How To Be Happy!

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Being on lockdown is strange – your world shrinks, but it also expands.  I’ve discovered all sorts on walks from my house that I never knew about despite having been here for years – forgotten footpaths, beautiful wildflowers, even a stone circle!

Everybody in the world is affected.  It’s really hard.  There is so much uncertainty, so much change.  But out of all this, there are little moments, little ways to find a spark of happy energy.  Here are some of the ways to find those moments…
 

Primrose

NOTICE THE LITTLE THINGS
Being in a smaller world has also been a voyage of discovery.  I feel like a child again – inspecting the minutiae of primroses in the garden, noticing the little veins in their petals, their furry leaves, their love-heart shape, the way the light pings around them.  And that’s just one flower out of all the different plants in the garden, not to mention the multitude of wildflowers that have sprung forth on the verges.  

Many a happy hour can be spent on the little things.  And it’s not just flowers… it’s the slowing down of life, sending and receiving old fashioned letters and pictures, taking time to stop for a few moments. 


(Note: did you know that primroses are apparently edible – and according to old English superstition if a child eats a primrose they might see a fairy.  I wonder what’s in them!)
 

Buzzard

USE ALL YOUR SENSES
Have you noticed how the birds seem to be singing louder?  Maybe it’s because there is less traffic noise for them to compete with, or maybe they are really singing louder, but either way, once you stop and listen then all sorts of other sounds appear – a little mouse rustling in the hedge, the clock chiming in the village over a mile away (it must have always done that – how come I’ve never heard it before).  All in all, just wonderful.  

And smell.  Yes smell too – stepping outside and smelling the earth after rain.  How come I’ve never taken time before now to really notice that?  Or smelling the chocolate before I eat it – it tastes so much better.  

We always focus on seeing things but the lockdown has taught me how to use my other senses too.  

BREATHE
Linked to using all your senses is of course taking awareness of your breathing.  Slowing it down, counting it through, being aware of your chest rising and falling, becoming part of the moment.  Breathing in for a count of 7, breathing out for a count of 10.  We’re living in stressful times – I don’t know anybody who is free of anxiety.  Focussing on breathing is a calming mechanism and works absolute wonders!


SMILE AND BE NICE
I remember reading a study which showed that if you forced yourself to smile in front of a mirror, then pretty quickly, you couldn’t help but smile naturally.  I’ve always loved that. And if you smile at someone else, even from afar, then it’s likely to make their day, or gives them a little lift at the very least.  They won’t be able to help but smile right back.  

It’s also a well known fact that if you’re nice to other people, pay them a compliment, give them a call, acknowledge that they are a person too, then not only does it produce pleasurable feelings in them, but it also makes you happy too!
 

Walking in Buttermere

EXERCISE
It’s really hard if you’re feeling down to get out there and do some exercise.  But once you’ve done it, then woah, the feeling is enormous.  And if you do it every day, well feeling fit feels amazing.  So whether you’re walking outside or dancing in your own living room, trust me, you’ll feel great having done it!
 

A cup of tea at Low Millgillhead

HAVE A LITTLE TREAT
Beware – if it’s something you have all the time, then it’s not a little treat.  The whole point of a little treat is that it’s something to look forward to, and to savour when you have it.  Sometimes I’ll go all day without a cup of tea, just because when I do have that brew, it is really really good!  After saying all that, I do have a piece of chocolate every day, at around 3pm.  And that is a treat that I really look forward to!


BE CREATIVE
Some totally amazing creativity has come out of the lockdown.  Whether it’s music, art, cooking, video, sewing, carpentry or anything in between, it’s inspiring.  And the best thing is, the harder it is and the longer it takes to do, the more affirming it is to do it.  So do something creative and see where you get to!

Pip in Borrowdale