It began with a purchase of a wireless keyboard. I’ve had a desk top computer with everything attached by wires. Yes, somewhat dinosaurish considering smart phones and nearly everything wireless. Still, it was a perfect set up for me until recently. The problem arose with that injury I’ve mentioned previously making it painful to sit at the computer for any length of time. Like most of us these days, my computer is a necessity. My well being depends upon it. Pathetic, but true. What to do? Of course, get a wireless keyboard that would stay by my side whereever I happen to be. Since I use a screen reader, I could be anywhere within 33 feet of the computer and hear what I was typing. This was too much fun.
I feel very fortunate that the simplest of things can lift my spirits and elicit sustained happiness. At least for one entire day. I began considering what else lifts my spirits and lightens my heart. They are truly the most seemingly insignificant moments. How often do we not realize the value of those moments until they become memories? I believe it is important to be aware and notice those moments, those small actions as they occur.
Memories play an important part as well. Science has shown how recalling a positive experience including the feeling associated with that experience can bring happiness in the present. We actually have a treasure trove of simple pleasures we can engage in to brighten our day. I thought I would share a few things that can uplift my mood like magic. A cup of good coffee is always a great starter.
Some others include: home made chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, conversations with my grandkids, sharing some of my dinner with the family dog (he is too cute and cuddly for words), A visit to the Lemon & Lavender boutique, having lunch or brunch out with a friend, spending time in a special place in nature, roasted chestnuts from a vendor, spring rain, the smell of fresh mown grass, getting on public transit and visiting a neighboring hood, wearing my hot pink denim jacket, acknowledging with gratitude the caring people in my life. I have a seriously long list if I were to continue. There are numerous memories to recall and savor as well.
Just thinking about the items that bring us happiness can in and of itself lighten our hearts. What is on your list? What are your simple joys? What makes you smile or laugh?
Comments are welcome.
What comes to mind when you hear the word pandemic? Thoughts of past influenza epidemics that wiped out huge populations around the world, right? Records of pandemics actually date back several centuries. A pandemic is defined as an epidemic that spread beyond a single country’s boundaries. I am not here to talk about the flu, the plague and the like. It has occurred to me that stress may be the new age pandemic. You can go anywhere in the world and people have stresses whether it is about work, family, health, necessities of life, survival.
What to do about stress? Medical and psychologicals sciences have proven that laughter is definitely the best medicine.
Dr Robert Holden -
Every day a new medical “wonder-drug” is launched by another global, multi-million dollar drugs industry, and yet, according to recent research, laughter is still the best medicine. A series of recent trials by scientists confirm that laughter is the most effective and inexpensive “drug” on the market. Here are some good reasons to carry on laughing.
Stationary Jogging - Imagine being prescribed laughter for weight loss. It is not as silly as it sounds. Dr William Fry Jr coined the terms “internal aerobics” and “stationary jogging” to describe the physical effects of a good belly laugh. His research found that laughter, like physical exercise speeds up heart rate, expands circulation and enhances oxygen intake. In fact, he calculated that 100 to 200 belly-laughs a day is the equivalent of a high-impact workout that can help you burn off as many as 500 calories.
Internal Massage - Laughter is the ultimate chill pill. We instinctively turn to laughter and humour when we need to rest and relax. Medical researchers have found that while we laugh our upper body is exercised, and after we finish laughing, we experience a physical afterglow in which we relax muscle tension, reduce stress in the nerves, massage the lungs, restore a full and flowing breathing pattern and gently expand our circulation once more. Laughter is the perfect “internal massage” for our busy, manic, hyperactive lifestyles.
Comic Relief - Laughter is a natural pain killer. Norman Cousins is known as the modern Father of Laughter Therapy. In his famous article for the New England Journal of Medicine, Cousins told how he used laughter to heal himself of a painful spinal disease called ankylosing spondylitis. He wrote that he made “the joyous discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly-laughter had an anaesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.” Subsequent research verifies that laughter can produce the feel-good chemical called “endorphins” which help to kill pain.
The repeated research experiments of Dr Lee Berk at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, CA, shows that laughter, happiness and joy “inspire” the immune system to create white “T” cells, commonly called “happy cells”, which help to prevent infection.
