blanket on full pelt. It’s a bitterly cold January evening and frankly, I’m glad the only plans I have are, writing this, an hour with the telly and an early night.

Which is irony itself, when what I want to talk to you about is the principle of Carpe Diem, which is to seize the day in Latin! The expression, first coined by the Roman poet Horace (23BC) literally means to “Pluck the Day” though it’s often translated as seize the day, meaning to enjoy yourself while you can. It encourages us to relish every day. In fast-paced lives, dominated by routine and responsibilities, the importance of living in the moment becomes increasingly apparent for mental well-being and inner calm.

It’s fascinating how many of us tie our happiness to the calendar, almost as if we are programmed to endure Monday to Friday as a necessary hardship until the much longed for weekend arrives. I heard a radio host grumbling the other day that it was ‘only Wednesday’ and if he stood on his chair, he could almost see the weekend …

Yep, I rolled my eyes.

The reality is that we all have responsibilities and obligations, and sometimes, we need to do things we’d rather not just to keep the lights on, the fridge stocked, and the bills paid. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t find pleasure in the midst of our daily lives.

The philosophy of Carpe Diem challenges the notion that our happiness should be reserved for weekends or special occasions. Instead, it encourages us to embrace the present and find fulfilment in the now.

Practising mindfulness is a powerful tool in this pursuit. By bringing our attention to the present moment, we can cultivate a greater awareness of the people in our lives, our surroundings and the experiences we create. Yes, even at work, on a Tuesday! Being fully engaged in our tasks and present in our interactions can enhance our efficiency, creativity and our effectiveness. It makes us more chilled, more self-aware, a better team player and more approachable. It reduces stress, anxiety, worry and places a barrier between us and burnout.

Living in the present is to appreciate and acknowledge the significance of small, everyday moments. It involves establishing routines that bring simple satisfaction to the start of your day, like making that first cup of tea in the morning, listening to your favourite radio program while getting ready, waking up the children, and packing your lunch. Regardless of what your morning routine looks like, these rituals can provide a comforting sense of purpose when approached with purposeful intention, rather than resisting their necessity.

In essence, Carpe Diem invites us to break free from the cycle of weekend thinking. That’s not to say, weekends aren’t wonderful opportunities to spend more time doing what you want, when you want with who you want, but it’s challenging the idea that happiness is only allowed to happen on certain days and times. It invites us to embrace the present, and discover the richness of each moment, regardless of the day of the week. So, let’s seize the day, appreciate here and now, and seek joy in the journey of life.

Shannon Humphrey is a First Aid for Mental Health Instructor working in the business and education sectors.
If you have a suggestion for an article, contact her at shannon@pathwaysforpositivity.com

 

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