Harvest is our game
Thrive is our name, and harvest is our game this glorious month of September.
The harvest, as we know, is a time for us to enjoy the many, many items of deliciousness that have made their journey from farm to table. I’ve been loving my Fresh Fork delivery of amazing, locally-grown produce all summer long. Rhubarb teaming up strawberries for a traffic-stopping crisp. Eggs getting it on with asparagus and onions for a rockin’ quiche.
Sorry to say, the blueberries never made it that far; I just plopped them in one by one.
In the same way we reap nature’s bounty from seeds we sowed long ago (you know where this is going), we can do the same for our happiness. We can’t jump to an exalted state in an instant, just like a seed can’t spring into a (pick your favorite fruit/vegetable) overnight. It takes time and the right conditions until we’re ready to experience the full harvest.
Let’s focus on planting three happiness seeds this month. If you’re already coming in hot on these, go hug a stranger, make some origami, or clean your fridge. If not, try to make one of these your focus for the month.
Think of them like depositing money into your savings account. Putting aside three dollars a day may seem insignificant when you’re doing it, but what happens when you check that account after a couple of months? It’s pretty cool, no? Except when you blow it all on some gadgets you don’t need on Amazon.
1) Meditation: the aperitif of champions
No one knows a “good” way to get started. The fact that you start is good. I’ve been meditating for a good chunk of time and I still get a bunch of mind clutter—things I gotta do, random snippets of semi-remembered songs, my daydreamed conversations with William Shatner over a hot fudge sundae. Yep, it’s all there.
Just doing some deep breathing can calm your nervous system and alter your brain chemistry for the better. There is no downside to meditation.
If you’re a total nubie, try this: set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit in a comfortable chair with decent posture. When you inhale, hear the word ‘so’ in your mind, and on your exhale, hear the word ‘hum’. In Sanskrit, those words mean, “I am.” It’s a basic mantra. Give it a whirl for a few days. Call me in the morning.
2) Exercise is for cool, trendy people
We’ve lauded the benefits of getting out and getting moving. Like meditation or any new habit, it takes time to get into a new groove. You’re not fighting the trail or court or pool here: you’re fighting your own inertia.
Oh god, I cringe at the thought of starting up again when I’ve been out of my exercise routine. The couch/food/board game look so much better than dragging my butt outside for a walk.
But exercise is cumulative and once you’re up and going for some time (three weeks it takes to form a new habit), you won’t want to NOT exercise. And remember the three magic buzz words: better brain chemistry.
3) Gratitude list, baby!
Re-center at the end of your long, busy, stressful day by jotting down five things you are truly and deeply grateful for…and why. Go into detail. Flush out the nitty gritty. Over time, you get in the habit of refocusing on what really matters and leave the pointless trash you slogged through earlier in the day in no man’s land.
It’s simple, a caveman could do it, and it’s also really powerful.