Publisher - July 2020
Every morning, in your first view of the day, you have the choice to say, ‘Good morning, God’ or ‘Good God, morning.
— Wayne Dyer –
Right about now, I think most of us are in “Good God, morning” mode and with good reason. Life is heavy. Damn heavy. It feels like everything has changed, even the mundane, everyday chores have a different protocol. So in a world where mental comfort has become more difficult to find, what can we do to still put a smile on our faces and contentment in our hearts?
The answer is lighten up! We all need to, including our children. They pick up on our cues of uneasiness, sadness, despair and anxiety. So do our pets. The only side effect to lightening up is feeling lighter. You may also notice a pep in your step. Come on! It’s summertime—you deserve a moment to be happy and carefree, but you’re going to have to work for it. You have to decide you have had enough heaviness and purposely move toward the lighter side of life.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
Make a playlist: Music sets the tone for everything and is one of the most powerful mood-boosting wonders on the planet. Instead of turning on the television to soak in the bad-news-of-the-day, brighten up your mornings with music, soft or loud, classical or rock, what ever gets you singing into your hairbrush, encouraging you to feel like the rock star you are. Here are a few songs to start your happy list: “Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves; “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon; “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake; “Happy” by Pharrell Williams; “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees; “Love Shack” by The B-52’s; “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift; and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. There are so many songs that will get you singing, swaying and smiling in an instant. You can actually search “happy songs” on your music app and find playlists full of them!
Exercise: I know you don’t want to hear this one, but it’s true that exercise releases your happy endorphins—real science! Don’t take on the no-pain-no-gain ideology. Get out there and do something you love. For me it’s walking at the beach. There have been many days I have arrived for my beach walk with a heavy heart and flowing tears. By the time I left, my eyes were dry and my spirit was lifted. Maybe that’s why the ocean is so salty. It heals our hearts and steals our tears. You know they say saltwater cures everything—sweat, tears or the sea.
Hold a beach circle: This is one of my favorite things to do! I set the date on an evening when low tide is between 5 and 7 o’clock so there is plenty of beach when we arrive around 5:30 p.m. Then I invite about 8-10 friends to bring their beach chairs (feel free to social distance), beverage of choice and an appetizer to share. We all show up, set our chairs in a circle and have a grand time talking and playing games until sunset. One time, I started a story with a prompt: Once upon a time there was a women who ran aground on a sandbar right over there near Parris Island, the next thing she knew she was surrounded by… Then we go around the circle with each person adding to the story. Boy, it can get wacky and hilarious. These are the moments that make memories and put permanent imprints on your heart. The kids can come, too and enjoy their own games near the adults, but don’t forget, this event is for the adults!
Limit social media, television and smartphone time: This is a biggie that will push you to your lighter self quickly. These devices are sources of pure stress. It’s accepted to take it away from your children, but remember, children emulate their parents. They see you are on your phone just as much. Be prepared for them to call you out on it. There is good news: checking social media accounts, being a news junkie and staring at your phone are simply bad habits which can be broken in just a few days if you are serious about it. I was with my family on vacation recently, and we all had our phones out. It’s as though a conversation can’t be had without Googling something, showing a picture or a video, or texting someone. I challenge you to stop this madness. It has gone too far! Have an old-fashioned conversation that doesn’t need technology to prove or enhance anything. If you say your niece is adorable, we believe you. If you deem something is gross, we don’t need a pic to prove it. Humans have the ability to envision things without pictures or videos; it was once called imagination. It’s as if we’re going backwards. Before words, there were hieroglyphics (picture script) because there were no words. Do we really need to go back there? We have words now! If you text something about a banana, you do not also need a banana emoji. We know what a banana looks like, seriously.
Be grateful: Gratefulness is THE Holy Grail of life. If you can look around your world and find things to be grateful for, you will never sink to the bottom of burden. It’s that simple: being actively grateful keeps you buoyant. If you start to feel weighed down, just look around and start naming things you’re grateful for. Take a moment to envision life without those things/people. Ahhhhh! Aren’t you so lucky?
So that’s just five things out of thousands that can help you lighten up. If you have more suggestions, I would love to hear them. Please email me. In the meantime, don’t let this heavy time consume you, or fill you with fear, guilt, anger, argumentativeness, conformity, or uneasiness. You must pamper your energy and psyche both to weather this storm and/or to make a difference. If we allow heaviness to engulf us, we become unbalanced and ineffective. Cure yourself with enjoyable simple pleasures that restore your senses and spirit, while having fun and laughing. Laughing is like exercise: You may do it for just a few minutes, but it has long-lasting effects that keep you saturated in happiness for hours to come. Just remember: Giggle instead of Google. Your soul will thank you.