happiness

I Liked The Old Normal! Coping With Covid-19 Positively

Coping with Covid-19 positively is not all that easy. I like the “old normal”. Learning how to cope with isolation and social distancing in positive ways can be difficult.  There are hundreds of articles out there, and all of them have a similar theme, which is “normal” is not going to be normal anymore.  A new normal is with us, at least for a while.  The Coronavirus “normal” brings with it a lot of pitfalls but also many opportunities.

The Pros and Cons of Isolation

CONS

  • Loneliness
  • Sadness & Depression
  • A feeling of loss
  • Missing loved ones and friends
  • Fear and anger
  • Too much time with the same people
  • Too much time with yourself

PROS

  • More time to contemplate, to take time to love yourself more and know yourself better.
  • The opportunity to grow closer to the people you live with, to appreciate the relationships you have
  • Finding new ways to communicate and share with others
  • Taking up new hobbies and activities (art, writing, yoga, walking…whatever you have been putting off doing)

How to Keep Positive Despite Coronavirus Restrictions

There are actually good things about the restrictions and new “normal” imposed on us by the Coronavirus. The first and foremost of these is the opportunity it gives us to rethink things, to do things in a new way and to be grateful for what we have. This time can be a great time to grow and to really exercise mindfulness and self-care and love. It is also providing many of us with the opportunity to give back, to be more empathetic, to do things for others that perhaps we might not have thought of doing before.

I am fortunate, I live in the countryside in a country that has not been as badly hit as many other countries. I am used to not seeing anyone but my husband, our dog, Bella, and the neighboring cows and sheep or occasional cat or llama most days of the week. I have a good portion of my life alone, I work alone – so in some ways I am blessed. I am an introvert more than an extrovert. Being alone is not new but now it is different. We have to isolate. We have no opportunity to visit friends, go to the local pub or even the closest beach. Our Saturday excursions to Limerick – gone. Friday evening at the local, gone. Inviting friends for dinner, gone. The life is not all that different but the lack of options makes it feel a lot more oppressive. I miss most our Saturdays, and going for drives or to the beaches, or the knowledge that our travel dates are planned and our much loved summer visitors are coming. We can only wait and hope.

I have a few things that are keeping me positive and happy these days.

  • I do a little bit of exercise each morning – pilates or yoga – first thing when I get up or else I get caught up in doing other things.
  • I practice mindfulness on a daily basis.
  • I write in my journal every day, even if it is just a few words…I looked at one of my entries recently as I was thumbing through one of my journals – there were two words, “I think”…hmm must have been a dull day.
  • I write every day – poetry, fiction, an article, an essay – sometimes I publish it, often, it doesn’t go further than a folder on my computer.
  • I research something every day – whatever comes into my mind – maybe quotes, or the state of the world, how to paint, how to use a glue gun, how to plant sunflower seeds. Google is my friend.
  • I try to go for a walk each day, but I am not great about it. But Bert goes for really long walks so I live my walks through him. I signed up for a 10,000 steps a day Challenge…maybe that will motivate me.
  • I plan meals and cook a few new dishes each week – for this, I am grateful for Recipe Tin Eats – Nagi is my hero – and her dog is cute!
  • I started painting – I am not great, probably not even good at it – but it is fun and I like the fact that now my office can be messy because now it is my “studio”.
  • I do shell and pebble art sometimes – it is fun, easy, and brings back memories of the beaches I have visited.
  • I watch comedians and reruns of NCIS when I want to chill out mindlessly.
  • I am grateful every day for something… lots of things actually – sometimes I jot down a list but mostly, I go outside and breath and think of things I am grateful for several times a day.
  • I drink more water and eat more fruit than I did before.
  • I give myself permission to be lazy and not put on makeup or dress for anyone but myself – and sometimes just to dress up for my husband now and then.
  • I check on Facebook or Twitter, sometimes message friends, try to keep in touch a bit, but not be overwhelmed by it.
  • I walk around the front and back gardens each day, seeing what new flowers and critters there are.
  • I don’t kill bees or spiders anymore – just get them out of the house.
  • I talk to bees and spiders – birds too…hmmm

Staying positive is not easy in the best of times, but one of the gifts that lockdown or Covid-19 has given me is the ability to appreciate the little things, to give myself permission to be who I am and do what I want to do. I am trying new things, learning new things and generally staying pretty darn positive.

Staying Positive In Spite of Negative People and News

Staying positive in spite of negative people and news is a difficult one. I can’t avoid the news, my husband is a news junkie, and so am I. But it takes a lot of energy to deal with the constant barrage of negative news, outrageous tweets and decisions, conflict, and what might be defined outright evil. I get angry and sad, I want to scream and shout – I feel a weight that sometimes makes it hard to breath when hear bad advice and negativity constantly coming from people that should be leading instead of hating during these difficult times.

It seems like every day, there is another sad story, another lie, another barrage of nonsense. So, what to do? I look for the good news. I look at the people that are doing things to help others, to keep themselves strong, the creative people who are putting things out there to lighten the mood. The stories of companies and countries helping people are myriad. People are generally nice in Ireland and they remain so during the Coronavirus, everyone is pulling together, there are no protests or people carrying guns to them. There is no division here based on parties or color of skin. I am grateful for that. I try to look at the CNN Impact Your World pages on a daily basis – there is always something good there. We have instituted a policy at home – for every negative thing we hear in the news we find a positive story. It helps a lot!

