Living life with a chronic disease can really degrade your spirit. So much of our emotional health depends on things mostly outside our control: swinging blood sugar levels, our jobs, and the daily commute are just a few things not easily changed.
I’ve learned, however, that I can choose to do some simple things that influence my outlook and emotions in a positive way, out-of-proportion with the effort and time needed to do them.
I live in a four-season climate that features a lot of wet and cold winter weather. Sunshine during winter is a rare commodity and something most people miss. I know that there is a connection between exposure to the sun and a sense of well-being.
Just the other day, a typical wet and dreary winter one, I was walking down the city street and suddenly the sun came out, bright and glorious. I stopped walking and stood up against the side of a building facing south, lifted my face toward the sun, closed my eyes and luxuriated in the warm sunshine. I enjoyed the bright orange color that the sun makes through my eyelids and just stood there for about five minutes to drink in this primal pleasure.
It was such a simple thing to do, didn’t cost anything, and took little time. I’ve since found two more chances to repeat this bit of sun-worship. I think it connects deeply with my human DNA in a restorative and healing way. This may seem frivolous and non-essential to some but it did brighten my day and boost my spirits even though the rain and clouds soon returned.
There are hundreds of these little “stop and smell the roses” opportunities in each of our days and to tell you the truth, I miss most of them because I’m not watching for them. What little things do you do to harvest the joy that each day can bring?