list #15: 7 things to do when you need to add good to your day

So you know how sometimes you get in really foul mood -- either because something bad actually happened, or you're just feeling a sort of low-grade undercurrent of "y'all better get out my face" malaise pervading every minute of your day? 

You know that feeling?


... just me?

Well, anyway:  the past few days I've been in a bit of a funk.  But luckily, I'm older and wiser than I was, say, 20 years ago, and while I love a good brood, I'm now of the firm opinion that at some point, if your circumstances aren't changing, it's time to take the bull by the horns and change them yourself. 

This is often easier said than done, of course.  Still, I've found that even in the worst situations, when I'm feeling angry or sad or humiliated or any other of a myriad of negative feelings, those are the times when it's imperative that I treat myself as I would a good friend going through similar circumstances.  And while you might not be able to change the cause of the anger or grief, it is almost always possible to add just a little shot of good to your day, for even the tiniest pick-me-up.

And so, without further ado, here are 7 things that I've done when I've needed to add good to my day (and without admitting or denying anything, I may or may not have done a few of these really recently):


1. Buy flowers.  I'm not talking about a fabulous-bouquet-because-by-gum-you-can-be-your-own-romantic-partner kind of a way (although, hey, if that works for you, go for it), but I'm talking about a-shot-of-colour-therapy kind of way.  Flowers are just generally awesome.  And they don't have to be expensive: I'm fond of grocery store flowers, myself.  Or in fact, if you if have some growing handily nearby (and there's no danger of being arrested), pick those.

2.  Then photograph them.  Or sketch them.  Or paint them. Or doodle them.  Or whatever.  Do something with them that makes you stop and focus on the flowers and not whatever has been eating at you, even if only for 5 minutes.


3.  Have a good playlist on hand. This is a must for me -- music can help form my entire outlook.  Make playlists that evoke calm, or happiness, or celebration or whatever.  And make sure to play them as background music or in your headset or whatever for as long as you can during the day (I haven't done one for any particular mood lately, but I find my latest February mix is doing the trick for me these days).

You get bonus points if you turn up your mix at some point and really belt out a tune.

4.  Look at beautiful sites.  God knows the web is full of ugly, but it's also full of really beautiful things as well.  Make sure to add some happy, pretty sites to your feed reader (lately I'm loving this one and this one), to ensure you have something to look at to help lift your mood.  And if you prefer something more dynamic?  This video about how to be alone and this one about embracing your beautiful different (both by the same talented filmmaker) never fail to make me just a little lighter.

5.  Have a cup of tea.  Marcus and I joke that Brits seem to have a profound belief that all ills can be cured by simply having a cup of tea.  But the truth is, I think there's something to that: the act of making a cup of tea -- boiling the water, adding the teabag to steep, watching the colour of the water change -- requires you to slow down and be mindful in a the moment.  And for your patience?  A good, hot comfort drink awaits. 

Yup:  never underestimate the power of tea, honey.


6. Go outside.  Sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders.  If it's cold out, wrap up warmly and take a walk around the block, noticing the wind and the chill.  If it's hot, go sit in the shade and notice the bugs, and feel perspiration start to form.  If it's raining, go listen to the drops.  Just change your perspective.

7.  And finally, breatheFor 10 of the deepest, most concentrated breaths you can muster. 

With that, keep on keepin' on, friends.  I'm pulling for you.

Images:  Inspired by this image, I bought these hydrangeas yesterday, and photographed them with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens -- aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/250, ISO 200.


SongBaby, it's cold outside, as performed by Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones. Because with voices this sweet, you have to smile.