In a year like 2020. most of us think that the world has gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket when actually it just takes a minute to shift one's perspective in order to re-evaluate what is happening within you, around you and what you actually have.
I'm not necessarily talking about material things, or money or stuff ... ALTHOUGH the inspiration for this blog-post came to me when I realized we had NINE boxes of Christmas decorations (not including two trees, which happen to be stored in separate boxes; so ELEVEN.)
Something rushed through me as I moved the ninth box. This feeling, as if to say - You're Doing Just Fine!
I mean, it wasn't as if I felt as though I wasn't doing just fine, it's just that this year really hit. It hit hard. It made EVERYONE ruminate about stuff that lay dormant in our minds for a long time and to ponder about what the future holds.
ABC News Anchor, Dan Harris, says, "people confuse happiness with excitement, and we give too much weight to specific times when we felt unhappy, which can then imbue us with an overall sense of dissatisfaction."
Shifting your thinking about happiness from a mental high to a quieter, underlying sense of serenity can help you shake free of the idea that we're all emotionally doomed.
Have you ever asked yourself the question - what really makes us happy?
Happiness has always been a pretty big topic, but as of 2020 this topic has taken to new heights.
Bad stuff happens to everyone. We all know this. This year, something bad happened to the entire planet.
A pandemic is huge stuff.
When something bad happens to us, it's normal to feel sad, or shaken, or awkward. I mean, hell, most of us feel irritated, rattled and even downright angry.
Being a happy person means having an underlying sense of well-being that lets you return to your baseline mood more quickly. Sometimes in-the-moment stress is actually necessary for long-term happiness.
There is no right or wrong way to feel good. But there are some things to take note of to help you shift your focus, change perspective and remember . . . you're doing just fine.
G R A T I T U D E
The important thing to remember is that we all have an emotional bank account. Every single day, hundreds of times a day, something wonderful happens, but. in a flash, the moment passes. Are you making a deposit into that account, or a withdrawal?
People that practice gratitude take moments like these to sit in the feeling of gratitude. Hold on to it. Imprint it on their mind. Bask in it. Make a deposit.
Our goal is to take the many moments that happen throughout the day and use the feelings to increase the balance of our emotional bank account.
In other words, doing this strengthens our baseline mood.
G E T A C T I V E
Did you know that exercise functions as an antidepressant? When you are active, you are doing amazing things for yourself and for your levels of happiness.
It doesn't matter what you do. Take a walk. Yoga. Running. Cycling. Skiing, Hiking, Lifting weights, Boxing, Pilates . . . the list goes on . . .
Studies show that movement of the body and getting it to be active changes the brain in the same way as antidepressant medication.
People who work out for just ten minutes a day, are happier than people who never work up a sweat.
C O N N E C T I O N
Part of the reason I think that Eureka Springs is an ideal hamlet to shelter-in-place is because of the strong sense of community.
It's difficult to socialize these days, especially when all the signs tell you to "practice social distancing." We've been taught to believe that having hundreds of friends will make us happy but actually studies show that having a few high-quality relationships is what's most important.
Eureka Springs thrives on fostering high-quality relationships. That is how this community has flourished for years. Here, in this small town of 2500 people, many of us have someone we can call if we need to vent, or if we are feeling lonely, or if we just want to laugh.
Just the other day, our neighbor, Una Grace, posted on Facebook about how she threw her back out, and another neighbor, and good friend of Una's, Kiki Lin, swiftly stepped to the rescue and personally delivered a care package to make her feel well again.
This moment brought me joy, and I took a moment to hold on to it, imprint it on my mind. Bask in it. I made a deposit.
Remember, your happiness moments are in your control.
There is a deep well of research that indicates that positive short-term experiences can have a lasting impact on a person's emotional bank account and therefore their baseline mood.
They key is to make happy moments sink-in so that they can change your brain - this is a process known as positive neuroplasticity.
When you feel happy - grateful, relaxed, appreciated - sit on the feeling for breath or two. Really feel it in your body and focus on what is enjoyable about it. Savor your happy moments just as you would a good glass of wine or a delicious dinner.
Each step elevates the way your brain converts passing experiences into lasting changes in your mind and mood. It's life-changing.
These two miners will NEVER forget this life-changing moment.
How are you basking in your hundreds of moments of happiness and gratitude each day? Every happy moment has the power to profoundly improve your baseline mood if you just give it a chance. ❤️