Zest is defined as living life with a sense of excitement, anticipation and energy, and is an essential element that nurtures our soul, gives us spirit and makes us human.
Those who have zest exude this energy when approaching life, which can be truly contagious. But why is zest one of the most essential elements we really need to nurture (when it's so often forgotten), and why is it the key to our future happiness?
Zest For Life And The Six Human Virtues...
Zest is a component of one of the six human virtues that make up human strength...
- Wisdom and knowledge,
- Virtue and courage,
- Temperance and
It's one of the components of virtue and courage and is an essential element of 'positive psychology', a relatively new and exciting field of academic study.
This study shows we have all got certain human qualities that enable us to thrive. It's founded on the belief that we all naturally want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what's best within ourselves, and to enhance our experiences of love, work, and play. Any distraction from this is simply temporary.
Excitingly this means that even when negative events happen in our lives, we just need a bit of help to reconnect to our own natural source of energy, happiness and zest.
A common trait of zestful people is that they seem to enjoy things more than those with low levels of zest. Studies show that they are happier, more self sufficient, have more energy and achieve more in their lives.
Is this the big secret? Is having more zest the answer to getting more out of life and achieving more happiness?
The diagram above explains the theory in more detail. Notice how the only element directly linking to happiness, and our understanding of it, is 'zest'.
Zest For Life And Happiness
HAPPINESS = ZEST = Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.
If I ask you now what it is you want out of life, I bet one of your top answers will be to find happiness and more zest for life. Then if I ask you what you want for your children or family, again one of your top answers will be for them to find a happy life too.
Yet, if I ask you how you, your children or your family intend to secure that happiness and zest for life then I know you’ll find that question a lot harder to answer.
So exactly how do you get more happiness?
Being happy is something we all think about a lot and we want it so badly, but many of us have no idea how to get it.
We share thoughts about it on social media, we talk about happiness amongst our friends and family and we discuss our need for it at work… and yet none of us REALLY know how to get more of it.
Also, what seems to work for one person doesn’t work for you and that just leaves you feeling worse and even more lost.
I believe that happiness is a skill. It’s something you have to work at to get it, grow it and keep it. It takes practice and must be nurtured regularly, and it’s not easy… believe me.
If someone’s happier than you, they weren’t born that way. They just have a slightly more developed set of happiness skills than you. But it doesn’t have to be that way and changing it is possible and it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you think you will achieve happiness by being richer or prettier then I’m afraid you’re wrong. Scientific studies show that winning the lottery will not make you happier. In fact, some of the richest people in the world are just as happy as some of the poorest. Also, studies show that some of the prettiest supermodels are less happy than the average citizen.
This might be surprising, but it’s also reassuring. You can now cross off winning the lottery, becoming richer or becoming prettier from your ‘How To Be Happy’ list and start re-writing another one based on existing science, on your individual needs, and on realistic goals and outcomes.
Once you have clarity about exactly what works for you then you can really become the master of your own happiness and help your family become the master of theirs too and boost your zest for life at the same time.
The Link Between Fear And Achieving A Zestful life
As you can see in the diagrams above, Zest is a component of the human element to be virtuous (to be morally good) and courageous (being fearless, brave and confident).
Over the course of time I have come to believe that being fearful is one of the main reasons for personal unhappiness and turmoil. If we can conquer our fears, we can transform ourselves and increase our happiness levels.
Did you know that we are actually born fearless?
It's events in our lives, society and the conditioning within it that makes us fearful and it's this fear that's eroding our happiness levels.
If I hadn't conquered my own fears that I might experience another stroke without warning... then every day I would find it hard to step outside my house.
If I hadn't conquered my fears that 'my writing will never be good enough' then I wouldn't have discovered that it held the key to my recovery.
The same may apply to you.
Are you in a job you hate but are too worried about moving on because of your fear of not being able to pay the bills?
Are you desperate to be a painter, but fear rejection from your peers that your paintings just aren't good enough?
Put simply... if I hadn't conquered my own fears then I wouldn't have been able to achieve the happiness I have.
“Unhappiness comes from fear: The fear of not having enough and the fear of not being enough.” Cara Stein
Zest For Life And The Laws Of Attraction...
There's no doubt that the laws of attraction in life are constantly in motion. This 'New Thought Philosophy' states that "like attracts like" and sums up the idea that by focusing on a positive or negative thought, a person can bring a positive or a negative experience into their life.
For example, if someone is happy, vibrant and zestful then they are likely to attract more people, friendships, connections and opportunities into their life with the same energy.
The idea is you shape your thoughts towards the positive, celebrate your good experiences, visualise what you want to achieve in the future. In doing so you will become what you think about most and attract what you think about most. As Buddha said:
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."
So, having more zest can indicate how someone will approach life, the positive thoughts and energy they put into their life and therefore the positive thoughts and energy they will receive in return.
If the idea of the Laws of Attraction sounds a bit hippy to you, think about the physics of energy. We are all vibrating with magnetic frequencies all the time, and like magnets, similar frequencies are attracted back to us. Yep, this isn’t just spiritual mumbo jumbo... this is science.
Key Ways To Discover More Zest...
In my view, if you want to be happier then the key is to work on your zest levels, and increase your energy and optimism. But its difficult to know where to begin and that's what I want to help you with.
There are some surprisingly simple things you can do right now, to:
- Measure your current zest and happiness levels;
- Once you have that baseline the next step is to understand how to improve them; and
- Finally, you can set a number of easy to achieve actions that will help you boost your zest for life.
To help you achieve this I've developed a free zest boosting pack to help you get your happiness back on track.
Most people go through life and never figure this stuff out, so make sure you're not one of them and grab yourself a copy today.