“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn you attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” Henry David Thoreau
On this Inspiration Saturday, I thought I’d share a few ideas that might bring a little joy into your life. Try one, try a few or try them all…the choice is yours!
1. Go for a walk.
2. Look through old album or photo boxes.
3. Enjoy your favorite coffee drink.
4. Read a chapter (or more!) in your book.
5. Stop by a pet store and love on a kitten (or other animal).
6. Take your dog (of friends dog) for a walk.
7. Enjoy your favorite pastry.
8. Hug someone (preferably someone you know).
9. Play your favorite song and sing-a-long.
10. Compliment a stranger.
11. Pick wildflowers
12. Stare at the stars.
13. Take a bike ride.
14. Send snail mail (this makes me super duper happy).
15. Make your favorite meal.
17. Sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs.
18. Watch your favorite show or movie.
19. Call a friend or relative.
20. Make a craft and give to a friend.
21. Take the scenic route.
22. Read through an old journal.
23. Watch re-runs of your favourite show.
24. Take a selfie a day for a week, month or year.
It seems like all of us are looking for more joy in our lives. Appreciation is one of the easiest ways to feel better right away. No matter what is going on in your life, you can always find something to be grateful for. When you start to appreciate those things you do have in your life, the feeling of joy will expand as you focus more on it. We are meant to be joyous and living a fulfilling life!
So why is it that most people are not doing that? It’s because they aren’t doing the things they absolutely LOVE to do. It’s time to figure out what we love and then fill our days with being and doing it!
Back in August of 2018, I wrote a well-received post called That Which Brings Me Joy. I followed up with A Little Bit More Joy in September which again was quite popular. Here for 2019 are 75 more ways to bring joy back into your world:
Talk to a Stranger
Go to the Theater
Power Down Your Gadgets
Try Something New
Spend Time With Your Favorite Animal
Create Something Artistic
Get a Houseplant
Do Some Spring Cleaning
Take a 30-Minute Walk
Read a Novel
Join a Team
Do a Good Deed
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Stop and Smell the Roses
Light a Candle
Sing Your Heart Out
Organize Your Bedroom
Get Some Fresh Air
Take a Yoga Class
Soak Up the Sun
Take a Power Nap
Eat a real Breakfast
Reflect on Your Daily Accomplishments
Take Pride in Your Appearance
Let Your Imagination Run Wild
Sit Up Straight
Practice Positive Affirmations
Give Back to Your Community
Savour Good Memories
Be an Optimist
Give More Hugs
Work With Your Hands
Don’t Worry About What Others Think of You
Shower Yourself With Self-Love
Live in the Moment
Be on Time
Drink More Water
Listen to Music
Appreciate a Work of Art
Let Go of Anger
Spend Time With Friends and Family
Buy Now, Enjoy Later
Earn Your Indulgences
Pop in a Sappy Movie
Read the Newspaper
Play in the Dirt
Make the Bed
Spend Time With Happy people
Write Down Your Aspirations
Make Time for Yourself
Grow Your Own Vegetables
Read Something Spiritual
Appreciate Your Surroundings
Have a picnic
Hold hands with someone special
Travel to a new city or country
Play a board game
Create a photo album
Jump in puddles
Donate unwanted items to those in need
Say I Love You more often
Joy is equal to happiness plus love. Isn’t that what we all want in our lives? Remember…
In the Spirit of the Season, here are 50 Christmas quotes to help bring good cheer to your heart during the holidays. Thanks to the website Daring To Live Fully for the list.
1. “I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’”
~ David Grayson
2. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.”
~ Meredith Willson, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”
3. “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
~ Oren Arnold
5. “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”
~ Peg Bracken
6. “Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”
~ Francis C. Farley
7. “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”
~ W.T. Ellis
8. “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
9. “Christmas now surrounds us,
Happiness is everywhere
Our hands are busy with many tasks
As carols fill the air.”
