Tuesday, March 7, 2017

10 Ways to Lighten Up All This Darkness Bombarding Us

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
Most people I know agree that last year was pretty rough on everybody. So far, 2017 isn’t being much gentler. The state of things in the world, money troubles, personal problems, medical issues…everyone seems to be walking under a dark cloud.

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you know that I tend to mix a generous helping of humor into my work, no matter how dark it might get. Humor has always been one of the ways I cope with problems. Love, laughter, hope, and kindness will always win over all the negativity in the world. I believe this with all my heart.

So, with that in mind, today I want to share some ideas on how to push back against the dark clouds and let in some fresh air and sunlight. Just taking a break from ugliness for a little while can make a huge difference.

  1. Literally let in some fresh air and sunlight. Crack a window. Open the blinds. Go for a drive with the air vents on full blast if it’s too cold for a window. Take time to breathe.
  2. Temporarily unfollow people and pages on your Facebook feed when they’re a little too intense. Replace them with things that make you smile. Cat videos. Cheesy affirmations. Parks and Rec pages. Disney World live feeds. Whatever makes you happy. When you’re ready, you can always re-follow what you shut off. The point is to take a break, and sometimes a full media blackout is impossible.
  3. Grab a friend and find an adventure to go on. I highly recommend consulting http://www.roadsideamerica.com/ to plan a day trip. Go find the nearest giant ball of twine (there are several), a museum of wigs, or a headstone that’s written backwards. (These are all real things near me.) Go to the site, enter your town and find out what truly stupid and unusual things you can visit—often for free. I guarantee there’s something absolutely ridiculous within an hour’s drive of where you’re sitting right now. (If there’s an equivalent in other countries, I’d love for someone to drop it in the comments!)
  4. Do a stealth kindness. Pay for the next person’s coffee in the Starbucks line, pay the next car’s toll, or anonymously pay someone’s electric bill if you’re lucky enough to have the funds. Drop a quarter in an expired parking meter. Whatever it is, don’t wait around for thanks. Just knowing that you made someone feel good will make you feel good, too.
  5. Find a place to volunteer a little of your time. If you go to https://www.volunteermatch.org/ and search for your town, it’ll give you loads of opportunities to choose from. Good people doing good things could use your help to do even more good. That’s so much good, there’s no room for anything bad.
Need something quick and easy? Here are a few to keep you going until you can take a longer break:

  1. Cuddle an animal. (Preferably neither wild nor venomous.)
  2. Play with a child. (Yours or a friend’s. Don’t just go grabbing children.)
  3. Sit by yourself and color, build with LEGOs, scrapbook, play Angry Birds. (Whatever lets your mind drift.)
  4. Go to the gym or take an exercise class. (Hahaha! Just kidding.)
  5. Read books and escape to another place for a little while. (I suggest mine! Or books by any of the wonderful Here Be Magic authors. Or by ancient dead poets, your sixteen-year-old nephew, the mailman, your fourth-grade teacher, or your best friend from high school. As long as it makes you happy, read it!)

I know none of these things will fix the world or cure chronic depression. But they can bring something positive to the table. Every little bit helps, and love, laughter, hope, and kindness will always win in the end if you give them a chance. I promise.

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

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