Thursday, March 25, 2021

Happiness in Difficult Times

This was a tough week for me to continue my regular "happy" routine. The Atlanta and Boulder shootings were so senseless and such tragedies.  I can't even imagine the grief the families of the victims must be feeling.

Even though I didn't know any of the victims personally, the fact that the latest shooting was in neighboring Boulder -- the city I love and felt was so safe -- really shook me up.

Besides the shootings, someone in our extended family has suffered a major stroke. It's heart-breaking to have no control to help people who are going through such major challenges.  

I've been so proud at how, despite all the challenges of Covid, I've stayed optimistic. But this week I was at high-risk of falling into the I-don't-even-want-to-get-out-of-bed crowd.  I certainly didn't feel like posting any "Happiness pictures" or hosting the Action for Happiness Mindful March Meeting that I'd signed up to facilitate.

In fact, I didn't want to do anything! 

Suddenly every fear and insecurity was invading my mind! All my worries about aging and health and loneliness..  worries that I thought I'd overcome.. were back.

But all those wellness podcasts / books / blogs / Websites / and resources paid off.  I know that every day if I do these 5 things, I can get in a better mood:

  1. Exercise (Even doing a minute of push-ups counts..)
  2. Learn Something  (This is why I have a 785-day Duolingo Streak)
  3. Help Someone (This is as easy as a supportive email or text)
  4. Socialize (During Covid, this is usually a phone call) 
  5. Practice Gratitude (So many things to be grateful for..) 
So, even though I didn't feel like it, I hosted the Mindful March Meeting (actually co-hosted with Becky). 

I'd wanted to cancel this session, but it turned out to be unexpectedly inspiring. As the group talked about mindfulness and I listened to the wisdom of others, I felt my mood changing.  Instead of feeling hopeless about the state of our society, I saw the goodness in humanity.

This was a tragic week and a lot of people are mourning. 

I remember after my Dad died and I was talking to a friend and I told him that it felt like I'd never be happy again. He said that time would pass and joy would return. He was right. I've found so much joy.. more than I'd ever known before. You recognize how precious it is and so you savor it.

These tragedies are another reminder of the fragility of life... another reminder to look for the joy each day.

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