Nourishing versus not nourishing — that is the question!

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When people ask me for one easy way they can start to create a life and work they love, I offer them this simple tool.

I call this exercise “Nourishing versus not nourishing.”

All you have to do is come up with two lists. Here are the instructions to get started:

  • Take a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle from the top of the paper to the bottom.
  • At the top of the left hand side of the paper, write the word “nourishing.”
  • At the top of the right hand side of the paper, write the words “not nourishing.”

Now, think of all the different kinds of activities you engage in on a daily or weekly basis. And as you think about each activity, decide whether you would consider it to be “nourishing” or “not nourishing,” and place it in the appropriate column.

For example, say you take a yoga class once a week. Most likely, you’d put yoga class in the nourishing column.

For another example, say you find yourself spending 3–4 hours a day scrolling through Facebook as a way to pass the time. For many people, this might fit in the “not nourishing” column. But, for you, maybe not.

You get to decide what is nourishing or not nourishing to you.

Sometimes people tell me that the activity could fit in both columns. What’s a person to do?

The answer is to be more specific in describing the activity so that you can parse out in what ways the activity is nourishing, and in what ways is the activity not nourishing.

For example, some of my clients consider their job to be a key activity, but they would put it in both columns. Sometimes they feel nourished at work, and sometimes they don’t.

In this case, I would ask them to list out what aspects of their job feel nourishing.

One person might say, “I like when I get to work with other people.” This person would then write this response down in the nourishing column.

And this same person might say, “I hate it when I’m given a short deadline at the last minute, when I could’ve been given a heads up earlier.” This would go in the non-nourishing column.

The same principle could be applied to something like watching tv. Are there particular programs that help you feel nourished, and are there some that don’t?

Once you start to list out the activities in these two different columns, you may start to see more clearly how you’re spending your time.

Are you engaging in life activities that are more nourishing or less nourishing?

And once you become more aware, then you can begin to make choices about how you live your life.

If you find that your life could use some more nourishment, here’s what you can do.

Think of some different activities that you can add to your life that make you feel more healthy, grounded, joyous and nourished.

Some examples of nourishing activities might be:

  • Get a massage more regularly.
  • Choose healthier foods when you go grocery shopping.
  • Reach out to friends and family more often.
  • Read books that interest you.
  • Volunteer for a cause you believe in.

As you focus more energy on filling your day with nourishing activities, what ends up happening is that the non-nourishing events start to dissipate, all on their own.

Why? Because they’re not given as much time or energy as before.

You can witness this principle in a garden.

When weeds don’t get the water, sunlight or nutrients they need to survive, they automatically start to wither.

The heart of today’s teaching can be encapsulated in this simple quote:

Whatever you focus on expands.

If you become clearer about what nourishes you in your life and you focus your energy on those things, then your life as a whole feels more nourished.

Yes, it is as simple as that.

Abundant Blessings and Namaste.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s post. What activities in your life nourish you? Please leave a comment below. Feel free to give some “claps” while you’re at it!

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Note: This article was originally published at

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I’m a spiritual life coach at where I help people create a practical and joy-filled spiritual path to career and financial freedom.

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