I don’t know about you, but I am so very happy to see Spring this year. It has been a particularly wintery winter in my part of the world, a lot of snow, a lot colder than the previous years, and it lingered longer than I would have liked. But here we are! Time to wake-up!
Nature has all the signs. The buds are appearing on the branches, the crocuses are popping out of the ground and we bears are shaking off the hibernation habits. We are crawling out of our ruts of staying home more often because of the shorter days, we are conscious of getting bathing suit ready and we are tired of the richer, heavier food we used to comfort ourselves on cold nights, and we long for the open windows that exchange the stale overheated air for a fresh breeze.
Changes tend to be very difficult for human beings. We like routine. In fact, 95% of our brain is programed for subconscious thoughtless routine. I am on a crusade with my book Being Human to get people to have a look at everything we do mindlessly and re-evaluate if that’s what is best for us and those around us. If we see that something is not serving us, we have to compassionately require ourselves to make the change. Over the winter, I personally got into the mindless routine of leaving the dirty dishes in the sink after dinner and settling in with a book or a movie with the kids until bed. I didn’t like doing the dishes in the morning, by then they stank and the food was crusted on. But every evening I walked away from the kitchen, left the dinner dishes and found something else to do. I resisted the change which would have made me happier. But now we get the gift of seasonal shifts that cue us to be open and accepting and welcome change. The days are longer, it is light out later and somehow I have found the motivation to wash the dishes before moving on to the next evening task.
Now is the time to take the momentum of seasonal change and run with it head long into that lifestyle change you’ve been thinking about. Were you looking to get bathing suit ready? Now is the time to push the boundaries and try a cleanse because our bodies are programmed to release the stagnant weight of the winter months. Were you thinking of getting fit? There is so much more to do in the inviting outdoors compared to the neighborhood gym like go work in the garden, play Frisbee with the dog, ride your bike, have fun!
Another cue to take from nature at this time of year is to celebrate the beauty and fun of life. Everything is rebirthing, new and fresh. The bees are buzzing and the bunnies are getting busy, but not so long ago many of us were in the winter blues funk. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real condition and many of us fluctuate on a continuum where the lack of light and being confined mostly to indoor activities really brings us down. In addition to a seasonal funk, we are in a societal funk. Way too many people are taking life too seriously. We work hard and value accomplishment and getting the job done. We live in a society that celebrates achievement and a strong-work ethic. And when our day is done we fall into bed exhausted and grumpy, or sad and numb. We need to change that habit, and the songbird’s refrain is the perfect cue to get us singing along.
We are changing our wardrobes to brighter colours, let’s change our dispositions to a brighter array as well. Here are some tips to finding more joy and happiness in your life (taken from fast-speaking funny man, Shawn Achor’s TED talk.
- Record 3 things you are thankful for each day. Facebook or Tweet them!
- Journaling, which forces us to be conscious of our thoughts. The key is to journal about something happy and reliving the joy again.
- Exercise, which gets all those happy endorphins flowing.
- Meditation, to slow down our cultural tendency for multi-tasking ourselves to exhaustion.
- Random Acts of Kindness
I have done this and it really does make a huge difference in the amount of happiness I feel on a daily basis.
Take advantage of your brain’s focus on routine and the seasonal drive for change to embrace a new routine of creating joy through these new habits. Then let me know how it worked out for you. Don’t forget to come back next week because I am going to talk about physical and mental cleansing as we Wash our Windows from the Inside Out.
Tammy Plunkett uses the knowledge gained from her careers as a registered nurse and an alternative healer, and her studies of psychology and spirituality to inspire others through her talks and her book Being Human: Inspiration for Balancing Mind Body and Spirit. She is also the Founder and CEO of Inspiration4 Inc. which produces the content driven website inspirationformindbody.com all while happily raising her four children with her loving husband.
You can find Tammy at tammyplunkett.com @TammyPlunkett and www.facebook.com/tammyplunkettauthor