Life Lessons From the Yoga Mat: You Have to Look Up to Lift Up [New study says if you want to be happy go dancing but skip the gym?]

by Charlotte on April 23, 2014 · 41 comments

calvin

Face down on my yoga mat is my least favorite position. Mostly because I never remember to wash the thing and it does a really good job as a “sticky mat” as evidenced by all the little flakes of my skin all over it. (Side note: If I ever go missing, use my yoga mat for DNA evidence. It’s a gold mine.) As I lay there, I felt the heaviness on my chest — and not just the weight of my body pressing down on it. Sometimes with a heart break, it feels like my heart is literally breaking. My chest was so tight I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My shoulders ached from tensing up. My stomach churned with worry. I hate feeling like that but the more I try to push it away, the heavier all those feelings get.

So I’ll admit it: I wasn’t really paying attention to my yoga teacher. I was too much in my own head. And also I was really digging the music she was playing. (She loves neo-gospel and hip hop; not your traditional namaste birds chirping but I gotta say there is something so satisfying about flowing to Bottom of the River.) Then something penetrated my mental fog. “Lift up your eyes first and then raise your arms and legs,” she was saying. Eh, I thought, I’ve done Locust Pose a hundred times. I don’t need directions. But then she added, “You have to look up to lift up.”

You have to look up to lift up. I felt a little shiver. “Your body goes where you look, so make sure you are looking where you want it to go,” my teacher explained. As I lifted up into extended locust pose, I thought about where I’ve been looking lately: It’s been a whole lot of down.

You don’t have to pay attention to pop culture for very long to realize we are all simmering in a stew of negativity. And it’s because it sells. Fashionistas telling us we’re not chic enough (so we buy more clothes). Fitness pros telling us we’re not buff enough (so we buy more supplements/equipment/tanning spray). Surgeons telling us we’re not pretty enough (so we buy surgery or makeup). Models telling us we’re not thin enough (so we buy into the cult of thin without being able to actually achieve it – possibly the most frustrating of all). And then there’s the news with its headlines designed more for grabbing eyeballs (and advertising dollars) than conveying, well, news.

It’s a dizzying cacophony and the funny thing is – while all of them are talking, none of them are really talking to me. So why am I listening?

I suppose for the reason any of us listen. We want to feel clued in, like part of the group. We want to know what’s happening. A schadenfreude sundae topped with a narcissistic cherry. But I feel like there’s a whole new level lately. It seems like there are just a handful of people actually doing things – taking risks, trying things, living their lives – and then millions of people sitting and watching them, waiting for them to screw up so we can tear them apart. So much offense, both in the giving and the taking.

But today I finally had to ask myself, what am I gaining by playing this game? Am I more fashionable, prettier, thinner and smarter than I was before this information? Perhaps. But am I happier?

Recently a friend was explaining to me her decision to quit Facebook. “Yeah, I don’t know what everyone’s doing anymore,” she said. “But I also don’t worry about what everyone’s doing anymore.” It occurred to me that this extends far beyond Facebook slights.

We live with a veritable firehose of information. Much of it is great – who would have thought even 20 years ago we’d have basically the entirety of human knowledge in our phones, right next to Flappy Bird and a Vine of our cats rolling in the dirt? But much of it is an endless circle of gossip, of building up to tear down, of fakery for entertainment, of an always-moving finish line. Obviously we can’t never read the news again and yet there has to be a way to balance it, a way to turn the firehose off, or at least down.

So I started asking: Which things are most likely to lift people up? What should I look at to look up?

Funny you should ask, said the London School of Economics, which recently published a study that examined over 40,000 people looking for links between activities and their perceived happiness. You know what won? Dancing! I can’t say I’m surprised. I love dancing. Lovelovelove it. And it always does make me feel happier. The other activities on the list were pretty interesting too. In order of “happiness value” they were swimming, going to the library (yesss!), playing team sports, arts and crafts, attending plays, individual sports and attending concerts. Other than swimming – which I still detest, I’m sorry – I can see why these things would rank so high.

happyactivities

But the real shocker for me was the #1 activity that made people most unhappy: going to the gym. (Number two was performing music, in case you’re curious). Wha??? I can say that going to the gym always makes me feel better and happier than I did before. Perhaps it’s the act of going to the gym that’s such a downer but the activities themselves (the weight lifting, spinning, whatever) make people happier? Maybe British gyms are particularly bleak? Or maybe I’m just a weirdo. (Certainly wouldn’t be the first time!) All of which begs the chicken/egg question. Does the gym make people unhappy or do unhappy people punish themselves with the gym? Does dancing really make people happy or do happy people gravitate towards dancing?

