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By Bea Lanzi
I was feeling a bit stressed last week when I sat at my home computer trying to write the first draft of my March column. It had been a busy day and no matter how hard I tried to focus my thoughts, I just could not stop the random ideas from popping into my mind and distracting me from the task at hand. The more I tried, the more frustrated I became. My head started to hurt.
So, I took a break. I got up from my desk, made myself a cup of this new chocolate tea my daughter bought and then sat down, ready to get back to work. I thought the tea would focus my thoughts, but while it was delicious, it did little to help me with my writing task.
While I sat savoring that really great chocolatey tea, I glanced over at the small notebook I keep close to my computer to capture my brainstorming. I had selected it because it’s beautiful, with bright orange, blue, yellow and pink flowers and vibrant green trim. I love to look at it. It inspires me. Yet, this time, as I stared at the flowers, I was struck by the words that for some reason, had never really stood out to me before.
In the middle of those vibrant flowers, in gold lettering there are two words- Choose Happy. That’s it. Just two words. And, as I looked at them, it was like I was seeing them for the first time. I had never really noticed them even though I had been looking at that notebook forever. But, while I was attracted to the stunning flowers, I had completely overlooked the stunning message.
That day, as I sat with my tea, I focused on those two words- Choose Happy. And I wondered- is it really that simple- can we Choose Happy?
There are things we can’t choose. There are certainly situations and events that are beyond our control and choice. And, I fully recognize and accept that. So, I decided to focus on the small, everyday things that we can choose and quickly jotted down some that came to mind. I noted that we can choose the foods we eat, the places we go and the people we travel with. We can choose what we read, watch, write. We can choose the words we speak and the way we speak them. We can choose our thoughts, attitude and perspective and what we focus our energy and our attention on.
As I looked at the list in that notebook, it was getting pretty long. So, I decided to do a little experiment. I challenged myself to be more conscious and deliberate with those daily, small choices that are within my control and try to Choose Happy. Starting that night, I kept the image of my stunning notebook in my head and when I was faced with a choice, I visualized those two words- Choose Happy, surrounded by the elegant flowers.
It’s been interesting. One day when faced with a choice of how to spend my lunch break, I chose to take a short walk. That made me Happy. Another night, I chose to put aside the stress inducing social media and read a magazine that had been sitting on my nightstand for far too long. That made my Happy. Last weekend, I chose to spend time with friends who lift me up and are positive forces in my life. That make me Happy. When Sofia and I started to go over her college options the other night, I chose to listen more and speak less to understand her perspective. That made her and me Happy.
Although it’s only been a few days, I’ve found that, so far, I’ve been weighing daily choices in my head and making a real effort to Choose Happy. And, it seems like these little choices have added up to create a more Happy filled day for me and those I’m interacting with. So, I guess I would say this experiment has prompted some positive change that I am going to try to keep in my routine. I think that, along with the chocolate tea my daughter introduced me to, has definitely made my day more, well, yes, Happy.