“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

In life, we all have the same hierarchical needs: love, food, shelter, water, companionship, and a chance for self-realization and fulfillment. At the end of the day though, most people live on auto-pilot, thinking they have no control, and only experience what they need for basic survival, such as food, water, and shelter.

But what about the dreams, passions, love, and companionship?

Those aspects of life make us actually feel alive.  They give us a reason to wake up each morning and live life with intention, direction, and drive to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. If tomorrow turned out to be your last day here on Earth, wouldn’t you want to look back and say you lived life to the fullest? If you want to fill your life with happiness, abundance and freedom now, these tips can help you create that life you have always dreamed of and leave behind the habit of merely existing.

11 Ways to LIVE (Not Just Exist)

1. Conquer Your Fears

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

What does this quote mean exactly? Well, nearly everything people want in life involves a certain level of uncertainty and fear. Let’s say you want to travel the world, and you have never left the country before. You have no idea what to expect about other cultures, the laws in other countries, and a whole new way of life.

Perhaps you dream every day of just leaving your life behind and starting a new chapter full of adventure. But you let your fears stop you. You say “I might run out of money. Someone might hurt me. I might not find a place to stay.” You let your mind take over and come up with every possible worst-case scenario.

The best way to get over your fear is to do what you’re most afraid of. You’ll feel more accomplished, fulfilled, happy, peaceful, and ultimately, more alive. Let your fears fuel your passion instead of allowing them to stunt your progress. If more people allowed their hearts rather than minds to serve as their compass, this whole world would explode with passion and people following their dreams. Leave fear behind and embrace the courage within you! All of us have it, and you are no different. You are capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to if you just believe in the power within.

2. Allow Yourself to Shine

Being your unique self gives you the freedom to move through life in a state of “flow,” not worrying what others think or say about you.  Acknowledge your highest self and allow it to flourish! There’s only one of you, and no one possesses all the same amazing qualities as you, so own them. Let your most authentic nature come to life and run free; most people go through life being afraid of who they really are, not allowing their true selves to come to life.

3. Surround Yourself With Uplifting People

In order to really feel alive, you must find others who love living just as much (or more!) In general, you should try to find people on the same mission as you, who value following their dreams and actively work toward fulfilling them every day. Some people believe that you become who you surround yourself with, so keep that in mind as you choose your friends and romantic relationships. When you surround yourself with happy, positive and inspiring people, you choose life. You choose to keep the company of those who allow their true selves to shine, and those who welcome abundance and happiness into their lives. If your current friends or partner make you feel down, uninspired, or discontent with life, consider finding new people to hang around.

You deserve to feel excited about life, and who you surround yourself with can either help or hurt you along your journey. While every relationship can teach us something, you have to discern which relationships are worth keeping from those that are best left in the past. Negative people can hold you back, while positive people can encourage you to become the best version of yourself. Positive energy naturally vibrates at a higher frequency than negative energy, so you naturally will feel more alive by choosing more positive people in your life.

Sever the toxic relationships in your life and spread your wings.

4. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

It’s important to acknowledge the abundance present in all our lives and give thanks for what we have every single day. When you practice gratitude each day, instead of just chosen holidays during the year, you’ll find out that you have even more to be thankful for. The Universe responds positively to anyone expressing their thanks and provides even more to be thankful for as a result.

If you have been feeling down lately, try waking up each day and reminding yourself what you love about your life. You may have pets you absolutely adore, loving friends and family, and a job you look forward to going to each day. When you express gratitude to the Universe, it listens. The energy you put out into the world comes back to you, so by reminding yourself of your blessings, you will find yourself being blessed with even more!

5. Follow Your Heart

When you give in to your heart’s deepest desires, you begin to see life in a different way. Everything seems to look more vibrant and alive, reflecting your inner state of being. You might feel pressured to follow a certain path to please your parents, friends, or spouse, but that might not necessarily be the path you want to take. Part of embracing your true self is in listening to your inner voice, not the voice of others telling you how to live your life. Only you can walk your path and make your dreams come true.  Make sure you live life based on your ideals rather than everyone else’s. No one can tell you how to live your life except for you, because it is only yours to live.

When you follow your heart, you unlock parts of yourself that have been dormant for years. You can transform your life from complacency to unbelievable exuberance by choosing to listen to the power of your own inner voice.

6. Practice Unconditional Love

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we perpetuate a hateful attitude toward others, we invite that same energy onto ourselves. Hate is easy, but doesn’t feel nearly as good as love does. By giving your love to others no matter their actions towards you, you learn how to love without conditions. How others treat you is a reflection of them, not you, just as how you treat others mirrors your own character. Responding to life in a hateful manner makes you more inclined to feel stressed, negative, and ungrateful. It also discourages others from wanting to spend time with you, and blocks positive energy from coming your way.

When you learn to look at everything from a loving perspective, and realize that everyone deserves love despite their words or actions, you say yes to life and no to anything less.

7. Enjoy the Simple Things

”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris

When you take note of the little things in life, you actually become more alive. You allow yourself to slow down and embrace the simple beauty behind everything in the Universe, and embrace what is rather than what isn’t. Before work each morning, make it a point to watch the sunrise. Spend some time with your kids before they go off to school. Make the most of each moment and realize what a beautiful universe we live in. If you stop and look around, you will notice that life in itself is a gift, and should not be taken for granted.

8. Give Without Expectations

One of the easiest ways to feel alive comes from giving. When you give clothes to the less fortunate, give presents to family and friends around the holidays, or give your time to volunteer for a good cause, you will start feeling more vibrant because others will benefit from your actions. Every day is a new opportunity to give, and we all have something valuable to offer. And when you give without expecting anything in return, you represent who you are in the purest form, which is Love. Love doesn’t expect or demand to be given back, it just is.

So, embrace who you are and give what you can to help others in need. Giving to others is the best gift you could possibly give to yourself.

9. Embrace Your Inner Child

We all are just kids in adult bodies, after all, so do something your inner child would love. Go to the amusement park, play arcade games, or race go-karts. Part of growing up means taking on adult responsibilities, and we often lose ourselves in them.

Take time to nourish your soul and do something that makes you laugh; you may get behind on your errands or chores for the day, but it’s worth it sometimes to forget the real world for a while and get lost in an endless land of imagination and wonder.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

10.  Go Somewhere New

Have you always dreamt of going camping, but never had the chance to try it? Pack up your gear and go to your favorite spot in the wilderness for a few hours or days. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so give your eyes something new to look at on a weekend when you can get away.

Your soul will feel rejuvenated when you put a new experience under your belt, and you will feel more thankful for life by getting out of your usual environment for even a short time.

11. Live in the Now

One of Eckhart Tolle’s most celebrated books, The Power of Now, explains the power of the present moment, and why no other moment matters but this one. The now is all we’ve got, so we might as well make the most of it and realize that we can create the future we envision by simply doing what we want in the present. This life is short, so don’t worry about the problems of the past or the uncertainty of the future. When you find yourself looking too far back or forward, center yourself in what is happening now, and remember that life occurs when you create it. You can’t create in the past or the future – only in the now.

Simply embracing the now will make you feel more peaceful and allow you to let go and experience the joy in every moment.