What really stood out to me though were all the things that weren’t on the list. For instance, if I had to pick my #1 activity that makes me happy it would be acts of service, volunteering or just helping someone out. So I came up with my own list of things, in no particular order, that help me look up. These things never fail to make me feel happier!

- Acts of service

- Hiking in the mountains

- Family time (where no one is fighting)

- Girls’ night out

- Unicorns (shush, they are real)

- Writing in my gratitude journal

- Petting my cat

- Reading a good book

- Improv comedy

- Meditating (when I can force myself to actually sit my butt down and do it)

- Date night with  my husband

- Praying and listening to that quiet voice that reminds me you were made for better than this. 

As I looked over this list, I realized that for the most part these are all things under my control. I’ve been letting things outside of me pull me down and feeling helpless and sad and scared. And I want to be clear that it’s okay and even appropriate to be sad when things are sad (or mad when things are maddening or scared when things are scary). We can’t be happy all the time or it would become meaningless to us. But I also don’t think that choosing happiness means you are unaware of the bad things going on around you. It’s finding that line between involvement and concern and getting caught in that vortex of sad until everything you see looks gray. And it turns out that I’ve got a lot of tools at my disposal to help me fight the overwhelming negativity. I can’t control what things weigh me down. But I can choose to look up.

I want to be lighter. And that has nothing to do with my weight.

Anyone else feel like they’re surrounded by negativity? What’s your #1 activity that makes you happy? Why do you think the study found that the gym makes people unhappy??

keys-to-happiness

 

 

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Darwin April 24, 2014 at 12:08 am

Recurring theme: “Your body goes where you look, so make sure you are looking where you want to go.”

This is what the older couple who took a defensive winter driving course came up and told you after you taught Sunday School one Sunday. It was in your last post before Christmas.

There are many times in life we all feel the darkness encroaching upon us. And feel burdened and overwhelmed by fear worry and doubt which is oppressive disheartening and frightening.

A key thing is to be aware of the darkness, but don’t live in the darkness.

Healing and strengthening come when we move away from the darkness towards the light of hope.

THEN the darkness will fade because it cannot exist in the presence of light.

That is what I do when I am surrounded by negativity. Then soon it is gone.

Working out is one of the many activities that make me happy, so I cannot relate to that aspect of the study.

Perhaps the people who are unhappy going to the gym view it as a chore…as “have to” instead of a “want to”.

Prayer, while walking or running is high on my list.

Being helpful.

Listening to music.

Doing something creative, drawing or writing or playing guitar. Singing.

Reading a good book.

Meditating…also while running, walking…tai chi…samurai sword…

I have been the only guy on a girl’s night out a few times.

That also made me happy.

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Laura P. April 24, 2014 at 12:52 am

. Feeling accomplishment after doing a chore that I have put off.
. Walking with my BFF
. Kissing my cat when she is in a snugly mood
. Meaningful meditation and prayer.
. A rainy day that is so dreary that a beautiful warm glow from street lights and cars and homes shine like a beacon.
. A movie, book or TV show that is such a quality that I want to be a better person.
. Coming home from work and kicking back with the advantage of knowing I have a couple of days off.
. Singing or dancing in the living room with one of my sisters.
. A warm embrace from someone I love.
. Snuggling by the fireplace when I have been really cold.

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Emily April 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

I am so in love with this comment. Well done :)

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

As am I! Beautiful:))

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Redhead April 24, 2014 at 3:52 am

I’m going to play devils advocate here: while dwelling on things doesn’t help improve them, ignoring them doesn’t either, and I’ve seen several people use ” staying positive” as an excuse to ignore the things they don’t like rather than dealing with them.
For example:I watched two friends tell another friend who was struggling with some stuff that they didn’t want to hang out with her because she was “too negative” and they didn’t want to hear her problems or when she was struggling with things at all-that she should just be positive instead. ( women in their 30s by the way)
I saw a girl insist that the media exaggerates crimes for ratings and that crime in a really bad neighborhood wasn’t that bad, it was just the news trying to get headlines, and she was going to move in and be fine because she’d be enlightened and wouldn’t treat her neighbors like she expected them to be criminals. Turns out crackheads don’t care if you are being positive or not.

