View From Table 9

October 15, 2008

How to Feel Happier In Bad Economic Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 11:28 am
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Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic this year is Poverty.  Good timing, eh?  I was originally going to blog about our Military and how so many of our soldiers & sailors resort to food stamps to feed their families.  How a disproportionate number of our ‘volunteer’ service members come from the very poorest families, and how so many of our injured disabled live in poverty despite their service and so many veterans end up homeless.

Then the house of cards fell down.

Then I thought about writing on how even when our 401(K) is now a 101(K) that we’re still way better off than a gizillion people out there and how we should be happy we have running water (a take on my mother’s “Eat your food.  There are starving children in Africa” approach).   That didn’t impact me much though and frankly, after weeks of doom and gloom I’m really just worn out.

Then I thought of this:  When life gives you lemons, break out the tequila and lime juice and call me over.  We may not be able to control much the basket we’re in or where it’s going, but we can control our outlook on life.

Thanks to inspiration from  Gretchen Rubin, here are some of my ideas on ways to make yourself happier.

1. Clean up something. Your yard, your house, your car. If you’re one of those people who are compulsively clean in your personal life, go walk along the beach, in the park, someplace beautiful with a trash bag and pick up garbage.  There’s something catharitic about cleaning up when you find yourself in a mess.

2. Take your clothes that no longer fit or you will never wear, the toys that are no longer played with, the gadgets that may never have been used.  Gather them up.  Donate them. Freecycle them. Have a Really Cheap Garage Sale.   It’s really refreshing to see someone happy to have those things that you dread looking at when you open your closet door.

3. Donate blood. Sign up to be a Bone Marrow Donor.  Be an Organ Donor.  Those really small things you do that take almost  no time may mean the world to someone else you don’t even know.

4. Instead of dining out with friends, have a comfort food themed potluck.  There’s nothing like comfort food, and there’s nothing like friends.   I’ve eaten the very best mac n cheese ever courtesy of a friend.

5. Go visit your grandparents. If you don’t have them any more, go visit somebody else’s. Spend 1/2 hour visiting someone who would love nothing more than time with you.   The gratitude and joy you’ll experience and return are amazing.

Yeah, I realize, most of this involves giving.  And y’all might be thinking “How can I be asked to give when I’ve lost so much?”  Yanno, it’s a funny thing. Hallmark got it right: It really does feel better to give than to receive.   And that in every big ole black cloud, there really are threads of silver.  Go find them!

1 Comment »

  1. The bone marrow suggestion is a great idea. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to join a registry — just one cheek swab and you can be added to the registry.

    If you’re interested, you might want to check out Gift of Life. They’re a marrow registry with a strong emphasis on helping minorities get registered, and on using social media to raise awareness. I’m glad you’ve posted about this!

    Comment by GiftOfLife — March 30, 2009 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

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