Happy April Fool’s Day, All!
Did you prank or get pranked? Thankfully I’m out on the road so I’m relatively insulated from such an event today…but I’d love to live vicariously through you – so share with us your best prank story!
Just thinking of this day brought to mind the story of a prank that the author, Gretchen Rubin, of the book The Happiness Project that I have been reading played on her daughter. On the eve of 1 April, she took a bowl and filled it with Cheerios (boo!) and milk (yay!) and put it in the freezer. The next morning she grabbed the bowl and a spoon and gave it to her little one. You can imagine the laughs that came from that episode! How people come up with these jokes is beyond me – I’m not that smart – but they sure are funny to read about!
With Rubin’s works on my mind and a few clicks around the paleosphere I ended up thinking to myself that we need to discuss some of the mental topics of our nutritional journey. We’ve touched briefly on them before and we’ll dig more into them at a later time but today one single thread seemed to roll through my thoughts – What makes you happy?
This is an interesting question. Do you have an immediate answer to it? If so – good for you! Most likely, you haven’t even thought about it.
Most people claim to be happy. Or mostly happy anyway. Of course the basic hang-ups tend to be related to work (not doing what you want or not being challenged enough) and social relationships (I’ll leave this one out there for you to fill in). However, this question is more than that. What I am asking you is – at any given time and place, what is something that you could do that would bring you pleasure/happiness? For some, it’s a rollicking party. For others, maybe reading a book in a quiet place is it. As Mark claimed in his post a few days ago – it is a long hike for him. Is there something that simple in your life?
Chris Keeser, The Healthy Skeptic, just finished his 9 steps to Perfect Health series (something I will be sharing with you in the coming weeks) and someone asked him what the most important step was. His answer? There is none. However, the biggest obstacle for people is their own mind. We’ve seen this in struggle to go against the grain (pun intended!) and other conventional wisdoms. What we need to do is identify our weak link and strengthen it. This does not come without serious reflection and sometimes even asking others for their opinion. Kresser’s own admission is his lack of including pleasure/fun into his every day. Rubin made a special effort in her year-long project to do the same. Makes me think that maybe we should do this too!
Before we get too far on this topic though – did you know that most people place childcare very low on their list of things that bring they like to do, yet when asked about one thing that has made them happy the highest ranked answer is usually being a parent or grandparent? It’s the same with people who throw a party. Go ask them during it if they are having fun (usually you’ll find them tearing their hair out running around frantically making sure everyone is cared for and nothing is amiss – you’ll find them collapsed with a big sigh and a bigger glass of wine afterwards). Usually the answer is YES! Even though it doesn’t look it at the time. This is a funny thing. For it isn’t the actual attainment of the activity or goal that brings joy and fun to most people – it is the preparation, the steps to getting there, and then the reflection afterwards. So while going to a Lady Gaga concert may bring you joy for a few hours – was it really the concert that brought you happiness or the months of thinking about it, planning the night out with the girls, the ride to and from, and the years of reminiscing about that night that you’ll have to come? Think about it.
Rubin says this, on the 5-year anniversary post of her blog: “And guess what? My blog has become a engine of happiness for me. Of course, , and my blog, to this day, makes me feel frustrated, dumb, angry, and overwhelmed. But step by step, I've figured out how to add the bells and whistles, which has given me the atmosphere of growth so important to happiness.”
Come up with your list. It can be one thing or ten things. Share it with us. What makes you happy?
It can be something not usually considered too! One of Rubin’s own admissions was her love for reading children’s literature – such as Harry Potter or Anne of Green Gables. She ended up starting a Children’s Literature Reading Club with a few friends and that brought her much joy.
I enjoy mainly quiet moments and activities. Reading a book. Journaling. Sitting with a good friend watching the sun go down. Taking a hike or run through the woods. Teaching someone, one on one, about anything – a child and math, an adult and nutrition. Fabricating and re-forming ideas, plans, and strategies for businesses, products, and services. Taking up a new challenge and working in the background to achieve 90 percent of that goal before handing it to another for completion and recognition. Being still and listening.
Since we all love success stories – and Mark’s Daily Apple features them every Friday – I’m including last week’s here. The best part is that the subject of the first story is a young lady whose blog we’ve linked to in the past: Stuff I Make My Husband. Check out her Experiment if you want something other than gardening to do this weekend! The only thing is that she has missed out on our recipe! Totally would have won, IMHO.
Workout of the Day: Last one for the week! Hit it hard and hit it strong! Do something active tomorrow and rest well on Sunday.
Warm-up: 2 rounds of 15 – Jumping Jacks, Shoulder Mobility, Push-ups, Walking Lunge, Samson Stretch, Squat
Work-out: For Time - 100 pushups. Every time you stop to take a break – run 150 meters or 25 seconds. If you have access to a pull-up bar or anything to do bar rows on, do pull-ups or bar rows instead.
Your push-ups are full range of motion. Get your chest to the floor each time (best way to do this is to lift your hands at the bottom of each rep) and lock out fully at the top.
"The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up." Mark Twain
To Happiness. In whatever ways it comes for you.