I don’t mean to rain on your parade Charlotte-I’ve just seen a bunch of people lately here using “be positive” as an excuse to truly stay in denial or as an excuse to be cruel to other people (who aren’t positive enough by their standard) and it really bothers me. I’m all for finding a balance though-dwelling isn’t productive either. Volunteering, helping change the things in your community that are being reported on the news, or just doing things that help you work through and process the things you’re dealing with-I am all for that. But “being positive” is not carte Blanche to do what you want, whatever the motive, without the usual ramifications (and it’s been a trend lately in my little town for people to do just that).

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Cbuffy April 24, 2014 at 6:21 am

You’re right – those “bury your head in the sand and pretend everything is good” people are just as unhealthy as the “poor poor pitiful me, my whole world sucks” folks. I think it’s all about healthy balance. If I stopped to really look at and list all the negative things happening in my life right now – I’d be a wreck! So I acknowledge stuff – I work on the things I can, the best I can, and then make a daily deliberate decision to have a positive outlook. I’ve done that for so many years now that I actually would have to stop and THINK to list the stuff that’s going “wrong”. Our business of 30 years failed, causing 4 bankruptcies and 1 foreclosure, etc etc etc. So it’s not like there’s nothing bad going on, but it is what it is, you deal with it and choose your next move. Right now, the sun is shining in a glorious blue Florida sky. My rabbit just had 5 babies (which is good, cuz I cooked up the last one from the freezer last night…) the chickens are laying like mad, I have a great blog post to read from my friend Charlotte… and I choose to smile. (I’d dance, but I’m at work and they already think I’m nuts… LOL)

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I love a good devil’s advocate! (Seriously, I do) But you’re missing a major piece: I wrote this post as something I learned about me, for me. I don’t offer it as advice to anyone else (although if people take something from it then that makes me happy!) Your examples are all of people telling others to “just get over it” or “stop being so negative” – I would never never tell someone who was sad or hurting that what they are feeling isn’t real or that they could cure themselves by just thinking happy thoughts:) In addition, I wouldn’t even tell myself to “just get over it” in all situations.
But I did worry that some would misunderstand my point and take it as a criticism or personal indictment (or worse think that I am indirectly saying that people cause their own depression!) which is why I included this in my post: “And I want to be clear that it’s okay and even appropriate to be sad when things are sad (or mad when things are maddening or scared when things are scary). We can’t be happy all the time or it would become meaningless to us. But I also don’t think that choosing happiness means you are unaware of the bad things going on around you. It’s finding that line between involvement and concern and getting caught in that vortex of sad until everything you see looks gray. ” My point is that *I* sometimes get so caught up in my own negative thoughts that I get sucked into this dark place and so sometimes it helps me to remind myself that there are things I can do to help mitigate that.

I’m so glad you brought this up in case other people have the same feeling – I totally do NOT advocate telling other people how to feel or using “negativity” as an excuse to not be compassionate to others.

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Redhead April 25, 2014 at 2:50 am

I’m sorry Charlotte-I didn’t mean to get argumentative and I think it came across that way! You did state all that in your post. I think it just kinda touched a nerve and I didn’t realize it at first!

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Darwin April 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

To alleviate some of your concern, I did not find your comment argumentative Redhead.

I mean, after all, you DID include this:

“I’m all for finding a balance though-dwelling isn’t productive either. Volunteering, helping change the things in your community that are being reported on the news, or just doing things that help you work through and process the things you’re dealing with-I am all for that.”

I personally felt that you were simply making a valid point:

“But “being positive” is not carte Blanche to do what you want, whatever the motive, without the usual ramifications (and it’s been a trend lately in my little town for people to do just that).”

A different perspective as you said: Being positive to stay in denial or be cruel.

Not happy.

And in at least one of your examples…dangerous!

The hope I spoke of and that Charlotte spoke of and that you in your statement made reference to is not a Pollyanna-like approach to significant personal and public problems. Simply drawing a happy face on a chalk board (do they even still have those?) is not going to take care of the world’s difficulties.

It has also been said that a fearful people cannot do their work well or God’s work at all. (For all focused on such. Which includes your examples – volunteering, working to make things better in your community.)

Perhaps the “happy face” could be utilized as simply a way to lift a heart and put people in a better frame of mind. Although for me it would take a little more.

