In 9 days, I will turn 40. People have asked me what my feelings are–am I scared, excited, anxious. I will say that 95% of me is utterly thrilled and excited. There is a very small part of me that is a little anxious–simply because some things are not how I think they should be. But I have to remember that all things (even the things that I think aren’t great) are working together for the good (Romans 8:28).
But for the most part, I’m excited about turning 40.
The number 40 represents a new chapter or era in history. And that is how I view this milestone birthday. One of the “new” chapters in my own history is my intentional effort to “be happy.”
*Insert Mary J song here*
I’ve been saying for weeks now with all the drama, trauma and tragedy in the world–we need to focus on finding and maintaining happiness. Negativity and Drama are never hard to find. However, happiness can be a bit more elusive for some of us. In this world full of unhappiness–you and I deserve to be happy!
I watched some of OWN’s Super Soul Sunday recently with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Two things she said stuck with me:
- Sing every morning
- Finding happiness does not have to be tied to a huge goal or aspiration. Small gestures can lead to big happiness.
Sing Every Morning
Singing every morning? I was like, “how can that make you happy?” So I let my fingers do the walking through Google. And it turns out there are physical and psychological benefits of singing such as:
- Decreases stress levels
- Increases immune system antibodies
- Releases endorphins (feel good vibes)
- Builds social confidence (watch Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding)
- Helps relieve symptoms of chronic conditions or illnesses such as strokes, asthma and COPD
If you want to see an example of the power of singing, watch this video of a volunteer singing hymns to alzheimer’s patient that was nearly catatonic and hadn’t spoken in a long time:
There are two songs that I sing a lot…
I usually sing this worship song by Martha Munizzi as I am dressing. This is the first song I listen to in the mornings…
As soon as I hear the opening strings and “la la la” of “I Will Worship” by Martha Munizzi–I start smiling.
I usually sing “Get Up” in the car on the way to work….
Don’t judge me for the stark contrast in music…smile. I am not sure exactly what it is, but these two songs instantly put me in a better head space.
Music has always been an important part of my life. I think it is because I came from an era of making mix tapes. Where the lyrics and order of selected songs were a direct expression of who you were and how you felt….
Relationships were created and ended based on a mix tape………….
Remember doing this?!?!?!
Songs trigger memories and emotions. It’s up to us to make sure that we create positive triggers as much as possible.
Funny story (well funny now….)
In high school, my ex boyfriend broke up with me after school one day. After I hit him with my English book (which was 800 pages and weighed about 10 lbs.) I ran to my car and started it. The song that came on after that devastating moment (devastating in high school especially) was the song “Anniversary” by Toni, Tony, Tone. I cursed the radio station, knowing that must have known I had just gotten dumped and were trying to be funny (hey, I was in high schoole–don’t judge LOL) I clicked off the radio and vowed never to listen to that song again–and I haven’t. That was in 1993.
Petty, maybe. But music can be that impactful. So I try to listen to songs that trigger positive emotions and feelings for me. Remember music and singing releases positive endorphins….
The second statement that Rubin made that stuck with me was that you don’t have to do something grandiose to find happiness. That was a great thing to be reminded of. I think for a lot of us we think, “If I can cure world hunger–then I’ll be happy.” Find happiness in providing meals for one family during the holidays. Find happiness in making a monthly donation to your local food bank or shelter. It is a great place to start to do these smaller gestures and find happiness in them.
For the parts of your happiness that are more personal, still find actions that you can maintain daily. For Rubin she said that one of hers was to kiss her husband every morning and every night. May seem like a “no brainer” but I am sure that there are a lot of couples that this is not a daily occurrence.
What is one thing you can do daily that will bring you happiness?
The other thing I chose (besides singing daily) as a habit to increase my happiness has NOTHING to do with my business or branding. But it will have an indirect impact on them. What I plan to incorporate into my daily routine is simply something that make me smile and makes me feel like Adeea. And because it makes me smile, they will impact how I do business and build my brand.
Wear lipstick and heels
I know what you’re thinking–what? Just stay with me here. I had gotten to the point in my life and at work where I just didn’t want to wear makeup or lipstick much. And I LIVED in flats. It had gotten to the place where I had maybe 2-3 pairs of heels, compared to dozens I had before. I let internal and external circumstances impact how I showed up, not for others–but for myself. Because I wasn’t showing up as who I am, I wasn’t fully present. And not being fully present–even in areas I was passionate about impacted my brand.
So in a declaration of independence, I am going back to regularly wearing heels and lipstick (or lip gloss–more than just lip balm)!!!
I don’t “need” shoes or lipstick to help me be who I am. I believe that they are an extension and express part of who I am.
What are 1-2 practices, habits, gestures, etc. that you can incorporate into your life that will increase your happiness? Leave a comment below–I might use it too!
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