I have just wasted another 30 minutes playing ‘Words With Friends’ from my Facebook site. That’s easily justifiable—it’s like Scrabble, it’s good for the brain and you learn new words by trying out ridiculous combinations of letters that somehow work. Who knew that chemurgy is a word, besides chemists?
However, while on Facebook I watched an old Johnny Carson spot with Bette Midler singing, “I’m So Fat.” Then I watched some David Suzuki bloopers and a cat playing the piano. These clips made me smile, chuckle and even laugh out loud. Time waster? Yes, perhaps. But they made me feel good. They put a smile on my face, in exchange for about 8 minutes of time lost.
I’m not suggesting we look for new ways to fritter away our time. I am suggesting, however, that there are things we can do to make ourselves feel good—harmless, easy and fun. Of course cooking a meal for friends or family, running an errand for someone who is ill, reading to kids, cleaning the house, getting the laundry done, going to the movies, working out, walking the dog– all of these things are harmless, helpful and feel good. However, if we are a bit ‘down in the dumps’ about something, or have a friend who is, making a conscious effort to laugh is really important. There’s little that’s so inexpensive and wonderful as shared laughter.
Years ago I discovered that when I was unhappy, going to look at birthday cards could shift my mood, as does music, a good book or an engaging movie. My point is that even though we all may get a bit blue from time to time, we can also make a conscious effort to be positive and shift from a ‘poor me’ to a happier state, by making the effort. Learning how to raise your own spirits is a useful bit of knowledge to have. So get out there, go to see a film, do something nice for someone else, pick up a joke book or go for a walk and smell the daisies. No daisies? Get thee to a flower shop.
- Remember what used to make you laugh and go for it. Was it an old Laurel and Hardy film? Maybe ‘You’ve Got Mail’ or some other somewhat sappy movie; it doesn’t matter, just watch something.
- Go look at some cards in a store. Buy one to send to a friend.
- Give yourself permission to watch ‘Cats playing the piano’ or other funny animal antics on YouTube.
- Grab a coffee with a friend you can talk to and share some laughter.
- Go for a walk and look around. You’re bound to see something that puts a smile on your face.
The most important thing is to give yourself permission for a much-needed time out and laughter.
Reva Nelson’s book on Resilience, ‘Bounce Back!’ includes 10 steps to build greater resilience for your life.