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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Feeling Good In April

Happy April! I hope you are happy and healthy. I hope you are doing the things you love with the people you love. You might have noticed I am trying to be more upbeat. I have been doing a 7-day course on Feeling Better and thought I would impart some of what I have discovered in my week-long journey to find my bliss.

The week started off with my first challenge being to make a list of all the things that make me feel good. You would not believe how hard it was for me to make this list. I am always thinking about what I can do for everyone else to make them happy, I rarely think about what makes me happy, or makes me feel good. It was an eye-opener for sure. What made it all the worse was all I had to do was list simple stuff like getting a manicure or getting my hair done. Those simple joys we find in life that we take for granted and don’t get as often as we should.

Once I made my list I was then to choose three to five things from the list and do them that very day. So, Monday became “ME Day”. I spent the day doing some stuff I hadn’t done in a while. What may you ask? I could tell you but then I’d have to… well, you know the line.

On Tuesday morning the email that gave me my Day Two challenge was a fun one. It was to make a Feel Good playlist. A list of music that just makes you happy, makes you want to be alive, get up and dance. To just BE. As you may have guessed this meant I spent my morning on my iTunes™ account and on Spotify® looking for great music. I made another discovery about myself. What makes me happy one day, doesn’t always make me happy the next. I am terrible at making a playlist for this reason. I would just rather hit random and if a song isn’t doing it for me, hitting the next button.

I do have some songs that I do seem to add to all my lists. The first is from Cristina Aguilera and the name of the song is “Cruz”. There is something about this song that just frees my soul and allows it to soar. I have to admit there are a few of Cristina’s songs that are on my Feel-Good list, my taking charge list, my get in the car and drive list. You get the idea. Another one that sneaks on the list is a cute song by Heffron Drive called “One Track Mind”. It always puts a smile on my face. Speaking of ladies who end up on all my playlist another one is Demi Lovato, I mean how can you not feel good while singing “Confident”?

The day three challenge involved cleaning up the space around you. Let’s face it. No one is happy in a cluttered dirty space. The good vibes just do not flow. I spend this time of year clearing out the clutter built up over the last year. All the paperwork, started project left collecting dust in various corners of my room, my closet. If I haven’t touched it or needed it in the last year. Guess what? It is time to say good-bye. The same goes for mental thoughts. Do a dusting of your mental faculties, shaking loose all the negative emotions and grudges that you have stored and let them out. They have no place in your happy, feel-good vibe.

Day four arrived with me being in a kind of sad place. Went to the doctor and what never fails? Something pops up on my blood test to concern her. So, on this day I had to go get an ultrasound of my kidneys. Yeah, still waiting to hear back on that. I am also being sent to see a Nephrologist. Day four’s challenge was to list all the places/spaces that make me feel good. And the second part was to create a space in my home that was my feel-good space. Once again, doesn’t sound that difficult but for me, it was a little bit hard to figure out places that make me feel good.

Finding places that make you feel good when you spend most of your time in doctor’s offices, hospitals and fun places like that. You really have to think about the places that bring you joy. One of the places that will always make me happy is anywhere on or near water. I was lucky to be born in a town that had two lakes in it plus a dinky city creek. Anytime I was feeling sad or depressed I could just take a walk, or drive and find some water to be near to recharge my battery.

Another thing I have discovered is I need trees. Not these scrubby little trees we have here where I live in Texas but the ancient green forest of the Pacific Northwest or the old trees of my hometown, that were the perfect height for climbing. Nothing better than climbing up into an old oak tree and just watching the sun and clouds through the leaves. A peacefulness settles within my chest that is hard to describe.

I also love to go to the library or bookstore. The smell of old books at the library takes me back to spending time in the stacks at my public library as a kid. And the smell of fresh ink, paper, and glue on new books at the bookstore sets my endorphins racing for some reason. I can’t wait to hold my own book and get that new book smell rush from it.

As for making my “feel good” space at home. I like to use the wax burners and I interchange depending on my mood and season the smells. They usually are those of nature. Flowers, mountains, or ocean. I have posters of things that make me happy or that inspire me such as the one pictured. Anyone who has read my blog has heard me talk about my ever-blooming rose bush right outside my window. I like my desk next to the window so that I can look out at the world on those days when my writing takes a turn towards the darker side of things.

We arrived at day five of the challenge. I must say that this week I have been in a really good mood. Had a great outlook and been thinking positive. That hasn’t been the case for most of the month of March. I have been having some serious bouts of depression that have left me thinking some rather dark thoughts. I think that is why doing this challenge was so important to me. I wanted to see if I could make myself feel better with just a few simple changes and choices. I admit I was pleasantly surprised that it works.

The day five challenge was to meditate. Now I must admit I have a bit of a problem meditating. I always wondered why until I bought a book on yoga and in it, meditation is about thinking in the present. Most of us think in the past or future. We rarely think in the present. We are always trying to be two steps ahead of ourselves. Or we get stuck looking back on the past and getting lost in our regrets. In this book, it speaks of teaching yourself to breathe correctly and because you must be aware of your breathing it makes you focus on the now. Your mind becomes freed with each outward breath. You look inward as you draw in that next life-giving air.

In the meditation for the challenge, it asks you to imagine everything you already have that make you feel good, yes, I know that is looking into the past a bit. Yet it is the now also. The people, places, things that make you happy and feel good. Imagine them and what it is about them that makes you feel this way. Feel free to experience the emotions thinking about your happy people, places, and things make you feel. Just meditating on these will raise your happiness vibe immensely.

Now I was wondering what could be next on the list for my day six exercise and I didn’t expect to be introduced to “Tapping”. I won’t go into it too deeply right now because I am just learning about it but if you are interested you can find videos on YouTube explaining it and showing you how to do it. One of the people to check out is Brad Yates.

On this day I also learned to Forgive and Release. Nothing brings you down more than holding onto old anger and regrets. It doesn’t hurt anyone but you to hold them. There is a reason the song “Let It Go” from Frozen struck a chord with so many of us. The song says it all. Resentment only hurts YOU!!

The exercise we were given was to make a list of all the things(mistakes, regrets, and people who hurt you, etc.)and then go through the list and one by one say that you forgive them, you forgive yourself and in doing so you are giving yourself permission to “Let It Go”. Once done you take a deep breath, releasing all that stagnant, negative energy to make room for creating healthy positive energy.

On the seventh day, I did not rest. The exercise for this day I had done a bit of on day three. The day seven exercise is all about giving back. It makes you feel good to be able to help someone and it benefits those on the receiving end. I gave old clothes and books to charity on day three but there are so many other ways you can give back. Here are a few.

-Volunteer for a cause you care about.
-Set up regular monthly donations to your favorite causes.
-Make a donation every time you receive extra money.
-Gather stuff you no longer need and donate it to places such as The Salvation Army or if you have old books, your public library or a second-hand bookstore. Another wonderful place to donate clothes and household items is The ARC of Texas. You can find more out about it on their website.

I finished the week feeling better than I had in a long time with a new spring in my step. I will be posting next time my second quarter goals and checking out how well I accomplished the first quarter ones. I hope you check back in to see how well I did.  Give this seven-day challenge a try and let me know if it helped you feel better. I hope April finds you loving fully and laughing often.

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