The Parking Lot

There I sat, in the parking lot of a grocery store, waiting for a family member to finish their shopping trip. The sun was shining bright, and the sky was filled with fluffy white clouds. The trees were a beautiful green and there was a slight breeze in the air, which was more than welcomed on this hot and humid day.

I, like many, am a very busy person these days. Months feel like weeks and there is always a lot to do, I am very much living a life full of hustle and bustle at the moment. There is hardly any time in my day that I can truly sit and be at one with myself and my surroundings, a little piece of bliss that I truly miss.

As I sat in this parking lot, I had such a sense of peace and serenity come over me. I wasn’t focusing on what I had to do next, or knocking anything off of my to-do list, I was simply focused on the beautiful nature that surrounded me and the sound of my breath. I was focused on just being. At this particular moment, I felt as if the world had stopped, this was true mindfulness, something that we all could use more of.

So often as I am driving, I’m thinking about so many things, but hardly about the gorgeous scenery that surrounds me. So often I am cooking, but I don’t pay attention to the beautiful colors and invigorating smells in front of me. So often I am watching TV, but instead of getting lost in a good show, I am thinking about what I need to do tomorrow. We could bring so much more peace and joy into our lives if we practiced mindfulness, if we truly exist in the here and now.

I sat there in the car without a care in the world. I admired nature’s beauty as I felt the warm sun on my skin and realized just how nice, rare, and precious this moment was. Sometimes the happiest moments are ones where we are alone and can turn our busy minds off for even a few minutes. Who would have thought that something as simple as a parking lot could remind me of a very important practice…the practice of mindfulness.

5 Simple Ways to Boost Happiness

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut.  This quote couldn’t be more accurate.  Life presents us many challenges, struggles, and lessons, but it also gives us many joys, memories, and hope.  No one is going to be happy all of the time, life is just not that way, but there are many ways to boost happiness and well-being.  In this blog I will outline 5 simple ways to help boost happiness.

  1. Spend time in nature. The sun, sounds of life, beautiful colors, and fresh air really help lift our spirits and make us feel connected to a much bigger world.  No matter what kind of day I am having, a stroll in nature is sure to pick me up.  Walking itself is a happiness booster, walking in nature is an even bigger bonus, it has so much to offer us.  There’s nothing like a fresh breeze, natural scents, and feeling the warm sun on your skin.  Nature makes me feel whole.

    2.  Treat yourself.  We are so good at helping and lifting others, we need to also remember to look out for ourselves!  We all deserve to be pampered and treated and the effects are very beneficial.  Even a small treat has the ability to turn one’s day around.  Treat yourself to your favorite drink, meal, a movie, binge watch your favorite TV shows, take a hot bath, just do something that you love.

     3.  Connect with others. Spending time with loved ones whether in person, or on the phone is a mood booster.  Laughing and catching up with those that we care about is so powerful.  Even a hug boosts our mood, it helps us feel connected to others and the world.  Humans for the most part are very social creatures, we thrive and do best when we are with each other.  

     4.  Do a good deed. Helping other people helps us!  There is mutual gain from doing a good deed and making someone’s day, it makes us feel good in return.  Knowing that we have lifted someone’s spirits, helped them through a difficult situation, lended a helping hand no matter how small, these are all good mood boosters. 

     5.  Take a trip down memory lane. Spend some time recalling or daydreaming about your favorite memories, they are bound to make you smile!  Close your eyes and picture the last beach trip that you took, the smell of your favorite holiday dish, go back and look at pictures of some of your favorite events, holidays, a wedding, the birth of a child, happy times with friends.         Smell some of your favorite scents, they can elicit many memories and feelings of happiness. Just thinking of fond memories can give us a powerful happiness boost.

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I hope that you have enjoyed these 5 tips to boost happiness.  Take some time for yourself today and do something to lift your spirits…you deserve it! What kinds of things make you happy?

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