10 Ways To Create a Better Day

by Shelley

Wednesdays can be difficult…3 days away from the remembrance of a relaxing week-end and yet 3 more days until the next one rolls around…and still SO much to do. I needed some inspiration today and so I opened up my iTunes and chose Enya’s “Paint the Sky With Diamonds” to help me through the afternoon.

Most of you probably don’t know that I danced ballet for over 10 years or that I broke my foot practicing entrechat cinq, a ballet movement beginning in 5th position and in which a dancer jumps in the air and crosses her straight legs at the calves quickly. What a dancer is NOT supposed to do (and what I did) is to land on the side of the foot thus creating a spiral fracture. CRACK! That was in my late thirties.

Anyway……..our class practiced to Enya, Celine, Disney’s Tarzan movie track, NSYNC and other non-traditional music. So to hear Enya brings me back to one of my passions and makes me happy.

There is a quote I read today by Margaret Bonanno that states “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis”. I guess that if you skip one happy day, then you must start all over again. Each day makes up the sum total of “happily ever after”.

For those of us who are caregivers or who get caught up in our enormous “To Do” Lists or are just trying to get through the day unscathed, this is a gentle reminder to be intentional about creating happiness in our daily lives.

1. Train yourself not to take the bait the next time a loved one, a boss, a coworker or a customer service agent attempts to engage you in an argument. Does it REALLY matter whether the Lakers are better than the Celtics or that Mom seems ungrateful that you gave up your favorite show so that she could watch hers?

2. Rearrange the living room. When you walk into your home, you want to feel nourished. Take a look around. Is it cluttered? Is it dreary? Dusty? Do you hate the color on the walls? Have you been looking at the same old knick-knacks for 5 years straight? Change it up. Add a bouquet of flowers, a (new) favorite photo, a bowl of fresh fruit. Paint the walls a new color. Add a chair from a different room. (If you have a hospital bed in your living room, does it REALLY need to be there? Chances are there is somewhere else it could be placed.)

3. Research “jokes about oranges” on Google. Of course, you can choose a different subject. The idea is to find something funny so that you can laugh.

4. Plant a pot of annuals (or buy a bunch of flowers). You could even gather some wildflowers while you’re out on your walk. It’s amazing how pretty a bunch of dandelions can look when placed in a tiny vase. Flowers are bright, cheery and help connect you to nature.

5. Open the windows. We have become a society that tends to shut ourselves in because we feel safer that way. Take a little time to open some windows and create a fresh breeze for awhile. The house air gets stale and contributes to fatigue.

6. Try fishing. It’s very relaxing (it almost forces you to relax, unless you are attempting to catch a marlin, tuna or large salmon). You don’t have to keep the fish – they can be thrown back into the pond or lake.

7. Join a kick-boxing class. I have a friend who just took this up last year and she loves it. If kick-boxing is not your style, try yoga, pilates, ballet or zumba!

8. Find a kind of meditation that feels right and promise yourself to give it “the old college try”. There are many different kinds of meditation: guided imagery, transcendental, mindfulness, etc. I always had trouble with guided imagery and so was resistant to meditation for a long time. Now I practice a meditation that simply concentrates on “being”. There are many meditation apps available for “smart phones”.

9. Sit in the shade under a tree and watch the world around you. Perhaps you might even bring a book or a magazine. Give yourself permission to stay there for at least 30 minutes.

10. Buy a 1 or 2 pieces of your favorite chocolate. Iris Murdoch says “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats”.

Treat yourself well.


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