Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and imagine you’re sitting on the bench looking out into the distance. Think about the reasons you have to be cheerful in the harsh realities of today’s world. We can’t make them go away, but we can focus on reasons to be cheerful.
First, there’s the beauty we can see all around us. Nature has remarkable restorative powers; I’ve previously posted about it here.
Second, simply the act of feeling happy and smiling more can have positive effects on our physical health and lift the mood of people around us. People groan at the jokes I post on Facebook, but laughter is a good medicine.
Third, we can learn to be happy. We have more control over how we feel than we might think, and feeling a sense of control over our lives is an important ingredient of happiness. One builds up the other.
Fourth, the happier we are the more we’re able to encourage and help others, and there’s such a need for this now. People are hurting and need encouraging. Doing someone else a favour activates the ‘feel-good’ area of our brains, we help each other. It’s a no-brainer, a win-win situation.
Finally, we need to look for the positives; not the insipid reassuring lies that are so often peddled today, but realistic affirming hopes. We need to train our brains to notice the good things around us and be grateful for them. There will always be negatives, but we need the tools in our emotional toolkit to deal with them constructively.
Photo Credit: I’m grateful to my colleague and friend Shelagh Clift for allowing me to use her photo.