Oct 23 2009

Friday Fun: Animals in Good Moods

Jamie Lee

That’s right – we humans don’t have the market cornered on good moods. In fact, animals are probably much better than we are at reveling in the good mood just for the sake of it. We should all take notes and incorporate a little more pointless play into our lives.

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and sometimes a video can be worth a dozen smiles and a belly laugh. So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy these videos showing animals having a great time with their good moods.

Oct 22 2009

Are happy people stupid?

Jamie Lee

spreadjoyI have a theory that people curb their expressions of joy in order to avoid looking stupid. Think about it. If you see someone letting loose with full-blown enthusiasm and happiness, isn’t your first thought that they must be a little crazy? Sadly, happy people are often regarded as slightly off balance, “touched,” or maybe not quite as “sharp” as the rest of us. After all, if they really knew anything about anything, they wouldn’t be so damn happy, right?

That’s sad.

Take this video for example. There was a part of me that expected a piano to drop out of nowhere and squash this guy in the middle of his infernally happy song. I kept waiting for it. I figured, “No one can be this genuinely passionate about spreading joy.” There has to be a catch, a punch line, something. But, no, there’s no catch. According to the creator’s site, a guy named Mike Strickland got tired of watching all the violence on TV and wrote this little ditty about spreading joy. Seriously. How simple is that?

As corny as it is, this song made me smile. I can relate to the guy who wants to go out and teach people to see the joy instead of the horror. That’s a big part of what I find so appealing about the Good Mood Gig – the chance to do just that, help people realize how easy happiness can be. It just takes a change in perspective and the courage to look a little stupid sometimes. Personally, I’d rather be happy and stupid than miserable and brilliant. How about you?

Oct 21 2009

Mother Nature’s medicine

Jamie Lee

bradleypathMother really does know best – Mother Nature, that is. No matter what ails me – sadness, apathy, lethargy, angst, confusion, worry – a walk through woods and fields always helps me to rebalance my emotions and regain my perspective.

There is something about the great outdoors that gives your mind the space it needs to function more productively. John Burroughs, American naturalist and essayist, put it best, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

Although I enjoy the unique bounty of each season, fall has always been my favorite. It is the season of deepening contemplation. A walk through autumn woods invites reflection and aimless meandering thoughts. The crisp air is ripe with the scent of decaying leaves, alive with the sound of creatures preparing for winter’s long sleep.

No matter the season, the natural landscape is rich with enlightening metaphors. I cannot count the number of times I have gone into the woods with a question weighing heavy in my mind, and come out an hour later with the answer. Though she cannot speak in our language, Mother Nature finds other, more poetic ways to make her point.

Though I may outgrow many teachers in my lifetime, I know I will always learn from and be healed by the wild world. As another famous naturalist, John Muir, put it, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” So very true.

Oct 19 2009

Are you realizing your misery to its full potential?

Jamie Lee

miseryAre you searching for the secret to happiness? Do you mull endlessly over what might make your life more complete, balanced, centered, and fulfilling?

I recently asked for opinions on what lies at the root of a good mood. While writing that post, I started thinking about what most typically gets in the way of a good mood. After all, sometimes the best way to define something is to define what it’s not. Once you identify the things that make you snap, you learn to anticipate and avoid them – meaning you get to maintain your good mood.For me, the things that send me into a funk include running late, miscommunications, people with a sense of entitlement, wasted time, traffic, and so on.

While “researching” (read: cruising YouTube) this topic, I came across the enlightening video above. It does a great job of helping you put your head around some of the things that commonly derail a good mood – sending you spiraling into pits of doom and despair. Not pretty.

Do you fall prey to any of these all-too-human vices? Shhhh – you don’t have to say it out loud. But, if you can, just acknowledge it quietly to yourself and see if you can’t start to break the habit. In the meantime, enjoy the video and share it with your friends – I’m sure they are guilty of a few transgressions, right?  😉

Oct 15 2009

Give me 24 minutes and I’ll make you smile

Jamie Lee

muppetsMy friend Mimi commented on yesterday’s piano stairs post  saying that she smiled because the video brought out the “kid” in her. That got me thinking.

