Little Rituals. It seems that each season, my home is filled with them. Take for example the average school day. I wake up first, do a little stretching that elicits some scary pops and snaps, wake my eldest for school, make coffee, wake him again and begin the cat herding I call "getting the boys ready for school". And as I drop each of them off at their school doors, I say- "Don't have a good day." they smile- knowing where I'm going with this and say, "I know, Ma" "Can't have onw kiddo- no one is going to give it to you- you have to MAKE it a good day!" Now they seem a little more charged up- it's like I have just dressed them in positive chi armor- "Something crappy is going to happen- accept it- and move on- make it a good one!" Now they laugh because I said "crappy". But they know. We all know. Every day, no matter how smooth the road may seem, is filled with speed bumps. Even pot holes and maybe a few detours. But when you're driving, you don't stop the car at these. You keep on going. You navigate around them or through them. Can't let it ruin the ride.
It's a lesson I try to reinforce everyday with them. happiness is a choice. No one gives it to you. And, I can say that after several decades of being an over achiever in the people pleasing department- you can't really make anyone happy. You can set the stage for them to be happy- but it's their choice. Happiness is as much about perspective as it is about actuality. Crete your own happiness. It doesn't mean you walk around like a delusional optimist- but realize that you really do hold alot of power over your happiness. Attitude can make a home run smoother, get you a promotion or a date. It can affect your health on so many levels- I truly believe it can help God work miracles and answer prayers. Your setting the stage- opening the door.
In fact, there was a study at the University of Kansas that proved putting on a happy face can actually make you feel better. Study participants who made themselves smile, either physically (using chopsticks to make their mouths form the shape of a smile) or by just plain-old smiling, had lower heart rate levels after recovery from stressful activities, though "real" smiles, involving the whole face, had a stronger effect than the manufactured smiles. Smiling actually influences your physical state, so if you're feeling stressed, go ahead and grin and let your body work from the outside in to make you feel better! (Why not give it a try- and just smile right now. I can't see you ;)
Feel better? Well- then you just made it a good day!