Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Which Season Are You?

In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

Do you have a favorite season? I do: summer.

Just last week I was hiking up a mountain trail and feeling that special flavor of happiness I experience in the warm summer months. Perhaps the sense of freedom, fun, and relaxation are throwbacks to being a kid. Do you remember how excited you felt when school let out for summer? Going to Girl Scout camp, sleeping under the stars, and being out in nature with my friends are some of my favorite childhood memories.

Yet I know lasting happiness isn’t dependent on balmy weather. In fact, research shows people living in warm, summery spots are not necessarily happier than those living in colder climates. According to one study, the four happiest places on earth are Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, and Iceland—not exactly tropical paradises.

The implications of that are pretty amazing: positive emotions open us up!
So, how much positivity do we need? That question was addressed at the conference by Barbara The secret lies in internalizing the well-being and freedom you feel during summer (or whatever your favorite season is) and bringing it to everything you do. Here are three ways you can use the happiness perks of summer to create an “invincible summer” within yourself year-round:

1) Sunshine: One building block of bliss is getting plenty of Vitamin D, which has been found to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the blues that can come with the short, dark months of winter. Sunlight triggers our body to make Vitamin D, one of the reasons sunshine brightens our mood.

The problem is, to protect our skin from cancer, most of us use sunblock, which unfortunately also blocks the production of Vitamin D. But natural health expert Dr. Marcelle Pick says as little as 15 minutes of sun in the early morning and late afternoon for light-skinned people and up to 40 minutes for individuals with dark skin is enough to create much of the Vitamin D they need. Pick says this amount of unprotected exposure will be safe for most people. So take a short walk before and after work to soak up some rays, and ask your health professional about getting more Vitamin D in supplement form.

2) The Great Outdoors: Mother Nature is another source of well-being readily available in summer. Our modern lives are fractured by the millions of thoughts, fears, and demands that press in on us every day. A walk in the woods restores wholeness. A backyard picnic creates delight. An afternoon splash in a body of water refreshes our spirits. The more time you spend immersed in the nourishing, simple joys of nature, the more wholeness you’ll gain, and then carry with you into the rest of the year.

3) Friends and Fun: People tend to be more social in the summer, gathering for outings, meals, and games. Our sense of community is heightened when we join others outdoors to enjoy long summer evenings on porches and activities at local parks. In short, there’s more of a feeling of play in our daily routine. To make summer last longer, keep that sense of fun and social engagement alive throughout the year.

And here’s a bonus tip from Ayurvedic medicine: to purify and energize your body, walk barefoot in the morning dew. Now there’s a joyful way to start any summer day.

Remember, being happy for no reason means being happy in all seasons!

Marci Shimoff

Marci Shimoff is a celebrated transformational leader and #1 New York Times best-selling author. To learn more of her powerful techniques for establishing deep and authentic happiness and well-being, visit www.HappyForNoReason.com/

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