Gone Fishing. Out to lunch. Take your pick. The latter is a double entendre in this case. I am taking the week off as I’m feeling like all cylinders are not fully functioning. Consequently, I am giving myself a brain break. We all need a break or breather periodically. It seems that my muses have gone on holiday. So why not me, right? All being well, as the song says, I’ll see you in September. Be well and stay safe.
How often do you say to someone or someone says to you, “Have a good day?” How often do you actually consider what that entails beyond a conversational courtesy? Whether it is in the middle of a pandemic or normal times having a good day can affect our happiness. Following is an exercise, should you choose to try it out, that can boost your happiness, increase the good days and improve overall well being.
For example, days when I have conversations with family and/or friends, get out for my morning walk, get to do a kindness for another, get chores done in a timely fashion, having opportunities for spontaneity, are components for a good day. All of these don’t need to happen each day for it to be a good day, but you get the idea. I can say that days when I do not have any of those conversations with others, are on the crummy side. Each of you will have your own unique activities that make for your good days.
The first part of the exercise is to evaluate what makes up your positive days. You might make some notes on what activities, what events, what interactions with others were parts of a good day. You might also want to assess what did or did not happen that made for bad days. This exercise should be done for at least two weeks, preferably a month. Use the following scale each day as a gauge:
10 = it was one of the best days of my life
9 = it was an outstanding day
8 = it was an excellent day
7 = it was a very good day
6 = it was a good day
5 = it was an average or typical day
4 = it was a sub par day
3 = it was a bad day
2 = it was a terrible day
1 = it was one of the worst days of my life
Do not review your record until you are done, but then go back and look for the pattern across the days and weeks. Compare the good days with the bad days in terms of what you were doing (or not) on these days. Everyone who has done this exercise reports that a pattern is readily apparent, and in some cases, it was one that surprised them.
The point of this exercise, to find your own formula and to devise your own strategy based on it. Once you find these, change your typical day, tempered of course by common sense. A glass of wine with dinner may contribute positively to your assessment of a good day, but there is no reason to think that two bottles in one sitting will make future days proportionately better. Similarly, a good night’s sleep might make for a good day, but that does not mean you should resolve to sleep your life away.
Now, you all have a good day!
*Based on a strategy found in A Primer In Positive Psychology by Christopher Peterson
Comments are welcomed.
I am now 2 years old going on 3. Just to clarify, I am not some precocious savant toddler who has been writing these blogs. Although, if true, wouldn’t that be something! What is true is that I am about to embark on a 3rd year of blogging. What’s also true is that this is a huge deal for me since it goes against my nature. That means that I tend to moan and groan over having weekly deadlines involving creative writing in particular.
So why this self-imposed torture? The long and short of it is that I was desperate for a creative endeavor. Due to being visually impaired, most activities that I would have enjoyed in which I had skills were no longer viable. Keeping with the short of it, what was left was writing. I came up with this pressure packed project of writing a weekly blog. For some inexplicable reason I managed to complete 2 years without missing a week. For further inexplicableness I decided to keep going. Again, why? Perhaps the pandemic has affected my brain cells.
I do get bogged down periodically and wonder if there is anything else to say that hasn’t already been said. How many times have we come across a topic that has been written about numerous times each with a different spin? There is actually a neurological reason that so many books or articles on a particular topic are available. David Rock, a neuroscientist, has written about how our brains have ‘quirks’ and we can read or hear things differently within ourselves or from person to person
“There ia a small set of quirks about the brain that require a lot of attention, if you want to succeed in the modern world. The reason these quirks require attention is that they are not insights we might learn automatically, like how to breathe.
“One reason there are so many books on these themes is that we need constant reminders, in different forms, of these ideas. The brain is highly dynamic, constantly changing, affected by your thoughts and environment, the people around you. Your brain is more like a forest than a computer, with connections changing constantly, with the light, with the time of day, with the seasons.
“Another reason there are so many books on a limited set of themes is because there are so many different people. All our brains, on one level, are very different. Once the information hits the cortex. Different brains require different contexts and messages.”
In simple terms, our brain quirks cause us to absorb info differently at different times said or read in different ways. That tells me I can pretty much write about whatever moves me at any given time. It will be news to somebody. With that, let’s see what a budding 3 year old can come up with.
Comments are welcomed.
And it’s August. I have this inexplicable thing about August. It’s a good inexplicable thing. I just can’t seem to drill down to the one underlying reason for the “August Thing.” So let’s just go with it is what it is.
There are many delightful characteristics about August. For example a couple of the national celebration days include August 8 which has a double dip. It is National Happiness Happens Day, which is lovely. My personal favorite is that August 8 is also National Sneak Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. I had a harrowing experience with zucchini when I lived on a farm for 8 hellish years. I wrote about this sorry tale in a previous blog. LINK Today being the 10th, I thought you’d like to know it is National S’mores Day. Bon appetit!
There are so many aspects of August one could talk about such as gem stones, flowers, holidays, watermelon, corn, fairs, harvest beginnings, for example. As we are now into the dog days of summer, let’s go with that. Are the dog days really about our four legged friends?
“We often hear about the “dog days” of summer but few know what the expression means. Some say that it signifies hot sultry days “not fit for a dog,” others suggest it’s the weather in which dogs go mad. The Dog Days of Summer describes the most oppressive period of summer, between July 3rd and August 11th each year. But where did the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs?
The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.
In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”
Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to Aug. 11.
While this period usually is the hottest stretch of summer, the heat is not due to any added radiation from Sirius, regardless of its brightness. The heat of summer is simply a direct result of the Earth’s tilt.
During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the tilt of the Earth causes the Sun’s rays to hit at a more direct angle, and for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days.” – from The Farmer’s Almanac
Okay, dogs of the world, you are off the hook for this one. I did a little more research and discovered that today, August 10, is National Spoil Your Dog Day. Caveat to dog spoilers: Do not share any of today’s S’mores with your dog. Chocolate can be deadly to your pet.
Comments are welcomed.
I had a number of things going on this week which captured my attention and held it hostage. I suddenly realized I had nothing prepared for my next blog. I came across some snippets of truisms and thought them worth sharing.
Patience is a theme that we are all working with these days. May we demonstrate patience with each other and with ourselves. May we cultivate this quality, and become masters of patience, even though we'd rather not.
The secret of patience is doing something else in the meantime.
You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass. - Timber Hawkeye
Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished. - Lao Tzu
You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.
Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians. - Chinese proverb
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. - Galileo
While global issues spiral out in worrisome ways, caterpillars are still transforming into butterflies, coffee still enchants us with its aroma, and the breeze still cools us off with a gentle touch. Let's not miss the everyday blessings that surround us and provide for us.
Comments are welcomed.