The Key to More Happiness is Water

Photo by Carol Stringer

While setting my coffee cup down on a coaster, I stopped midair, taking in the motivational inscription on it entitled “Advice from a Dragonfly.” The inspiration begins with the line “Spend time near the water.”

I’ve seen dragonflies zip in and around ponds, canals, and other forms of wetlands.  I get it. And it is not coincidental that I live in a cozy condo along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.

Photo by Carol Stringer

Wanting to discern precisely why humans, animals, and insects alike are so drawn to the water, I did some research. Ever heard of blue mind? Apparently, it’s a thing. According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, it’s a “mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness with life in the moment.” Experiencing blue mind makes sense. Our brains are composed of 75% water, so no wonder we are enamored by flowing oceans, rivers, and streams.

Okay, ready for some geeky science stuff? Stay with me; this is interesting. According to scientists, the atmosphere near moving water contains elevated levels of negatively charged ions. Why is that important? Because these ions cause a brain reaction that emits the mood-enhancing serotonin helpful in lowering stress. Here’s another interesting fact, aquatic therapists are now treating PTSD, addiction, autism and anxiety disorders. And my favorite fun fact proclaimed by Nicols is one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, did much of his writing (yep, you guessed it) in the bathtub.

Establish Blue Mind

Okay, I realize not everyone can flit around water like a dragonfly or live alongside a body of water, or even spend a day at the beach. But do let this sink in; Nicols is spot-on when he states, blue mind is not going to be accomplished on Instagram.

So, make time to shut down all the screens, silence the chatter, log out and find some water, even if it’s a pond in the park or a fountain in front of city hall. Try getting creative. Any chance you can plan a day to go where the fish live, cast a line and perhaps catch a few? Or how about heading to the YMCA or gym with a pool and do some swimming.

Home Remedy

If all else fails, do what dear old Ben did. Fill your bathtub then slowly breathe in and breathe out as you contemplate the calming effect of water.

A quote by scientist Loren Eiseley neatly sums up the importance of this liquid elixor, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

Learning to Wait Thoughts on the Waiting Game

 

Last week was eventful. A close friend welcomed a new baby girl into the family while another dear friend said a final loving good-bye to her mother. What both events had in common was a period of waiting. Joyful anticipation built over the months as the new mom and her extended family prepared for the birth of a child. On the flip side, those who have experienced a loved one deal with a lingering illness know tremendous pain as those precious minutes slip away.

There are different types of waiting periods in life. Waiting to meet your soul mate, waiting for a house to sell, waiting for a cappuccino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at your favorite coffee shop, waiting for summer to begin and the list goes on and on.

In the past, I totally sucked at waiting fervently wishing I could fast-forward time. Perhaps that is a common ailment in our “I want it now,” world. True, some things are out of our control and waiting periods fall into that category. Over the years I’ve learned to utilize the wait time wisely and respect the process.

Whoever coined the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait,” had a point. For example, a few years ago one of my single clients (let’s call her Tami) was obsessed with finding a mate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She went through one of those “What’s wrong with me,” scenarios.  Tami was a beautiful hard working accountant but spending most of her waking hours at the office took a toll on her ability to converse about anything other than balance sheets and journal entries.

My suggestion involved reducing her working hours to make room for a hobby. Following through with this plan Tami enrolled in a number of gourmet cooking classes and even began blogging about vegetarian cuisine.

 

By busying herself with a hobby, and back-burnering her focus on waiting for “the one” to show up, she began feeling fulfilled outside of the office.

 

Oh, and did I mention Mr. Wonderful eventually surfaced? Turns out she married the chef instructor of her Pastry 101 course. (Yes, good things do come to those who wait).

 

 

 

Tami’s experience can be applied to most periods of time requiring we patiently go into a holding pattern.

So how do you deal with an event you wish you could hurry along? First, accept that “wait” is not a nasty four letter word. Change your focus and make some plans while you’re sitting it out.

By doing so, in the interim, you might find you’re having the time of your life.

The Power of Patience

Yesterday I found this fellow gracing my patio. He is so regal it takes my breath away. I’ve seen him around here before. It appears he’s established himself as a seasonal resident.

If you don’t know me, I should explain I live on a small man-made body of water called Lake Mirage. I’ve studied this bird a lot. In my estimation, he possesses an admirable quality, one I often lack. Yep, that characteristic is patience.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

Whether resting in quiet contemplation or eyeing his next meal, my big bird friend waits, and waits and waits without flinching. Then, at the perfect moment he goes in for the catch of the day. Voila! Mission accomplished, dinner is served.

Do you have trouble mastering patience? If so, please read on. If not, I urge you to read on anyway and please leave a comment explaining how you keep calm and carry on while the rest of us are chomping at the bit to move forward when we should be more like big bird and wait it out.

You may think patience is a passive act. On the contrary, it’s more about control which takes focus and energy. For example, if I placed a wrapped gift in front of a five year old and told her not to open it for five minutes, you can bet the poor little tyke would expend all kinds of energy waiting out the clock.

Someone once defined patience as “the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” So how do you notch it down from full speed ahead to slow and steady wins the race?

Begin by defining what gets under your skin. If it’s the wait that does you in, start using some positive self talk. Take comfort in the fact that patience builds character.

Stopping to pause also results in better decision making. No doubt my big bird friend patiently passes on the tiny appetizer fish and nabs one large enough to whet his appetite.

This water fowl taught me another lesson about patience in thought and movement. He never runs but moves gracefully covering the ground in long strides. I on the other hand have a tendency to rush, to move too fast, hurrying along like a dizzy chicken in a frenzied manner.

It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to emulate the stately big bird by being mindful and carefully considering the journey on my way to the goal line.

The next time your patience is tested think of my big bird buddy at Lake Mirage. Slow it down, think it through, and step on the brakes. Doing so will help you be more resourceful and productive.