The Opportunities Covid-19 Presents

Most of what we are feeling now, we have felt before, the situation today is merely a magnifying glass. Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits, presents us with some good ideas on how to take advantage of this time :

  • If you’re feeling restricted, let yourself feel the feeling of restriction. It’s probably something you’ve felt many times before but didn’t face it. Can you shift this feeling, after you’ve felt it, to see the sense of openness and freedom and gift in each moment?
  • If you’re feeling isolated, can you use this to connect to yourself more, as if you were a monk in a monastery? Can you let yourself feel the feeling of isolation, and give yourself some compassion?
  • Let yourself feel the craving for connection and meaning. And then see how you can create that for yourself, each day, without any certainty about whether you’re doing it right.
  • If you’re irritated at others, can you rise above your narrative about the other person, and see that you’re both feeling fear and pain? That you both are dealing with this with anger, irritation, frustration? That both of you are resorting to old (unhelpful) patterns? Can you practice compassion for them (and yourself) instead?
  • If you’re impatient and wanting it all to be over … can you practice patience instead? Let yourself be with the pain and frustration you’re feeling, and be willing to face it and sit in the middle of it? This is an incredibly powerful practice that will strengthen us for whatever we face in the future.
  • Can you practice this patience with everything you’re feeling: overwhelmed, irritated, frustrated, anxious, uncertain, fearful? And bring self-compassion to that as well?

So you can get a sense that we’re practicing a few things with whatever we’re facing:

  • A willingness to feel what we’re feeling
  • A willingness to face and sit in the middle of difficulty (patience)
  • Compassion for ourselves and others
  • The ability to create connection and meaning

The takeaway here is that it is possible to “make lemonade” from your lemons. Time is precious and now we have more of it, probably, than we have had before. It is a great time to explore, to learn to know ourselves better, to be grateful for what we have and to celebrate each new day with the small things. We are having a garden party tonight in our back garden, we will be playing our favourite oldies, barbequing, and enjoying one of the rare sunny days we have here in beautiful Ireland.

Be Optimistic With These 10 Easy Steps

It is not always easy to be optimistic. It requires perserverance and foresight. Additionally it requires a mindset that is positive and dynamic. If you a “glass half empty kind of person” it is harder to be optimistic than if you are of “the glass half full” persuasion. The good news is that you can train yourself to be more optimistic.

Train yourself to be optimistic by taiking the following steps:

  1. Be grateful. Practice being grateful for the people, places, and things in your life. It is hard to be pessimistic, almost impossible, in fact, when you are being grateful.
  2. Be mindful. Practice mindfulness on a daily basis. This is a very easy way to increase your chances of being an optimistic person. The myth is that being mindful takes a lot of work. Actually, it doesn’t require any work at all. Once you have decided to be mindful, you will see that your outlook on life changes dramatically.
  3. Smile. Smiling is another easy way to increase your optimism quotient. The health and wellbeing effects of smiling are proven time and time again. Additionally, smiling makes you more beautiful. What’s to lose by smiling more?
  4. Surround yourself with positive people. It is hard to be optimistic when everyone around you is negative. If you have negative people in your life, either learn to disregard what they say or minimize your contact with them. We all have auras, positive, negative, kind, evil, good, bad…work on keeping your aura positive and protect yourself from naysayers.
  5. Believe in yourself. Realize how special you are and that you can do whatever you want to do if you set your mind to it and be persistent.
  6. Use affirmations to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.
  7. Keep a journal that includes things you are grateful for, your affirmations, goals, acts of kindness, accomplishments, prevalent thoughts, activities, general mood, progress toward life goal, people and  places, and general notes on the day.
  8. Exercise – exercise releases endorphins, contributes to your mental and physical well-being and can increase happiness and self-esteem.
  9. Do something nice for someone else, even if it is something small – every little thing counts!
  10. Do something special for yourself each day – whether it is reading, writing, drawing, giving yourself a facial, eating some fruit…try to make an effort to make each day a bit special by doing something you love for yourself.

There will always be times that it is harder to be optimistic than others. World events can have a negative impact just as personal events do. As the song says, “Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders,” sometimes you just have to turn off the news and turn down the noise. You are ultimately the only person that can decide your fate and only your fate. Everyone else has to make their own choices and determine their own fate as well. Love yourself, love the people around you and be grateful for who you are and the people, places and things you have in your life. Awww, come on, give yourself a hug, give your loved ones a hug, and order a pizza with everything on it…

Peace and Happiness

 

Gratitude, love, peace, and joy are the greatest gifts in the world. The sum total of these four things is success and happiness. It starts inside and blossoms the more we love and accept ourselves. – Michele Hartley