~ Shirley Sallay
10. “Each sight, each sound of Christmas
And fragrances sublime
Make hearts and faces happy
This glorious Christmastime.”
~ Carice Williams
11. “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
12. “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”
~ Janice Maeditere
13. “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
~ Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby
14. “I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”
~ Harlan Miller
15. “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
16. “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”
~ Ruth Carter Stapleton
17. “Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.”
~ Martin Luther
18. “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”
~ Burton Hillis
19. “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.”
~ Harlan Miller
20. “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”
~ W. J. Tucker
21. “Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.”
~ J. C. Penney
22. “I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
23. “I love the Christmas-tide, and yet,
I notice this, each year I live;
I always like the gifts I get,
But how I love the gifts I give!”
~ Carolyn Wells
24. “Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.”
~ Pope John XXIII
25. “Let us have music for Christmas…
Sound the trumpet of joy and rebirth;
Let each of us try, with a song in our hearts,
To bring peace to men on earth.”
~ Mildred L. Jarrell
26. “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
27. “I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.”
~ Carrie Fisher
28. “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
~ Agnes M. Pharo
29. “May Christmas lend a special charm
To all you chance to do.
And may the season light your way
To hopes and dreams anew.”
~ Garnett Ann Schultz, “My Christmas Wish”
30. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know,
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.”
~ Irving Berlin
31. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
~ Charles Dickens, Ebeneezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
32. “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
~ Dr Seuss
33. “The merry family gatherings–
The old, the very young;
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time–
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all.”
~ Helen Lowrie Marshall
34. “Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.”
~ Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas”
35. “This time of year means being kind
to everyone we meet,
To share a smile with strangers
we may pass along the street.”
~ Betty Black
36. “Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.”
37. “There is a Christmas song upon the air,
There is a joy innate within the heart;
An inner sense of peace, a holy light
Illumines life and sets these days apart.”
~ Edna Greene Hines
38. “I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”
~ Taylor Caldwell
39. “Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.”
~ Lucinda Franks
40. “Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.”
~ Henry Van Dyke
41. “Ask your children two questions this Christmas. First: What do you want to give to others for Christmas? Second: What do you want for Christmas? The first fosters generosity of heart and an outward focus. The second can breed selfishness if not tempered by the first.”
~ Author Unknown
42. “Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.”
~ Helen Steiner Rice
43. “Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
~ Joan Winmill Brown
44. “Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.”
~ Augusta E. Rundel
45. “Christmas day is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both.”
~ Phillips Brooks
47. “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
~ Charles Schulz
48. “Christmas, my child, is love in action.”
~ Dale Evans
49. “Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him–and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.”
~ Max Lucado
50. “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
This past summer, I wrote a post called That Which Brings Me Joy in which I talked about my hummingbirds and provided a list of things to do which could bring some joy into your life.
My hummingbirds continue to bring me much happiness. I bought a different feeder for them which the wasps that plagued me can’t get into, and I also bought a wasp trap which I’ve baited with a double concentrate of sugar water. The birds are happy, the wasps not so much, but there aren’t as many of them now with the weather cooling off as we head into fall.
I wanted to continue my list of things that might bring happiness into your lives, so here goes. I hope there are no repeats!!
Write a thank-you note to yourself (on your best stationery, of course).
Venture outside for a five-minute walk.
Indulge in a delicious piece of chocolate (or a fresh colourful smoothie).
Find a piece of jewelry you haven’t worn in a while – feels just like vintage shopping!
Pick fresh flowers or send yourself a little bouquet of favourite flowers.
Visit a funny blog, watch a movie, or spend time with someone who makes you laugh.
Find serenity at a favourite local spot (ex. a park, a lake, a coffee shop, a little nook in your house or office).
Bake a favourite treat with a family member or friend — or bake alone and surprise someone special with yummy treats.
Discover an uplifting and fun song – something new.
Slow down and enjoy a long brunch.
Try a new fitness class.