Like Christmas movies!

They get me out of the darkness. I can acknowledge the darkness, but I don’t have to live there.

Then I am not giving up. Or even close to it. And see the problems and make progress in realistically resolving them.

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Brak April 26, 2014 at 12:14 am

I’m really glad you brought up this point too. I recently had an experience where one of my friends was in a coma and possibly dying (he pulled through, but it was close!) and I was very upset over that, but all the people around me were telling me to get over it and quit being a downer.

I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life so I understand the importance of monitoring your internal voice and making sure that it isn’t dragging you down, but I also know that we have emotions (ALL emotions) for a reason and they all have their time and place. I’m really thankful to Charlotte for acknowledging that instead of just saying happiness is the only acceptable way to feel and it is possible to live without any trace of fear or sadness or anger, etc…

Yoga helps with happiness but it also teaches balance. Happiness (like any emotion) is not something that can be sustained. I like to think more about striving for contentment because even when I am experiencing turmoil and happiness seems miles away, I can still find things to be grateful for and a way to be content with whatever state I’m in.

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Satu April 24, 2014 at 4:04 am

I’m not surprised either. I started salsa last September and LOVE it. I also started singing in a choir at the same time, so I can attest that singing and dancing is what makes me happy.

The relationship between gym and playing an instrument is an interesting one – I wonder what causes the negative correlation. I do my strength training at home and always enjoy it and the way it makes me feel – i.e. like a badass! :-)

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Exactly! I always feel so tough after a good workout! Sometimes I even swagger a little;) PS. Salsa is AWESOME

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Cbuffy April 24, 2014 at 6:08 am

I think going to the gym and performing music were low on the list because they are both “look at me” activities and lots of folks find that intimidating. Unless you are already a lover of that activity and jump right into the “zone” – you just KNOW everyone is watching and judging and snickering. Wheeee – fun stuff there! (grin)

And I also think you are right – happy people dance. But I’ve also been sad, melancholy or just feeling like crap and put on some great music – you can’t HELP but start to dance. It might just be a gentle sway, but not all dancing has to be sweat inducing. My kids and I have fond memories of pulling out all my silk scarves and ribbon dancing to the Phantom soundtrack. (Also a great cd for getting kids to clean the play room in a hurry!)

“You have to look up to lift up” – I might have to put that on a post it and stick it all over my house. It’s SPRING for crying out loud. Everything ELSE on earth is stretching heavenward, what’s OUR excuse?

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Oooh good point about the “look at me” aspects! And I love that visual of you and your kids ribbon dancing to Phantom. My parents used to play that for us on Saturdays to motivate us to do our chores. Not only did it work but all my siblings and I can still sing every word hahah!

And this is so perfect I wish I’d thought of it: ” It’s SPRING for crying out loud. Everything ELSE on earth is stretching heavenward, what’s OUR excuse?” ! PERFECT.

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JavaChick April 24, 2014 at 6:31 am

I agree with Cbuffy – I play the piano for myself, because I enjoy it, but I don’t want to play for other people; that’s just stressful and intimidating.

As far as the gym goes, I wonder if it is because so many people go because they HAVE to. They do they workout they are SUPPOSED to do to be thin, healthy whatever. Exercising can be fun if you are doing things you like to do, but if you are just doing it because you feel you have to it’s not so much fun.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:41 pm

This: ” Exercising can be fun if you are doing things you like to do, but if you are just doing it because you feel you have to it’s not so much fun.” is an excellent point. And I agree with you about the piano. I love playing it for myself but stick me in front of an audience and I have a panic attack!

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Naomi/Dragonmamma April 24, 2014 at 6:45 am

I want to know what’s going on in those British gyms. My gym is a happy place. There are a few miserable sour-pusses, of course, but I’d say that at least 90% are happy to walk in the door, and then they’re happy again when they get to leave: Double win!

For the past month, chicken keeping has been my #1 happy maker. My chickens are just so darn goofy and endearing; I go out to give them a handful of kitchen scraps, and next thing I know I’ve spent an hour chicken-watching and playing.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm

That’s it. I have to come visit you and your chickens. I have such jealousy every time you write about them! I want to chicken-watch too!!

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Naomi/Dragonmamma April 25, 2014 at 4:52 am

But you’ve already got goofy and endearing children! Now, you just need to teach them how to lay eggs.