And then, last night, I curled up on the sofa with my daughter and my beau, our Boboli pizzas (chicken and broccoli for her, pepperoni for him, and Hawaiian for me), and a DVD of the Muppets, Season Three.

You remember the Muppet Show, right? Please say,”yes.” Don’t make me feel older than I am.

Jim Henson’s masterpiece of a puppet-run variety show was a family favorite when I was a  kid. As I sat down to watch the episode featuring Kris Kristofferson and his lovely wife Rita Coolidge singing sappy duets with each other and Muppet friends, I was transported back to my much more carefree youth. Watching Kermit, Miss Piggy, Continue reading

Oct 14 2009

Do you know how to have fun?

Jamie Lee

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.
Brandan Gill

This saying is one of my favorites – partly because it makes me smile, and partly because if gives me a Douglas Adams-esque sense that, “Oh, well, that’s all right then.”

When it comes to inspiring a good mood, few things are more potent than good, old-fashioned fun to get the ball rolling. The trouble is, as grown-ups, we often forget how to have fun. Our days are so full of busyness, busywork, busy bees, and Other Important Things that it’s hard for us to take a moment to breathe, never mind find ways to have fun.

The video above is Continue reading

Oct 13 2009

The joy of collaboration

Jamie Lee

I discovered this video via Chris Brogan’s blog. His post is titled “The Beauty of Collaboration.” I’ve titled mine the JOY of collaboration because I think that successful collaborations do create joy – both from the sense of accomplishment they help create (50% of respondents to yesterday’s poll cited a sense of accomplishment as the root of their good mood) and from the simple act of cooperating with others in the pursuit of a common goal.

There is something poignantly striking about people coming together to create something – particularly when there’s no motive beyond the act of creation. Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I’m often moved to tears by these types of projects. Watching videos like the Do-Re-Mi dance performance at Belgium’s Central Station or the Continue reading

Oct 12 2009

What's at the root of YOUR good mood?

Jamie Lee

questionmarkI’m taking a step back this morning to ask a simple question: What goes into a good mood?

There are many ways to trigger a good mood – long walks in the woods, dinner with friends, uplifting movies, surprise kindnesses, and so on – but what’s at the root of a good mood? What is it about these activities that makes you feel happy? What basic, human need is satisfied by watching a sunset or getting a pat on the back from your boss that sends your endorphins – and your good mood – soaring?

I have my own theories, of course, but I’m more interested in what you think.

[polldaddy poll=2108958]

Image Credit: ultraBobban

Oct 9 2009

Perfection? Pah!

Jamie Lee

messypaintsI just wrote and rewrote the first line of this post a half dozen times.

That’s my own perfectionist getting in the way of getting things done. Perfect(ly ironic). 

Sometimes, in order to do the thing you want to do, you need to just get out there and do it. It’s too easy to hold back because you’re not going to be able to do it perfectly. You can easily come up with a dozen excuses to procrastinate, or to give up all together. Don’t. Stop your mind from thinking about reasons to stop moving forward. Forget looking before you leap, and just jump. Close your eyes if you need to. Yell if you have to – make it the battle cry of a warrior.

In my experience, joy often springs from accomplishments. The trouble is, you can’t accomplish anything if you don’t start anything.

I’ve held off on many projects because I’m waiting for the circumstances to be “perfect.” Dumb. First of all, there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfect is just Continue reading

Oct 8 2009

Friends rock my good mood every day

Jamie Lee

friends_monkeybarsA Friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.
                             – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) US poet & essayist

I have been very lucky in my life to have made many friends. Although some have moved in and out of my life over the years, the warmth we share always seems to remain – easily rekindled at our next meeting.

Life moves so fast, it’s easy to lose touch with friends. I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to letting things slide. With all the demands on our time, it’s easy for friendships to slip further and further down the priority list. It seems to me that each chance meeting I have starts with the words, “Oh my gosh! It’s been forever! I’ve been so busy. How have you been?” and ends with the unfulfilled promise of a cup of coffee.

No one’s to blame. It’s the nature of things. Everyone is busy. Everyone has their own lives to lead. That’s why I’m so grateful for Continue reading