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SALT LAKE CITY — Want to feel those mini bursts of daily happiness, but find them a tad elusive? Consider a few “rituals” to create pockets of positive throughout the day.
1. Get set
I got this concept from the Bible, Matthew 5:1, where it shares that when Jesus was “set” then the disciples came to him. incidentally, the throngs of people descended upon — which to me sounds just like motherhood.
Try to simply prepare for the day. Wake up and breathe for 30 seconds; visualize a perk (I think about my baby. Then I think about my baby’s naptime); have a prayer; create a happy ringtone (birds chirping, or your children’s recorded voices saying, “I love you. I’ll do all the laundry.” That kind of thing); or say something positive aloud: “I am strong.” “I am blessed.” “I can help others.”
I asked a few women about their go-to power-ups, and they shared the following:
- Make the bed and close the closet door.
- Three starts — start the dishwasher, the laundry, and dinner.
- Morning cuddle with my hubby before kids wake up.
- 10-minute tidy (or 5-minute pick-up).
2. Love in moments
Love fully — one person, one moment at a time. Pay attention to your child, spouse, neighbor, whomever. During the day, look someone in the eye, say something kind and from the heart. A hug, a note, an email, a text; that’s it, just once.
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If possible, try to include a positive, nurturing touch. Studies show it releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain suppressors (that’s why mama’s hugs really do make things feel better). A simple arm around the waist or shoulder touch can reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure. Massage helps colic, hyperactivity, diabetes, migraines and can even improve autistic children’s ability to concentrate.
3. De-clutter something
Choose something fast and simple — a drawer, a closet, a purse. One friend I have clears five things from the junk drawer while talking on the phone. Each attempt makes you feel cleaner and clearer.
This past weekend I randomly cleaned the fridge — quick toss; cleaned my purse — gum wrappers, cough drops, squashed lipsticks; and quickly de-cluttered my closet — eliminated five things and tidied.
4. Bloom and grow
Do one thing to move forward a personal purpose, passion or way to contribute. Don’t think about other aspects, just do it for the sheer creativity or joy of it.
A friend approached me about how to give back for Mother’s Day. So, we teamed up with Hilary Weeks to create a free trio giveaway, each offering something to hopefully help women feel joy. Ironically, getting to know each other better was the best bonus!
5. Do one difficult thing
That means something you utterly do not want to do — like workout, finish filing, or weed the yard. You don’t have to do a lot, but doing one significant "would-rather-avoid" thing creates something magical: self-discipline.
For me, this is true about floor time. The fact is, after seven children I’m done with puzzles and trains. But my little caboose son isn’t. So, I play on the floor for some amount of time each day, even when there are moments that I think, I can’t do farm noises for one more minute.
6. Positive pause
Do anything joyful for 10 minutes. Dance in the kitchen, sing in the bathroom, read a book, take a bath. If possible, laugh. At the recent motherhood celebration event, “Listen to Your Mother,” Kate Rose Lee shared her organic birth experience (where she had been told to expect a pain-free, silent labor, and to envision her cervix as a flower.) Her particular experience had us laughing so hard we were in tears. Release the stress with a positive or humorous pause.
7. Give something freely
Whether it’s your time, talent, forgiveness — whatever — give it without expectations of being thanked or validated.
Just about every day one of my daughters leaves her stuff on the bathroom floor. This used to frustrate me no end, as she could tell by my tone when asking her to put them away. Then I saw life from her side — school, sports, community service — and changed my attitude. It has become my private gift to her (except on the weekends …).
Try one of these regular rituals in a given day to stay connected to and doing what matters most to bring those pockets of positive.
Connie Sokol is an author, speaker, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at www.conniesokol.com.