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Penny April 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

Thanks for always being honest and helping others to feel ok with what we are feeling, because someone else is feeling it too.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Thank you Penny! We’re all in this together:)

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crabby mcslacker April 24, 2014 at 8:16 am

My guess is that the majority of people who put “going to the gym” as most unhappy are not actually the people who go to gyms, but the people who think they should and don’t.

But to the bigger point–great post! And I agree that it’s really worth the time and effort to be proactive about finding out what makes us happy, and doing more of it. (And it DOES take time and effort!) And additionally, to train our brains to be happy regardless of the stuff going on around us. Which is also a pain in the ass and every bit as challenging as training our bodies, but well worth it.

It may sound selfish but it’s also a gift to others–contentment and happiness lead to compassion and generosity, and smiles and positivity can spread just as easily as gloom and snarkiness.

This all coming from a lifelong, but somewhat reformed, anxious gloomy pessimist. :)

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Ah, you and I are so much alike in the way we think sometimes! I love this: ” And additionally, to train our brains to be happy regardless of the stuff going on around us. Which is also a pain in the ass and every bit as challenging as training our bodies, but well worth it.” It’s so true, and I’m a reformed pessimist myself too!

Also this is a great point: “My guess is that the majority of people who put “going to the gym” as most unhappy are not actually the people who go to gyms, but the people who think they should and don’t.”

And your point about it being a blessing to others too. Okay I wish I could triple like your whole comment!

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Jill April 24, 2014 at 8:26 am

My husband has been having his Man-Period for about 6 weeks now and it finally came to a head yesterday morning. He’s been saying things like “everything I do is 100 times more difficult than it should be” and “why can’t things just ever go smoothly”. I finally told him to stop saying those things because the more you say them the more true you make them. I told him that today was going to be a great day and good things were going to happen – he just needed to recognize them. And you know what? He did. Last night he told me several good things that had happened in the course of the day and then he said “I also listened to some AC/DC today. That helped.” My country boy is an AC/DC fan. Who knew???? So I would put music way high on the list of things that make people happy. Anyway, point is, just like you said – we can let ourselves get mired in the muck or we can look up and see that there are good things all around us.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 9:59 pm

You know, I think AC/DC can cure a lot of ills;) I’ve been known to belt Highway to Hell on occasion (don’t tell my kids)! So glad your husband is feeling a bit better.

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Cavy April 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

Funny, I was just working on this yesterday. Reducing my negativity, I mean. Actually, I felt like I’d kinda stopped growing in my faith lately so I was trying to get that ball rolling again, and I think reducing my intake of negative media/thoughts and growing my faith went hand in hand. I clean litter boxes at a cat rescue a few mornings a week, and it’s usually just me alone with my thoughts and the cats. This isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes when something is bothering me I can’t help but dwell on it. I discovered that my bible app has an audio version and I just let my phone read to me while I worked yesterday and it was a very calming experience. I also listened to some sermons on tape a friend had recommended while playing World of Warcraft.

I can’t imagine going to the gym making me unhappy, but then again I can’t imagine dancing making me happy. I detest dancing, probably because I am so bad at it (true story: when my husband and I took a dancing class the instructor wouldn’t let us dance together because we were both so bad we were making each other worse). Swimming seems like a fairly random thing to have on the top of the list. I wonder what all the choices were, and how the question was phrased? Was it a scale of 1-10 type thing? Either I’m a freak or that survey didn’t find as very diverse group because I’d rather go to the dentist than play a team sport.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I love the idea of listening to the Bible on your phone! I sometimes listen to scripture while I clean my kitchen and you’re right – it definitely makes me calmer! (Also, this is the best sentence EVER: ” I also listened to some sermons on tape a friend had recommended while playing World of Warcraft.”)

And yeah… I have no clue about the phrasing on the original survey. It does seem a bit…wonky.

