So I am a resiliently cheerful person. I’ve often thought I could live almost anywhere for a period of time because I am good at finding things to love about even the most unlovable of places. I’ve also in the past thought the same thing about seasons and weather. Yes, the summer months are best–because swimming and beaches and bike riding and sailing and canoe camping etc–but most months have good things associated with them. But November? November and I struggle.
The article even responds to my usual excuse–it’s too dark.
“There’s one more excuse I hear at this time of year: it’s too dark. Again, science has discovered plenty of reasons for an evening stroll. Not only does an after-supper walk control blood sugar levels (vital for diabetics) and help shunt food smoothly through the gut (meaning more efficient digestion and less constipation), but the dim evening light prompts our body to start making sleep-inducing melatonin.
A wet night is better still. According to Dr Kate McLean, an expert in urban scents and smells, damp nights enable us to uncover the world anew through our nose: “In darkness we alter our primary way of encountering the world, and when the air is damp it traps odour-causing molecules, transforming a dark, damp walk into a source of inspiration and imagination.”
So instead of binge-watching a box set, pull on your boots (making sure they’re watertight with good grip) and walk. One day, your body and brain will thank you.”
Maybe I’ll give it a try, the cold, wet after dinner walk with Cheddar the dog. I’ll report back!
For many of my writer friends it’s also NaNoWriMo.
Lots of different challenges are going on, but another friend says that for her, it’s NO!-vember. She makes November not a month of taking on new challenges. Instead she makes it a month of saying NO to things.
Me, I’m all in on the Month of Gratitude. It makes me feel good, even while I know it’s somewhat forced and artificial, it also works. But I can also see the appeal of a month of “no.” Of course it’s more complicated than a simple across the board NO. Some things you want to say YES to. Instead, it’s a month of permission to decline things.
For me, I don’t think I need that permission. That’s too close to my pre-existing grumpy November mood.
But for you, maybe it works for you. Is there anything you’re saying NO to these days, as a conscious effort? Or is there another November challenge you’re taking on that I haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!
A few of my friends do a November gratitude thing. They consciously acknowledge and share each day some things for which they are grateful. I figure it can’t hurt and it might help. I’ve been enjoying reading their gratitude posts. So far I’ve noticed that turning my mind each day to the good bits makes me smile, and even on bad days, there’s always something I’m grateful about.
Here’s a few of my first posts:
“Today I’m grateful for teamwork and getting things done. This weekend we managed to cover the boat in shrink wrap for the winter and move the shed so my mother could have more light in her window. Thanks Jeff and Sarah for working to keep boats and houses in order.”
“November is gratitude month and today I am grateful for working with very smart and hard working colleagues, for Sarah who made dinner while I zoomed the day away, and also for a mother who came home from the doctors with oat cakes.”
“Continuing with theme of gratitude, tonight I am thankful for my smart, generous, creative and caring graduate students, for warm sunny fall days for outdoor in-person office hours, and for the technology that allows us to meet as a group safely online. “
“Gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you.” Gratitude’s amazing powers have the ability to shift us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Everything in our lives has the ability to improve when we are grateful. Research has shown that gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress and drastically improve our overall level of health and wellbeing. On average, grateful people tend to have fewer stress-related illnesses and experience less depression and lowered blood pressure, they are more physically fit, they are happier, have a higher income, more satisfying personal and professional relationships and will be better liked. “
It seems everybody has good things to say about gratitude.
It’s good for everyone, it seems. Well, almost everyone.
“There are some notable exceptions to the generally positive results in research on gratitude. One study found that middle-aged divorced women who kept gratitude journals were no more satisfied with their lives than those who did not. Another study found that children and adolescents who wrote and delivered a thank-you letter to someone who made a difference in their lives may have made the other person happier — but did not improve their own well-being. This finding suggests that gratitude is an attainment associated with emotional maturity.”
Have you tried a gratitude habit/practice before? What do you think? Did it improve your mood/well-being?