How do some people smile all the time, while carrying worries, concerns and other
challenges in their daily lives? This information will fill an aisle of books, in a large
bookstore and possibly be the sole purpose in some blogs and television shows. What
new ways can get your ‘groove’ back? I am not sure if any of these are particularly
“new,” but I am as sure as the “sun will come up tomorrow,” some of these may bring
you a new ‘lease on life!’ (Yes, “Annie,” the musical play and movie, does remind us
that it is a “hard knocks’ life,” along with how we should try to face every new day.)
Suggestions for getting happy feelings started in your mind, also getting your energy
revived and other ways for getting out of your funk will be found here. If I were a
speaker, I may try a joke:
“There was an elderly man who wanted his younger wife to become pregnant. It was
something she desired also. He went to his family doctor asking for him to suggest
ways of making this result come about. The doctor suggested going to a fertility expert,
so the man set up another appointment. He went on his own, since his athletic wife was
busy taking her tennis lessons.
The specialist’s receptionist gave him a specimen cup to take home and bring back the
next day. She explained what he needed to do to fill it, along with telling him to put it in
the refrigerator overnight. This would get the ‘ball rolling.’ No other way to find out what
level his sperm count would be until he brought this back.
The excited man left the office, with a little more pep in his step.
The patient came back with an empty specimen cup. The receptionist could see the man’s
deflated ego, his head was drooping. She did not ask him a thing, since she could not
imagine the complications he had run into while collecting the specimen. She had the
dejected gentleman sit down, explaining to him that he must wait to see the doctor.
After reading a few magazines and the newspaper, the man was ready to leave the office,
irritated that such a simple action, which had produced children with his first wife, meant
he had to go through all this trouble again.
When he was escorted into one of the private rooms, the doctor came in and closed the
door behind him. The specialist asked when the empty specimen cup was given to him,
“What exactly was the problem?”
The frustrated man exclaimed,
“Well, I tried it with my right hand. . . nothing.
I tried it with my left hand. . . again, nothing.
So, my wife came home from her tennis lesson, she tried this with her right hand. . .
She decided to try her left hand. . .same results.
Then, she used her mouth. . . nothing!”
The doctor stopped this, since he was really shocked at the lack of response from
any of these practices.
The impatient man nearly shouted,
“Wait, doctor, I have to tell you more!”
The fertility specialist paused and said, “Proceed.”
“Well, we were desperate! I ended up asking my wife to invite our neighbor over,
since she is her best friend. . .”
The doctor incredulous interrupted,
“Wait a minute, did you say your wife’s friend tried this, too?”
The man exasperatingly sat down, saying in a low voice,
“Yeah, and we still couldn’t get the lid off the freaking specimen cup!”
Here are a few “Prevention Magazine” suggestions for ‘tapping your
inner peace and bringing some joy into your life.
1. “Do something called, “the ho’oponopono.”
This is a source of Hawaiian calm and doesn’t mean you need to drink
some Mai-Tai’s or dance at a luau. It is simply repeating these words
in a chant, which helps spread some warmth into your life. Murmuring
the “ho’oponopono” mantra is all about forgiveness. You, your family,
your enemy and the ones who have made your stomach get in a knot.
It means literally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”
By saying this in a low, quiet way, you will ease your anger, untighten
your thoughts and body, along with lowering your blood pressure.
“Try this, you may like it!”
(Source, “The Hormone Cure,” by Sara Gottfried, M.D.)
2. “Spritz a scent.”
There are essential oils which can bring you vitality, exuberance,
evoke special memories. Go to your favorite natural products store
and sniff testers until you find a couple of them which give you that
“Ah-h-h!” all over feeling. Good ones which bring many pleasant
feelings are lavender, orange, sage, and ylang-ylang. I like to head
to the Yankee Candle Company, which I know there are some who
will tell you that burning candles means there are pieces of ‘wick’
floating in the air. (My sister in law told me this before I ever read
this!) But, you can get a candle warmer, choosing your favorite scent.
In the fall, I enjoy and savor pumpkin spice, Home Sweet Home, and
country apple… I also found “Woodland Walk” at Meijer’s which has
a very different scent and it doesn’t cause me to want to eat cookies!
3. In 2011, a Michigan State University conducted a study of customer-
service employees. They found that ones who smiled throughout the
day, by thinking positive thoughts, reported feeling more serene overall.
I certainly would feel great if the customer service people would carry
this practice out. But I also did not see in the study, that there must
surely be a reward. By smiling; you get smiles back. This perpetuates
the positive activity. “Psychological Science,” (2013) published the results
which include smiling lowers your body’s stress response and also, can
even overcome ‘road rage,’ if one tries to smile in traffic jams!
4. Plant something. (If you are in warmer season now)
or Rake some leaves or clean your garden out. (If you are entering the
cooler season, where your plants need to be covered, the remains of
stems and messes need to be ‘mucked out.)
According to research done in a recent study, gardening is an even more
effective stress reliever than reading a good book! This was done in Holland.
