Did you know you can take actions to make yourself happier? Apparently, you can.
I am currently taking an on-line college course that was offered for free by Coursera. (Not all Coursera courses have a free option.) I had never heard of them, but now that I am aware, I will be taking more of their free classes on my computer. The class I signed up for is through Yale University. Other classes may be provided by other institutions. If you want a certificate at the end, you have to pay, but I don’t care about that. I am auditing the course.
This class is about happiness. It is taught to Yale students, and during this time of Covid, they wanted to offer it to others who might benefit as well. I first became aware of the opportunity when it was mentioned in the newspaper. The name of this particular class is The Science of Well-Being. It lasts for eight weeks and requires about two hours per week of effort. Lectures are pre-recorded video clips and there are quizzes and a bit of home work. I’m having fun!
The lectures first tell you some of the science behind happiness and various theories, studies, and experiments. Then it moves on to how this pertains to us. I am learning a lot through the course and having a good time doing it. Some of the ways to be happier are not news. The one that everyone has heard about is gratitude.
Gratitude is an easy outlook to apply. Just look around you. What do you see that you are grateful for? I see flowers, plants, trees, and gardens that I am grateful for. If I look at my more immediate surroundings, I see dogs, books and magazines, and coffee in a gifted mug that I am grateful for. One of the dogs is currently gazing at me adoringly and that is a true blessing. And there are so many more. We have but to open our eyes and hearts and see.
What are you grateful for? Yes, I really want to know. There may be things that I am overlooking, and I care what others see as blessings.
Surviving a pandemic is hard. Even if you aren’t sick. You have to socially distance and practice isolation as much as possible.
I have not been inside a grocery store since the beginning of March. Thank goodness for curbside pick up. And thank you to the shoppers who make it possible. There are many things I miss.
See that little notebook? It is how I cope. Every time I want to do something but realize that I can’t because there is a pandemic going on, I write what I wanted to do in the notebook.
Our memories are short. I don’t want to miss out on anything and I will surely forget some things. Now I have a record of them. I have a post-pandemic list of desires and goals ready and waiting for me.
It helps me to feel that I am not missing out. I just can’t do these things right now. But they are on my list.
Spend time with my nieces (again & again!)
Invite various friends over to spend time on the patio
Spend an afternoon at the library
Your list may have different activities. But take heart dear ones, these restrictions will not last forever. One day we will be able to start work on our lists.
I love this photo. It is of Lacey and Merlin sharing couch time. Both are gone now, but their spirit of peace lives on. Both were strays of a sort.
Lacey came from my family/friends. She was born to an Amish cat that gave birth in their barn. I asked if I could have her because she reminded me of my beloved Grey Cat who had recently passed. Lacey turned out to be nothing like Grey Cat, but she was a great Cat in her own right.
Merlin came running down our dirt road one day and stopped near our driveway. I had recently gone to a large greyhound event and wanted a greyhound. Wish granted! Merlin was probably a greyhound-lurcher. He may have had a bit of hunting dog in his background but he looked like a greyhound that wasn’t quite long enough.
Both were wonderful additions to the family and provided many years of love.
We have two kitties. Morty (aka Mortimer, or Mortimer Kitten) is our little black and white cat. Orange Kitty (hey, it’s the only name that stuck) is our large orange tabby. Morty weighs 8 lbs. while Orange Kitty weighs about 20 lbs.
Mercifully, Orange Kitty is one of the mellowest cats I have ever met. He is a friendly, laid back guy. This is fortunate for Morty as Orange Kitty is nearly 3 times his size. Both kitties like to sleep together, especially during this colder weather. On the rare occasion when the kitties do have a dispute, our sheltie, Shelby, keeps things under control. She does not allow growling, hissing, or swatting to continue under her watch. Shelby will run to the kitties and stand in between them, like some kind of referee officiating at a WWF match.
This is how Orange Kitty spends most of his time. Not much bothers him. His only real interest is bugs. He loves to sit and watch them. He will even upon occasion gather the energy to pounce and swat at them.
He sees no need to get too worked up about these things though. If everybody took life as well as Big Orange Kitty, the world would be a more peaceful place.
The face of innocence. Don’t you believe it for a second. This does capture a peaceful moment though.
This is how Zekie waits for me to go to work once I start heating up and loading the car. He has given up following me from room to room and just lays in a chair where he can monitor my movements.
If I were the only one home, he would be laying on the back of the couch, frantically watching out the window. But daddy is still home so all is not lost. Living with a dog with separation anxiety is not easy.
Gardens can have such a peaceful, tranquil effect on the soul. If you can stop yourself from jumping up to grab the shears and dead head a few roses or pulling out “just a few weeds”, that is.
I do pretty well at relaxing and reading a good book or magazine though. It is a good way to pass an hour before going back to the rest of life and responsibilities.
I find that sitting still and watching butterflies, bees, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds fluttering from flower to flower collecting pollen, has much the same affect on me as watching fish in an aquarium.
I am removed from my own world for a while and enter into an alternate one. That of various animals. It is definitely also a restorative way to pass some time. I encourage you to give it a try.
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. –Unknown
This quote could have been inspired by our Orange Kitty. (I tried to give him a real name but nothing else stuck.)
He is not disturbed in the least by our pack of five barking dogs. In fact they may pause to sniff noses with him. Other people’s visiting dogs do not bother him. Strangers don’t phase him. He does not join in with our other cat when there is a rodent to be hunted. He will chase bugs but I don’t think he ever hurts them.
His is the ultimate peaceable soul. Lessons abound around us if we are wise enough to see them.