Unold Yourself – Act Young, Feel Young, Be Young – 16 Easy Ways to Feel Younger

I happened to be logging in to a site and the captcha was “unold” – not a word, right? But it made me laugh, I got to thinking about ways to “unold” myself. I am not even going to research this one as I have plenty of ideas about how to feel younger, look younger, and essentially, not get caught in the trap of “I am too old for that”. You can “unold” yourself, I have. There are a few things to remember – you are only as old as you feel, youth is wasted on the young, and wrinkles are not wrinkles, they are experience lines. …

Happiness Quotes – How to be Happy

Everyone wants to be happy.  Happiness is the ultimate goal for most of us but what defines happiness is very different for every individual.  Happiness is sometimes an elusive goal though.  What does it take to make you happy?  What are the things that happy people do and say?  What makes a happy person?  There are some things that are proven to increase happiness.  We actually have “happy” chemicals in our bodies that affect our moods and can make us either happy or sad.  There are some universal truths about happiness – habits that contribute to happiness.  If you can cultivate a few of these habits, your Happiness Quotient will increase!

Happy Habits

  1. Love
  2. Gratitude
  3. Thoughtfulness
  4. Awareness
  5. Politeness
  6. Kindness
  7. Generosity
  8. Forgiveness
  9. Mindfulness
  10. Fitness
  11. Tolerance
  12. Positive Thinking
  13. Healthy Eating

“Happiness choked my throat like an anthem. It flowed through me like a river from the beginning of the column to its end ” — Aharon Megged

“Happy as a pig in clover ” — American colloquialism

“Happy as a clam ” — American colloquialism, attributed to New England

“All happiness is a chance encounter and at every moment presents itself to you like a beggar by the roadside ” — André Gide

“Happiness, like the pink and white anemones of my childhood, is a flower that must not be picked ” — Andre Maurois

“Happiness, like air, is not something you can put in a bottle ” — Anonymous

“Happy as a dog with a bone ” — Anonymous

“The vicissitudes of life touch him [a happy man] lightly, like the wind in the aspen-tree ” — Anton Chekhov

“(In the midst of happiness grows a seed of unhappiness.) Happiness consumes itself like a flame. (It cannot burn forever) ” — August Strindberg

“A gay, light happiness, like bubbles in wine held up against the sun ” — Ben Ames Williams

“Elated as though he had stumbled on a treasure ” — Brian Moore

“Happiness is like a sunbeam, which the least shadow intercepts ” — Chinese proverb

“Happiness flits from branch to twig to branch like a hummingbird ” — Delmore Schwartz

“Live together … as happily as two lobsters in a saucepan, two bugs on a muscle ” — Dylan Thomas

“Happiness struck her like a shower of rain ” — Eudora Welty

“He loved happiness like I love tea ” — Eudora Welty

“I was like a river in flood … drowning in my own happiness, and buoyed up by it at the same time ” — Eugene Ionesco

“Glowed with happiness, like a child with expectations of a birthday party ” — Frank Swinnerton

“On the brink of our happiness we stop like someone on a drunk starting to weep ” — Galway Kinnell

“Happiness is like time and space; we make and measure it ourselves ” — George Du Maurier

“The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history ” — George Eliot

“Happy and thoughtless as an apple on a tree ” — George Garrett

“Happy as a couple of cherrystone clams ” — George Garrett

“The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken ” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Looking for happiness is like clutching the shadow or chasing the wind ” — Japanese proverb

“Happy as a tick in a dog’s ear ” — Jay Parini

“The happiness of the wicked passes away like a torrent ” — Jean Baptiste Racine

“Happiness is falling on us out of the sky … like a blanket of snow ” — Jean Giraudoux

“Moments of happiness hang like pearls on the finest silken thread, certain to be snapped, the pearls scattered away ” — Joan Chase

“Happiness as wholesome as honey on the comb ” — John Braine

“Looks like he is a kid holding his first puppy ” — John Wainwright

“I was high as taxes ” — Loren D. Estleman

“Happy as a butterfly in a garden full of sunshine and flowers ” — Louisa May Alcott

“The best advice on the art of being happy is about as easy to follow as advice to be well when one is sick ” — Madame Swetchine

“Happy as a couple of linebackers after winning a high school game ” — Marge Piercy

“(I am )happy as a mother whose good baby sleeps ” — May Sarton

“Happy as a swallow ” — Richard Ford

“There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn ” — Samuel Johnson

“Happy as trees that find a wind to sway them ” — Sara Teasdale

“Happiness … was there like light seen through moving leaves, like touching a warm stone ” — Sumner Locke Elliott

“Ecstatic as a scientist who had just discovered the key to immortality ” — Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

“Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered in grains, and enjoyed every day. It will not keep; it cannot be accumulated ” — Tryon Edwards

“Dry happiness is like dry bread. We eat, but we do not dine ” — Victor Hugo

“Happiness … descended upon her heart, like a cloud of morning dew in a dell of wild-flowers ” — Walter De La Mare

“When it [happiness] comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep ” — Willa Cather

“Happiness … filled her brain like wine ” — William Dean Howells

“Happy-looking as if he’s just heard the foreman say, “Not guilty” ” — William Slavens McNutt

“Happy as a lover ” — William Wordsworth

 

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Serenity

 

“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” ― Lao Tzu

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