How to Have More Zest for Life

I think people can be forgiven for having a dip in or completely losing their zest for life considering the events of the past year as we have endured lockdowns and other effects of the pandemic. Today, I’m writing about having more zest for life and discovering it once again….

“Life is like a piano. Anyone can play a song through meaningless repetition, but it takes passion to play a masterpiece.”-  Anonymous

Zest is the essence of life for some. Without it, it can feel like there is no life. The past year in particular has made many feel that life is zestless, and other aspects of life can have the same effect sometimes. When we go through tough phases, we can suppress ourselves in such a way we feel like there is no zest, there is no hope, there is no enthusiasm.

For more on hope by the way, read this article: Finding Hope in Difficult Times.

Nevertheless, we are all capable of finding and cultivating all the zest we need to master and enjoy one’s life to the fullest. You may have to go back and examine  what you had, what you did, what you thought and what you felt in those days, those moments when you lived with joy, were naturally smiling and excited to see and understand how to develop it further and what the next steps are for you, but this article aims to give some ideas.

The research supporting Zest in life is rather compelling…. One study with over 5000 participants showed people with high zest are more satisfied with their lives and those with lower zest had lower life satisfaction (Parvaz, 2004). Another study with just under 12,000 participants showed zest contributed to the major ways humans experience happiness (Peterson, Ruch, Beerman & Park, 2007). Another study with nearly 10,000 participants showed those who have more zest also experienced higher satisfaction with their work and were more motivated by the enjoyment and meaning they got from work than chasing money (Peterson, Park, Hall & Seligman, 2009).  Children who were seen to be more zestful by their teachers, have higher levels of happiness too (Park & Peterson, 2006). 

Below are some steps you can follow to feel more zest and to go on to feel more enthusiasm for life and then move on to seek to experience life as an adventure.

Learn to give or share:

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

One of the best ways to be positive and create an environment of positivity around you is by sharing. Sharing one’s knowledge could be more gratifying than many other tasks we try to accomplish. Most of the rich and famous get their greatest satisfaction from supporting philanthropic causes and not just fan following. A visit to a destitute home, old age home, orphanage, etc. would bring upon a bigger smile than the material gifts that you recently received and create a longer term and deeper experience of satisfaction and happiness. When you give, share, support and teach others, your zest for life grows. 

Have meaningful goals:

Life often needs direction and a goal to achieve, or a sense of purpose to drive us and without any such things in our life it can appear or feel dull and meaningless. Stagnant life like stagnant water loses it’s life, it depletes our zest. Figure out what rings bells for you in your heart and mind. We are living beings and enjoy feeling alive. We sometimes need to know what we need and what we seek is better than giving up altogether in the seeking of adventure.

When you have a goal and a sense of purpose in life or you have a calling in life  – your passion awakens and zest increases. The best test is when, at the end of the day, you can say that you are in a better state of mind than it was in the morning. If you need help in this area, read this article: 5 ways to discover your life purpose today.

When you have goals, you usually have a sense of purpose that drives your vision and this will increase your inherent zest for life. 

Become a lifelong learner:

“Cultivate the habit of zest. Purposefully seek out the beauty in the seemingly trivial. Especially in the trivial. The colors and shapes of the foods you eat. The shadows a vase makes on your table. The interesting faces of the people on the bus with you.” – Karen Salmansohn 

The earlier mantra of the world was ‘knowledge is power’ but modern thinkers are sometimes more inclined to believe that ‘lifelong learning is power’. With quick and drastic changes in technology, demographics, human behaviour and generational cohorts, it is becoming seemingly important that one needs to stay on the learning curve much before than before, thereby bringing about constant learning. Hence, chances of sharing knowledge or one’s experiences are higher. Finding joy in learning more about life and ourselves and heightening one’s awareness raises our zest levels.

Read this article for more on this topic: Why self-education is so important.

Be optimistic:

“If things don’t come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit.” – Branch Rickey

When you look at the differences in the outcomes in life between those who were optimistic and those who were not, the research highlights major benefits for being optimistic in a variety of ways. Important for us here though is that optimism increases and improves a zest for life.

Read this article for more on this topic: 11 Ways to be more optimistic.

Step out of your comfort zone:

At the heart of adventure is stepping out of your comfort zone, of course.
Try out stuff that you normally wouldn’t have considered doing. Try to learn something new that you would otherwise hesitate to try. Take a couple of tiny steps outside your comfort zone and see what you find, because your comfort zone is often the rut in which you get stuck in and that saps your zest for life.

Once you are out of your comfort zone, there is no dearth of things to try out and learn. Keep experimenting, being curious and you’re sure to find a handful of things that really interest you once you start with them.

Learning new things, not getting too comfortable with where you are and shaking up and rearranging your life is what keeps you from getting bored.

Read these articles for more on this topic:
Important reasons to leave your comfort zone.
7 Steps to leave your comfort zone.

Fake it till you make it:

Fake excitement about something. Anything (work, academics, dance, anything). Do it diligently. Before you know it, you will start enjoying it.

You might initially feel like you are lying to yourself, but actually you are just disciplining yourself to be happy and building zest. And that is not a bad thing at all.

Be happy and engage in zestful living because it is the right thing to do and because it will lead you to numerous life benefits. Even if you have to fake it at times.

Discover the gold hidden in you:

Everyone of us is born to make a difference in one way or another, to play our part, and transform our corner of the world. Think of your challenges and get energised. Be excited about trying new solutions. Be alive!

When life pushes you down, push back! Take a 15-minute walk outdoors. According to studies, simply being in nature—with or without physical exercise—makes us feel more energetic.

“Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.” – Christian Dior

You are capable, you are creative, confront all the obstacles and show that you can overcome them. Take strength from moving the challenges and move ahead. Put wings under your dreams and make them happen. Treat life like an adventure and discover your zest for life.



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