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Holly April 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

This reminds me of a passage by Henri JM Nouwen in the book Here and Now:

“Joy is not the same as happiness. We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there because it comes from the knowledge of God’s love for us. We are inclined to think that when we are sad we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together. That isn’t easy to understand, but when we think about some of our deepest life experiences, such as being present at the birth of a child or the death of a friend, great sorrow and great joy are often seen to be parts of the same experience. Often we discover the joy in the midst of the sorrow. I remember the most painful times of my life as times in which I became aware of a spiritual reality much larger than myself, a reality that allowed me to live the pain with hope. I dare even to say: “My grief was the place where I found my joy.” Still, nothing happens automatically in the spiritual life. Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

I disagree a little that this only happens for God-centered people and that joy only comes from God’s love. For me the takeaway is that it’s possible to find moments of joy during times of sorrow and unhappiness. We may not be happy, but that does not mean we cannot experience joy. I think this is the balance we seek in trying to remain positive during difficult times without simply burying your head in the sand and pretending negativity doesn’t exist. In my own life, I truly understood this difference when a dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly when we were young. It was a harrowing, awful time. But it was Spring time and there were many moments of joy during that time–the buds on the trees after a long winter, the first time I ran 8 miles, watching eagles soar over the reservoir, laughter with some of her loved ones I had never met before, feeling closer to several other friends. Those days were very sorrowful and dark yet it was also a period of intense personal growth that changed me forever. In the sadness, I chose hope and I chose joy.

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Nasca April 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

Amen! Choice is an amazing gift. Through is can come incredible growth.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I love everything about this comment!! Especially this: “We may not be happy, but that does not mean we cannot experience joy. I think this is the balance we seek in trying to remain positive during difficult times without simply burying your head in the sand and pretending negativity doesn’t exist.” Thank you so much for sharing this and your experience, Holly – you said it so beautifully!

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Jenny April 24, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thank you so much for this post…it was just what I needed to hear. Lately I’ve been Ms. Grumpers and noticing a lot of negativity in my attitude and outlook. It’s time for me to fix my eyes on things that don’t bring me down. “You have to look up to lift up.” Word to live by.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Thank you Jenny! So glad you liked it:)

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Bethany April 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

How did they assign monetary value to these? I don’t get it . . . .

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I have NO clue. I couldn’t find the original study anywhere. That and any time I see pounds my brain glitches;)

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Barefoot Rose April 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Sorry, this is off topic but I know how you are on your life quest for jeans that fit. Take a look at this ad for a Kickstarteer campaign. Jeans designed for people that have worked hard for their muscles.

http://www.barbellapparel.com/

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I know!!! I am SO EXCITED!! I even got to cover it for Shape:) http://www.shape.com/blogs/shape-your-life/got-muscles-barbell-apparel-debuts-jeans-athletes
Now if only they would hurry up and get out of the kickstarter phase and get these babies to market! Woot!

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Cindy April 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I sing Christmas songs mainly because they are the only ones I know well enough to get all the way through and also add some goofy flourishes to. I also hum theme songs like Bonanza, the Adams Family etc. I just find you can’t be down and goofy at the same time. It is also a good pick me up when I am tired.
I do love to dance and swimming is my go to for stress reduction. Arts and crafts have suffered because I am so busy but that is big for me as well.
This article was a great reminder to me of the things I enjoy that I let get pushed aside in order to get along with what is expected of me.

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Charlotte April 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Confession: I’m totally one of those Christmas-music-year-round types:)

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Gydle (aka Mary) April 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Great post! I think there is a lot of negativity and I think you’re right, we choose what we put our mental energy into.
Confession: I hate, no, I HATE gyms. I don’t really know why, but I don’t like lifting weights, I hate machines, and I always find myself comparing my bod with all those other people and seeing them compare theirs with mine. I hate the whole idea of “working on” (read: sculpting) my body with a machine, like it’s something I am molding into something else. As in, it’s not okay the way it is and I’m working on it. I know it’s totally irrational, I have had long discussions about it with my gym-loving friend. Oddly enough I like my yoga studio but maybe that’s because people hug each other. I really like getting and giving hugs.

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Peter Schmidt April 25, 2014 at 3:18 am

Ich mag diesen Beitrag sehr. Es ist eine bewährte und informativen Beitrag über Yoga. Yoga ist eine der natürliche Weg, um von vielen Krankheiten, die nicht leicht zu heilen sind zu heilen. Also meiner Meinung nach sollte jeder die Yoga, um gesund zu halten oursleves tun.

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Julie April 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Charlotte, you always get me thinking! This post hit me hard – mostly because I’ve been so focused on myself lately rather than on other people. “Me me me me me…oh, wait, more me.” Ugh. I need to look toward other people, not to find my happiness or to compare my life to theirs, but to be present and to love the way that God wants me to.

And I LOVE all the comments…

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