Once-A-Day Prescriptions for Joy
by: Keith Varnum
1. Act whimsically at least once a day.
Do something that is outrageous or totally out of character, out of the
box, not the “usual” you. Invite spontaneity. Do something meaningless,
without any purpose or value—just because you feel like it, just
because it’s fun! Surprise yourself!
Don’t dress outside in. Dress inside out. Let your spirit define “who
you are” rather than the outside world. Don’t rely on external
image—clothing, hairstyle, status symbols—to tell people who you are.
Wear your inner self proudly and let it attract what is most harmonious
Expand your playground, your arena for self-expression. Practice
harmless and minor outrages. Seek a larger freedom in your life. In the
unexpected comes the joy of feeling truly alive.
2. Throw away one item a day.
Or give it away to Goodwill or someone who will actually use it. For
every unused item you discard, you create the space for a truly useful
item to come into your world.
Clear the decks! A major cause of loss of energy is lots of “stuff”
that accumulates around us. Schedule time to keep the piles—physical
and mental—from building up. If you don’t, the backlog will sap your
energy and overwhelm you. You may think that doing Feng-Shui takes too
much time, but creating open space in your world actually frees up more
time and energy to attract the people and opportunities that will
really satisfy your heart and soul.
3. Every day forgive one act of yours or someone you know.
By living a life of conscious self-acceptance and learning to forgive
ourselves, we become able to forgive others. The gift of forgiveness is
for ourselves, not the person who caused us pain. By forgiving, we are
taking back the control that we have given over to those who we feel
have hurt us.
By learning to forgive others, we give ourselves the gift of freedom
from the past. Forgiveness loosens the debilitating constraints of
anger, resentment, cynicism and despair—and frees our heart to swell
with joy. When you feel someone has harmed you, try to understand the
situation by putting yourself in his or her shoes. Stop holding others
and yourself hostage. Accept our human tendency to make mistakes and
4. Meet one new person a day.
Every human being has a unique story to tell—and a special gift for
you. Every personal life story you hear expands your own personal
horizon of possibilities. Even a one-minute encounter with a stranger
enlarges your universe.
5. Discover one new shape in Nature every day.
As you encounter shapes and forms that are new to your awareness each
day, you increase the possibilities for re-shaping your world. As you
expand your experience of the infinite spectrum of ways life expresses
itself on the planet, you add to the range of choices and options
available to you.
6. Every day ask one fresh question of life you’ve never asked before.
The quality and scope of one’s life is determined by the quality and
scope of one’s questions. Questions open doors, invite change, welcome
new opportunities. Question the past—liberate your future!
7. Each day eat one new food you’ve never eaten before.
Or mix foods and ingredients that you’ve never combined before. Or eat
a type of cuisine you’ve never enjoyed before. As you open to fresh
culinary experiences, you also open to fresh social and spiritual
8. Change one old entrenched attitude each day.
Take ownership of your attitude. You control your attitude. It’s not
something that you are genetically or environmentally stuck with. You
can choose your attitude.
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. When we fall into the trap of the
all-or-nothing mindset, we experience any obstacle as equaling total
failure of the entire project—or of one’s entire life. Try not to
overreact or blow events out of proportion. Focus on what is working in
a situation, not on what’s not working at the moment. Don’t let the
little things drive you crazy, weigh you down or immobilize you.
Lighten up, smile more, frown less.
Remember that each step in life is just one small step—and is not
necessarily a vital or crucial step. If you don’t succeed at that step,
try another approach in another direction from another angle. Keep the
big picture in mind. Breathe.
9. Find a fresh aspect of your life to laugh about every day.
How do angels fly? They take themselves lightly.
Certainly there are times when life presents major challenges and one
needs to act clearly and directly, but behaving responsibly and
efficiently does not by any means preclude humor and light-heartedness.
In fact, a flexible, fluid, upbeat approach and attitude is crucial to
releasing magic and miracles into the healing equation.
Inspiration and breakthrough are often born from the spirit of
playfulness and exuberance. A spontaneous wink, a funny smile, a comic
gesture can unlock deep fears and stress in a stern person or tense
situation. Through conscious silliness the soul can emerge.
Doctors, nurses and attendants now use “clowning” in hospitals to jolt
and move the healing process with patients. Scientific studies prove
that when people are laughing and having fun, they experience less
physical and psychological pain—and recover faster. Laugh more, mend
quicker and live longer!
10. Be silent and still once a day.
Make regular time for yourself in which you can be totally alone. Just sit quietly with no expectations. Do nothing!
This may feel very uncomfortable and strange in the beginning. Do it anyway.
Give yourself time and space for the inner voice to make itself heard.
Your inner voice will speak either during that quiet time, or else
during the events of the rest of your day. Or a synchronistic event
will occur. Or someone will tell you the message you need to hear. Or
you will get a sudden flash of insight in the shower or watching a
11. Tolerate one less undesirable aspect of your life each day.
Take action to change the situations in which you are settling for less
than your desired dream. You can only compromise yourself—and your
dream—so much before you lose sight of the vision altogether. The
things you are putting up with keep you from being yourself and
evolving as a human being.
Speak up. Once you know what you need, let others know. Be honest with
others about your needs and boundaries. If you remain silent, you’ll
disappoint yourself and others more than the truth ever could do.
12. Take on one fresh risk or challenge every day.
Fear less, dare more. Take at least one action each day that scares
you. Face one truth you haven’t been able or willing to acknowledge
before. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Set yourself free.
Take your aliveness up a notch. Ask for more and reach for more.
Upgrade your dream. Revitalize your life. New experiences make our
13. Tell one new person your dream everyday.
Network. Elicit feedback from a trusted friend, mentor or family
member. Listen to a neighbor, co-worker or store clerk. Value your
relationships. Call someone who is uplifting, or uplift someone else.
It’s your joy—to use or lose.
About The Author
Keith Varnum has 30 years of practical success as an author,
accupuncturist, personal coach, filmmaker, vision quest guide and
international seminar leader, and is the owner of
http://www.TheDream.com and http://TheCareerDoctor.net.