The Happiness Project, The First Week in the Second Year of The New Abnormal

I subscribe to The New York Times.  As an online subscriber I often miss stories and articles that are of interest to me. However, I was fortunate enough to receive the Happiness Challenge of this last week.  It wasn’t an outsized commitment but small acts of recognition and gratitude.  

For too many years I lived with a deprivation mindset.  It meant that I felt lacking in so many ways.  Even when good things took place, it felt like it wasn’t enough to fill the void.  I could intellectually recognize a good thing, but emotionally I wasn’t able to internalize it.  When I learned to be grateful for acts of kindness, and when I learned to appreciate moments of joy, I was able to slowly move away from resentment and feelings of deprivation. 

Happiness, at least as I understand it, is more of a mindset.  It doesn’t mean denying the unpleasant.  It only means that there is an open-mindedness to take in pleasure, care, and joy.  Happiness and joy can be cultivated.  So often life’s difficulties wear us down challenging our ability to appreciate the good in our lives.  Nonetheless, with intention we can rebuild the natural joy hidden within.  

By building relationships, and creating a bridge to old positive influencers, we will experience a shared happiness.  By serving others with no intention of having them give you something in return, joy is a welcomed by-product.  Little acts can have big returns.  You may have to exert courage to shift from scarcity of joy to ample happiness, but that courage will pay off.  

It’s so nice to live in the abundance of goodness all around us.  We only need to look to find it.  

Self-Care Tips:

Finding Joy, Week 39 in the Time of Coronavirus

I found joy on a rainy day.  Usually when it rains in this pandemic, I’ve been apt to wane in energy.  But when it was pouring outside this past week, I turned on an old dance playlist that Larry had previously made for me.  It includes disco, Klezmer music, Irish folk music, jazz and so much more.  I was in heaven.  It’s been so long since I’ve moved with utter abandon.  There I was in my office, all alone, dancing for a good hour to song after song, gyrating and laughing.  The power of music and movement is transformative.  

            I was slow to get out of bed as I felt the cool air while listening to the patter of the raindrops.  Coffee helped but it wasn’t the power elixir I needed.  At first I tried to go out for a walk, but the rain and wind were strong, and I didn’t want to start my workday wet.  So, I found my apple music app.  The last time I danced it was still called iTunes.  The first song was Elvis singing “All Shook Up.”  That got me into the mood without hesitation.  Luckily I’m on the first floor so no one was below me, allowing me to jump or spin when I was moved to do so.  

            In general, I’ve enjoyed small pleasures in this time of Covid-19.  I pass unexpected winter flowers.  Or I enjoy the cloud formations and light when the sky opens up between city buildings.  Fun is relative in the pandemic.  Yet, this past week fun was full and joyous.  Since I have hours of music, I’m going to dance again and again throughout the winter.  

Self-Care Tips:

  • Send holiday cards.  We all need a little lift these days.  And, everyone enjoys receiving mail that’s something other than bills or junk.  
  • Stamps.  To send the cards go to USPS.com to find stamps that reflect you.  Or create your own at Stamps.com.
  • Call a friend.  We’re so used to using social media to get caught up.  A person-to-person call is a lovely old-fashioned connection.  
  • Rub your feet.  If you can reach them try putting cream on the soles and rub it in.  If bending down is difficult, rub your bare feet on a soft rug.  
  • Dance with abandon, alone or with your pod.