Laughter is a very effective stress-buster. Psychologists describe people who are prone to frequent bouts of stress as “Type H” personalities. The “H” stands for hostile, hurried and humourless. These people are too busy to be happy, too busy to smile, and too busy to laugh. Dr Patch Adams prescribes laughter as a stress buster. “Over-seriousness is a medical emergency,” he says. “Morbidity blows problems up, but laughter blows problems off”. Physicians have discovered that the “mirthful laughter experience” physically reduces the serum levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in the body.
Humour and laughter are excellent shock-absorbers that increase personal resilience during testing times. And, when there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit. After all, he who laughs, lasts.
Comments are welcomed.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Wishing everyone many blessings today and every day.
As I’ve done the past couple of years, I like to query my grandkids about Thanksgiving and what it means to them. They are now nearly 15 and 12½. The values that were formed within them early in life are staying strong within them as they are growing up. They are definitely in touch with what matters. Here is this year’s interview.
Me: What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?
D: Turkey, family and good friends.
K: Turkey and giving thanks.
Me: What would you like to share that you are thankful for?
D: Having the opportunity to be in this world, having great parents, great sister, a great school & great friends.
K: My family, my dog, my friends, a roof over my head, my teachers.
Me: What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods?
D: Ham. (I noted he said Thanksgiving made him think of turkey. Where did the ham come from? He said he really didn’t enjoy eating turkey. Thanksgiving just makes you think about them.) Other favorite foods are mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie.
K: Stuffing and mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream. (Another one who is not a fan of eating turkey. Turkey just seems to be synonymous with Thanksgiving.)
Me: What is your Thanksgiving wish for the world?
D: I wish everyone to be healthy, happy, have shelter and family.
K: I hope the government will help the environment, help the homeless and poor people, help animals that need help and lower taxes. (A budding politician?)
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.~W.T. Purkiser
Comments are welcomed.
When I lived in Vermont a favorite autumn activity was leaf peeping. There were places we’d visit every Fall because the panorama of colors was so spectacular.
Memories of those places come to the fore as summer morphs into autumn. I happened to see an article about how and why the leaves turn. Below is the bulk of that article. Thanks once again to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
“Did you know that fall’s vivid colors are actually hidden underneath summer’s green color? Also, the main reason for color change is not weather, but light, or actually the lack of it.
First of all, not all leaves turn vivid colors in the fall. Only a few of our many species of deciduous trees—notably maple, aspen, oak, and gum.
Several factors contribute to fall color (temperature, precipitation, soil moisture), but the main agent is light, or actually the lack of it. The amount of daylight relates to the timing of the autumnal equinox.
As the autumn days grow shorter, the reduced light triggers chemical changes in deciduous plants causing a corky wall to form between the twig and the leaf stalk. This corky wall eventually causes the leaf to drop off in the breeze. As the corky cells multiply, they seal off the vessels that supply the leaf with nutrients and water and also block the exit vessels, trapping simple sugars in the leaves. The combination of reduced light, lack of nutrients, and no water add up to the death of the pigment chlorophyll, the “green” in leaves.
Once the green is gone, two other pigments show their bright faces. These pigments, carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red), exist in the leaf all summer but are masked by the chlorophyll which helps plants absorb sunlight. (The browns in autumn leaves are the result of tannin, a chemical that exists in many leaves, especially oaks.)
Sugar trapped in autumn leaves by the corky wall (the abscission layer) is largely responsible for the vivid color. Some additional anthocyanins are also manufactured by sunlight acting on the trapped sugar. This is why the foliage is so sparkling after several bright fall days and more pastel during rainy spells.
What Brings the Best Fall Foliage? In general, a wet growing season followed by an autumn with lots of sunny days, dry weather, and cold, frostless nights will produce the most vibrant fall colors. If freezing temperatures and a hard frost hit, it can kill the process within the leaf.
Also, drought conditions during late summer and early fall can trigger an early “shutdown” of trees as they prepare for winter, causing leaves to fall early from trees without reaching their full color potential.
For some inexplicable reason we grew up under the misconception that a night of frost affected the change in leaf colors. It is always a good thing to uncover the truth and learn how things actually work.
Comments are welcomed.