There is also evidence microbes found in soil, may lift your mood, from an
older British study conducted in 2007. If you wish to clean your garden out,
digging in the dirt can also be a good way to greet Autumn’s weather changes,
along with feeling like you accomplished a big task. For me, I love the idea of
building a big pile of leaves, after using physical effort which does get your
endorphins going, and asking your children/grandkids/ neighbor kids or
a silly adult friend or two, to jump into the leaves with you!
5. Pet a cat, dog, gerbil or ?
If you don’t have a pet to take care of, it is always uplifting to go to an animal
shelter and offer to walk a dog. If you are a cat person, you are always welcome
to pet the kitties, there may be other unusual animals to see and touch, too. I
have a good friend whose two cats came from a farmer who was over-run with
cats. They are adorable calico cats, which I will be cat-sitting in just a week and
a half from now.
6. Offering to read to someone’s child, at the library. Volunteering for a monthly
obligation of being a classroom ‘helper’ or a ‘library aide’ are other ways to get your
Baking cookies is always a treat for me, along with my grandchildren. I am going to
share a company called “Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She has 400 employees,
over 2 million dollars sales in only 12 days of being located at the Minnesota State
Fair. Wow! People want cookies!! This retired elementary school teacher may be fun
to look up and get inspired.
Here are two books I can guarantee you will feel are ‘guilty pleasures’ but really will
entertain you! I did not skim nor read just the book jacket for these two FUN books!
1. “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating,” by Carole Radziwill. It is considered Popular
Fiction. The author was on the television show, “The Real Housewives of New York.” This
is a very satisfying read, one that used to be considered a ‘Beach book.’ Why does it have to
be summer-time to choose an indulgent piece of fluff, which may surprise you with some
deeper meaning, more than you would expect from a ‘real housewife!’ She was, after all,
an award-winning former journalist/reporter. Her book, “What Remains,” was critically
acclaimed, about the memoir of her marriage after her husband died of cancer in 1999.
The widow may not be based on herself, but her wry sense of humor, her simple writing
without frills, will be possibly one of the moving, insightful books you will enjoy this year.
2. “Confessions of a Counterfeit Country Farm Girl,” made me burst into laughter, each
time a new chapter started. This woman, like Carole R. above, is one who captures your
imagination and pulls your leg, getting you to picture all kinds of lively challenges in an
uprooted lifestyle. She is Susan McCorkindale, one of my friends, in my mind! Here are
some of the chapters I loved, “Days of Whining the Big Wigs,” “Get Down on the Farm,”
and the “Chick in the Mail.” The author was really running with the big wigs being the
former marketing director of both “Family Circle” and “Sports Illustrated.” Her husband’s
choice of farm living to raise their boys, involves the whole story, including learning how
to buy appropriate footwear, helping her boys to not always be the dirtiest kids, and how
to order different products, fertilizer, seeds, and of course baby chicks.
Eight Simple Steps to Have All Day Energy: Mini-Meals
1. Get up every day at the same time and eat something OTHER than refined carbs.
Suggestion in the August, 2014 “Prevention Magazine,”
Try some hunks of cheese, fruit and a scrambled egg.
2. When you have another hour until lunch, your cortisol levels are dipping, as is
your energy. So, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee.
3. Adding nuts to your day, will help you stay ‘full’ longer throughout the day.
Recommended only 1.5 ounces of almonds. Oh my, I hope you know how to measure
this delicious snack!
4. Lunch time.
Meat, protein if a vegan, eggs, avocado (decreases people’s appetites by as much as
40%) some fiber and vegetables. A salad with chicken, tomatoes and spring greens,
with some whole grain crackers, instead of croutons. This meal is supposed to be your
‘main’ meal of the day. You still have time to wear off the calories when you walk around
the block, catching up with your kids, friend or husband.
5. Sip water or herbal tea, (I love Bengal Tiger Tea, which is aromatic, cinnamon
and has, I believe some chicory in it.) Dehydrated people report more headaches
and dips in mood.
6. Carrots and hummus, yogurt with blueberries and a drizzle of honey, …
Suggestions for a small snack to ‘beat’ the mid-afternoon slump.
Balanced but not heavy. Your meal should not include greasy or spicy food, particularly
as we age. This can interfere with your sleep and also cause heartburn. It may also leave
you groggy in the morning.
8. A light carb-rich snack is okay, according to a new Yale review and American Journal
of Clinical Nutrition. Include a banana, milk or something that is not too heavy. I like the
idea of cookies, my favorite one is oatmeal raisin cookie. (My real favorite one is white
chocolate macadamia nut but am sure this is not allowed on this good food plan!) Often,
I go against protocol, so a small bowl of ice cream or a ‘treat’ is what will make me smile
before I go to bed at night. . . or a small goblet of wine or hard apple cider!
Dean Koontz quotation:
“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not.
Readers (of Dean Koontz), over the years, say what they love about my books is that they’re
full of hope, and that’s the way I see life.
If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past it’s almost hopeless.
So, I don’t dwell.”
Check out Dean Koontz’s newest thriller: “Innocence,” at bookstores or the library.