Exercising helps me to feel good. I’ve always enjoyed exercising. I like the feel of pushing my muscles through a workout. I like the feel of sweat running down my face. I can be carrying a load of troubling thoughts when I begin to exercise. Somehow, exercising cuts the troubling thoughts down to size. If I’m fortunate, I’ll have a brainstorm that will pop out of out nowhere as I exercise. For me, exercising is beneficial on multiple levels. It helps me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you’re into exercise, you know what I mean. If you’ve been thinking about exercising, start slow, and find a routine to works for you.
Want to Feel Happier? Music Can Help
The Atlanta Institute of Music and Media provided the following information on how listening to upbeat, happy music can be good for us.
Music tends to hit on us a deep level. Whether it is sad music that helps us feel relatable when we are going through hard times or joyful music that adds an extra bounce to your step, music is incredibly powerful. . . . The Journal of Positive Psychology conducted a study in 2013 that discovered that individuals who listened to music that could be classified as happy and upbeat were able to improve their mood and overall happiness in just a few weeks. Throughout the study, participants were encouraged to try to improve their mood, but they were only able to find success when they listened to happier music. The music options that were offered were Copland (upbeat) compared to the gloomier Stravinsky.
Feeling good about yourself is great, but there are larger implications at play. Did you know that a better overall mood and demeanor are linked to the following:
- Better physical health
- Higher income
- Greater relationship satisfaction
Note: Why not create a personal playlist of songs that make you feel happy and want to sing along? You’ll get physical and emotional benefits from listening to your “happy” playlist.
Learning to Swim Upstream
Fears visit everyone. Some people give into their fears and their fears dominate their lives. They allow their fears to become their master. When fears become our master, happiness cannot penetrate the barriers erected by them. One way to become the master of our fears is take action against them. Salmon swim upstream to spawn. In the same way, what an irrational fears tells us what to do, we do the opposite. We swim upstream against the fear’s rushing waters. We soon learn the rushing waters become a trickle. We mastered the fear. The barriers preventing happiness disappear. Life is once again good.
The Little Things Add Up
Practicing common curtesies makes all the difference. One of the reasons I like living in south Texas is that folks still practice common courtesies. Rarely do I hear a horn blaring if someone is stopped at a red light and not paying attention to when it turns greens. Going in and out of a building it’s common to have someone hold the door for the next person coming through. And, people are not afraid to smile and greet each other with a good morning or buenas dias. It’s the little things that make one realize we’re all riding together on planet Earth and we just might make it if we’re a bit more friendly toward each other.
A Bountiful Treasure
I traveled to Albuquerque, NM, to visit a daughter and her family. Hospitality and love were the operative words for my visit. I felt both as I passed through security and saw my daughter waving her arm at me. We were both waving and the people near my daughter said to her, “You both look so happy.” We were. I visited over the weekend and every moment was a moment filled joy and love. Those are things that can’t be bought, I packed more than my backpack when I left. I packed love and treasured memories. Connect with family and friends. There is your treasure.
Staying Angry is Not a Pathway to Happiness
Folks who enjoy finding fault and criticizing other are seldom happy. Check out the angry talking heads on the political cable news channels. I think most forgot how to smile. The happier folks are those who don’t let anger dominate their lives. They recognize their own imperfections, avoid condemning others, and seek to discover peaceful and constructive ways to interact with all who pass through their life. I\
Reframing How You View a Situation Can Change Your Life
According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, people who reframe difficult situations and discover the possibilities within them are much happier and tend to live longer than those who don’t. The article states, “When some people confront difficulties, they tend to only view the negative aspects of the situation. Also, they consider these aspects unchangeable. To reframe a difficult situation, search for any positive aspects or silver linings. Is there anything you can learn from the situation? Is there anything you can teach to others about the situation, after you resolve it?”
NOTE: We all experience tough times. Tough times happen. We don’t have to let the tough times defeat us. I’ve experienced my share. Yet, out of every tough experience, something good came to me. A good friend told me, “Ray, you always end on your feet.” I think a big part of ending on my feet was my expectation that I would end on my feet. Don’t let the tough times hold you captive. Seize the possibilities within them and move on.
I don’t need drink to feel good. I don’t need to a trip to an exotic destination to feel good.
When I know I am loved and can share my love in return my heart is at peace. It’s all good.
Some people make you feel good each time you enter their sphere. My Uncle Joe was that kind of person. He was a truck driver and he worked on cars in a garage at the rear of his house. When I was young, I walked a mile and half down the tracks to his house. I’d walk into his garage and he’d stop working on a car and welcome me. He made me feel welcome. He’d talk to me while he worked and I felt like I belonged. He had a special gift. I looked up to him. When people are made to feel wanted, the sun breaks through the clouds and a rainbow appears.
Are You Living a Meaning-Filled Life?
Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan did a 7 year study of over 43,000 adults age 40 to 79 asking if they had ikigai (a Japanese term for meaning in life) and then tracked their health. People with ikigai were much more likely to be alive 7 years later.
NOTE: When we have meaning in our life, we have a reason to get up and get going. We’re not going to be bored. We’re not going to feel useless. We’re not going to feel powerless. Meaning is almost always associated with something beyond ourselves. It might be taking care of one’s garden, e.g., “The plants need me.” It might be a project at work that needs your personal skills. If we have a meaning, we’ll find a way. When we find a way, we feel better. We know our life is significant.