Take Joy! The Little Things Count
- by Christina Richardson, PhD
These days we are bombarded with incoming information that can be overwhelming and sometimes depressing. Finding joy in the everyday is one way of creating a safe environment.
Upon waking there is the entire day before you. No matter what the day brings you can find ways to take joy in a moment and enhance a good day, or salvage a not-so-good day. Setting yourself up for joy is one way to start the process.
You may want that first cup of coffee or tea, a hot or cold bath or shower, and the paper. Take time to wander around your garden, walk the dogs, or watch the sun come up. Daily habits like these can feel right and safe, and let you know that all is good with the world.
Mind, Body, Spirit
Neurologists tell us that much of what we call happiness comes from having enough of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in our brain. Too little causes feelings of meaningless, lethargy, depression and inability to pay attention. Unless there is a medical cause for low dopamine, the usual suspects can boost the flow: enough light, eating right, exercise, having good relationships, and sleeping well, to name a few.
That old cliché, “It’s the little things that count,” is right on. When you can relish small joys and gifts, your mind becomes more open to joy. It becomes a habit.
In 16th-century England, water was too dangerous to drink and Queen Elizabeth I had beer or wine with breakfast. Even wine could be tainted and the favorite remedy was to float a piece of spiced breads in the cup to improve the flavor, as well as provide a bit of nourishment. Raising the glass eventually came to be named for the bread: a toast.
What fun — I get a smile first thing, and I learn something I could talk about today if the opportunity presented itself, too.
I believe it was that great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, who was able to bring joy to every experience.
If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet, how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It is our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life: learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup — they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned — the biggest word of all — LOOK.
Finding joy every day through little pleasures may be a challenge at the beginning, but it will become increasingly easy and a habit. It makes the dark clouds go away and lets the sunshine in.