by Linda Manwarren, Wellness Committee Chair
I had an earworm recently. It’s from the musical, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, and it’s called Happiness. It made me smile and led to more thinking about happiness. As our world continues to face unprecedented challenges, finding happiness or maintaining our individual sense of well-being becomes even more important. With the goal of creating something for this blog post, I did some more thinking and reading. Here are some ideas I came across for making happiness a more frequent state of mind.
Many times, we have heard about the benefits of regular exercise — physical and emotional ones alike. Even a light stroll can trigger a chemical reaction in your brain that results in an immediate mood boost. If that light stroll is in nature, you can enjoy even more benefit. The practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) is one we can easily explore throughout our province. This practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you.
Consistency is an important key. The longer you stick with it, the easier your routine will become. The present ARTA Wellness Challenge can help you set up the habit by having you record your minutes of activity or steps taken. The spring issue of news&views has all the details for this challenge.
Make room for an unplugged hour in your schedule
It seems everyone I know increased their screen time significantly during the height of pandemic; it was certainly a valuable tool for keeping in touch with loved ones. And who could resist those funny cat videos or the inspiring music from families and choirs pivoting to a new way to share their talent. But several studies highlight that even sixty intentionally tech-free minutes per day can do wonders for your mental health. Especially if you use those minutes to try something new — like a new recipe or puzzle or simply sitting and listening to a piece of music. Connect face-to-face with the people you love, and you’ll find your spirits soaring.
Invite your creative side out to play
When you dedicate some time to refining a creative skill, your steady improvements contribute to feelings of worth and self-esteem. Mindful activities, such as doodling or colouring, can calm your spirit and add a layer of peaceful joy to the day.
Several years ago, a friend challenged me to complete a gratitude project with her. At the end of each day, we were to write a few words, on a tiny slip of paper, about something that brought us joy that day. These slips were kept in a box until the following New Year’s Day. Not only did this practice provide us with a happy thought to end each day, but it also created a great collection for review at year’s end. Small moments of joy, comfort, and peace, according to Harvard Health Publishing, can make you concretely aware of your happiness and help you become more optimistic.
Take part in your community
Sharing your time and talents connects you to something beyond yourself. These feelings of shared purpose contribute to a special kind of happiness: the joy of doing good. The community of ARTA has many opportunities to work together either at the provincial level or your local branch. Getting involved with organized efforts is one of the most rewarding ways to spend some time.