Indulge in watching tv or reading a magazine – guilt free!
Declare a vacation day – write it BIG on your calendar so you get to anticipate this upcoming personal time (a vacation day can fall on the weekend).
Do a good deed — help someone else find joy.
Treat yourself to a favourite cup of coffee or tea – enjoy the flavours and activate your senses.
Be goofy! Dance around your room to your favorite music.
The Stream of Consciousness word for this past Saturday is Notice.
I have noticed an influx of hummingbirds in our area lately, so I recently put a hummingbird feeder in our backyard. We live in a complex of 12 townhouse units, all single level, and ours backs on to a small greenbelt. Almost all of the neighbours have feeders as the trees here are filled with hummers – I’ve seen upwards of 20 of them flitting around at any given time.
After putting up my feeder, I also noticed we had a huge problem with wasps. The first feeder type I had, the wasps were able to get into the nectar, so I swapped it out for a better design. On this one, the wasps can’t get to the delicious goodies within, but they still try, and it was keeping the hummingbirds away, so I purchased a wasp trap and hung that nearby, filling it with a combination of sugar water and two drops of detergent. It was quickly found and became very attractive to the wasps, and the hummers were able to enjoy their own feeder again without any problems.
Unfortunately, there were so many wasps we realized there must be a nest nearby. My hubby took a look around and sure enough, we found a nest in the outside dryer vent. He did give it a good spray with wasp killer, as much as I hate we had to do that but there were just too many of them to leave it alone. Our neighbours next door, Gail and David have a nest somewhere too, and so we are considering calling in Pest Control. Gail hates to kill anything and said that she had a wasp trap once, but it took too long for the wasps to die and she felt she was torturing them, so she took it down. Mine was also getting a lot of ants, but once I oiled the string on it, they stopped climbing down.
So, I’ve just cleaned out the old wasp trap and there were probably 20 dead ones in there plus a couple of live ones. I dumped them down the kitchen sink and used hot water on the live ones to flush them out and down the drain as well. I’ve never been stung before, but they don’t scare me. I cleaned out the trap, re-baited it and hung it back outside and from where I am sitting, I can see it’s already caught two more. The hummers probably won’t be back until later this evening when it cools off again, but they’ll be happy to know they won’t be bothered. I’m hoping I’ll get multiples at the feeder – it’s designed to hold 4 birds at a time. I promised my dear friend Charlotte I would send her a picture of the birds feeding but so far it’s only been one bird at a time, and they choose the back of the feeder where I can’t see them to take a picture. Typical!!
I love watching how delicate the birds are, but how aggressive they become when they feed…their lunging beaks almost attacking the yellow bulb of the feeder as they hover in mid air, sipping and thrusting and sipping and thrusting. I have a “birds eye” view of the action and they are such a marvel to watch, with their jewel colour bodies flashing in the sun. Here in our area (Victoria, BC) we mostly get Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds,
Yet as delicate as they may appear, they are a hardy species, with the Rufous variety here during the spring and summer, and then spending their winters on the U.S. Gulf coast and Mexico. Although an unusual sight fifteen years ago, Anna’s are now winter regulars at many Victoria feeders. Anna’s are with us year round and we notice their presence at feeders is more obvious because their numbers are increasing locally. Both types are entertaining, and I get such joy watching them.
I strongly advise anyone to research the type of birds you get in your area, and then to put up a bird feeder, especially if you get hummingbirds. Making the nectar is as easy as making sugar water for them, and they are so fun and a real joy to watch.
There is always hope.
Joy is an interesting concept. It can happen because of tiny little things or we experience it because of huge and delightful things. I’ve been tackling a lot of serious subjects lately, so today, I thought I’d talk about joy, and how being happy and thankful can be possible when you live with Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness.
