Happiness and Contentment

As I sit here tonight, while my family is all at church, I sip my glass of Prosecco. I look out the window at the sunlit wetland near the back of my house, and I realize I am happy. More importantly I am content. I love this feeling and I feel like I don’t have it nearly enough now that I am not working anymore. I started analyzing what brought this contentment and I came up with several factors, and I want to share them with you.

  1. Spring weather is finally here. Hallelujah! It has been sunny for the last few days, and sunshine always greatly improves my mood. A bonus is that I get vitamin D naturally.  

   2.  It was very productive today. I did about 3 hours of work on my computer. That is about my limit these days before my brain is overwhelmed and my eyes stop focusing well. I also did about an hour of house cleaning. On top of that I made three meals, and cleaned the kitchen after the meals. Whew! This always allows me to feel like I’m doing a good job as a mother. 

3. I went running. This one can be included in both factors 1 and 2, but it is so powerful I wanted to list it separately. It has made such a difference in my life. I used to run several miles a day and complete marathons. This was my happy place. While running and for a while after, I feel so good about myself, and that is when my mind wanders best. I can completely shut off my brain and just let thoughts pass through it. It’s really when I get my best ideas. I had lost the ability to run for years, due to the downfall of my MS, and then recovering from HSCT. Fortunately, after having a few failed starts in the last few years, I have successfully begun a running routine again. I started running to help my daughter get in shape to pass the naval physical readiness test. (She wants to be a pilot.) Now I am running 30 minutes five days a week, and it actually feels natural and good again. I feared I would never be able to do it again, but I can and do, even if I am running alone. 

The following part of this blog is relevant to all, but especially the other MSers out there.

  • Doing something to benefit your physical and/or mental well being every day is profoundly helpful. Even if you hardly do anything, pushing yourself for even 5 minutes feels good. 
  • If you are already a runner – Get out there today!  Or as my favorite brand says: Just Do It!
  • If you already run a little, go 5 minutes longer today. I promise you won’t regret it.
  • If you are a walker, either walk faster today, or try a run/walk routine. Walk briskly for five minutes, and then for the next 20 minutes, switch between running one minute and walking two minutes. After that you can finish it off with a 5 minute cool down. Try it. Even if you never want to do it again, you’ll feel good accomplishing something new. If you really like the exercise, slowly increase the running and decrease the walking. Even if you don’t get up to a full run, you are still working your heart more and therefore increasing your overall health. 
  • If you are a couch potato, I want you to get off the couch today. Start with just a 15 minute walk if that is all you can do. If you can do more, do it!  And do it right now, don’t give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. 
  • If you are disabled, do what you can. Either use your walker or or cane to get outside for a block or two. If you are in a wheelchair but can move your arms, do some aerobic movements with your arms today. 
  • The only excuse acceptable today is if you’re in the middle of a relapse. Then please, just rest. But once you’re over it, get back out there! 

If you follow these suggestions, you should also enter the evening feeling more relaxed and content. 

Let me know about your experience in the comments. I can’t wait to hear about it!

Posted in: Happiness, Health, health and wellness, HSCT, Multiple Sclerosis, Relaxation, running, self-help, Stem Cell Transplant, Stress and Anxiety, training