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Live Happier Tip: View Your Life as a Visitor

This weekend I joined two of my favorite people, my mom and my aunt on a 24-hour marathon trip to attend my cousins baby shower.   I am a big fan of travel.  I love to travel because it breaks up the routine and allow me to get a new perspective.  I had a client, who deals with anxiety, explain why she loves traveling.  She said “I love traveling because it is the only time when I don’t have to think about my ‘to-do’ list because I traveling is one giant to-do: TRAVEL.  That is all you have to do, just travel. ”

Now and then a client will say something that just blows me away–that was a reason why I liked traveling too!  Traveling allows you to pay attention to the small stuff. You aren’t worried about the to-do list you are thinking about where to eat your next meal, what the scenery looks like, what your travel companions are saying.  You are looking at the little things.  The secret is in the little things.  For me traveling allows me to see the world with wonder and amazement–but what if I brought that wonder home to my house.  What if I treated my next meal the way I treat eating while traveling.  Rather than thinking of it as a to-do what if I thought of the most delectable healthy thing I could eat.  What if I observed the leaves changing in my town as much as I did on the east coast?  What if I listened to my friends and acquaintances as much as I listened to my mom and aunt?  What if I became more concentrated on the little things and less about the to-do list.

So when I got home yesterday, I decided to try it–to look at my life through the eyes of a visitor.  I looked at my house as I did the bed and breakfast–with new eyes of fascination and appreciation. I ate my meal with excitement. I read my book with full attention and was able to put aside my list of to-dos. And today I relaxed my to-do list mind and greeted the day with wonder and adventure.  I still accomplished a lot, but it was less about checking off the to-do and more about the experience.

I will always love travel because it does shake up the normal routine and allows me to see new places.  However, it is helpful now and then to look at your life as if it were some new destination.  To greet the day with wonder and adventure rather than a long list of to-dos. I challenge you to the experiment of viewing your life as a visitor and tell me what you learned.

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