I have a hummingbird feeder that I recently added to my backyard. Apparently, I also have a wasp nest nearby. Right after adding the hummingbird feeder, a swarm of wasps took it over, preventing these tiny birds from having a chance to use their new feeding station. I was mad. This was NOT why I had put the feeder out, so I started brainstorming ideas about how I was going to correct the situation. I went online and one of the ideas was to put out a food source for the wasps and then to move it away from the feeder a little bit each day until it was far enough that the birds would feel safe to eat again. That was all well and good, but it didn’t get rid of the wasps, it just relocated them further down my patio. I wasn’t sure where the nest was, and I wanted the wee pesties to go away completely.
Still, I put out a dish with a super concentrated nectar for them and sure enough, they started leaving the hummingbird feeder alone and going to their own dish. Some of them drowned but what mostly happened is that a bigger swarm of wasps showed up, now that they had a food source. Even more frustrated, I bought a wasp trap and hung it near the bird feeder, hoping to confuse the little buggers and trick them into dying. Oh yes…I can be very mean when I need to be! And yes, this too worked…but obviously the nest was nearby because even more wasps showed up!! So, where is the joy in all this? Well, I watched as the wasp trap did its job…many of the new swarm were attracted to the extra sweet nectar and flew into the trap, but then found themselves unable to get out again. I watched in joy as they struggled to figure out what to do, eventually getting tired and dropping to the bottom where they drowned in the treasure that had called to them in the first place. And my hummingbirds were able to enjoy the feeder that was meant for them in peace.
Not only that but Ray was able to find the nest and give it a good spray with wasp killer, so hopefully, we’ve eradicated them and won’t have to deal with their swarming any longer. Another cause for Joy.
The hummingbirds make me happy. Their energy and the buzz their wings make when they’re at the feeder brings a smile to my face every time. The colours they wear on their jewel-toned bodies flash in the sun, and each one brings a bright start to my day. In the same way, a good cup of coffee and a cuddle with my cat Dorie starts the morning off right, even if I haven’t had much sleep at all.
I think that often, people with Chronic Pain forget that it’s okay to feel joy. We’ve been so used to feeling the negative emotions that come with being in pain all the time that we forget there are positives in our lives as well. When you hurt, your focus is on the hurting. There is often desperation around pain because it’s never-ending. We can have a tendency to catastrophize it with phrases like “I’ll never get better” or “this is the worse pain I’ve ever had” yet when good things happen, we don’t do the same thing: “this is the happiest I’ve ever been” or “I’ve never been so happy”. It’s almost like we’re afraid to accept the joy in our lives for fear it’s going to go away and we’ll never experience it again. The thing is, we make our own joy, or we find our own joy…nobody does it for us. So, if you want joy…you have to look for it. Think about it for a minute…what are some things that might bring joy into your life? Here’s a list of 20 items that might get you started:
Watch a sunrise or sunset
Send someone you love snail mail
Keep a journal
Take a walk
Do a good deed
Read a novel
Go to the museum
Take a class
Enjoy a power nap
Log off Facebook
Practice positive affirmations
Plant a garden
Have a warm bath
Go to an art gallery
Give more compliments
Most of these ideas cost nothing but reap huge benefits in the joy department, and you deserve them! Not only that, but the more joy you bring into your life the more you fire up the endorphins that release the body’s natural painkillers, so you’re physically doing good to your body as well as mentally doing good to your body. That’s a 2 for 1 special you won’t find in any store!!
You are worth every joy possible. With everything your body goes through on a daily basis, it’s natural to feel beat up and unworthy of happiness. Those are your brain weasels talking. Brain weasels are the voices of depression that come with chronic pain and those weasels lie to you all the time.
They don’t want you to be happy so they’ll tell you all sorts of lies to try and convince you that you don’t deserve joy in your life, but THEY ARE WRONG. You have every right to be as happy and joyful as the next person. So take a chance on happiness EVERY chance you get and see if it doesn’t start your day off on a better note. And tell those brain weasels they can go the same way as the wasps!