Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end ~ Seneca
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Another October is among us and like the roar of a chilly fall wind, it could be a little unsettling. We may find ourselves taking emotional stock of the year and not really thrilled with what we see. With the U.S. economic climate still coming up for air, it’s easy to get caught up in the have-nots and sit on our pity pots made up of self-defeat and frustration.
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Now that I’ve brought the room down, I’m here to tell you the good news. It gets better. Whatever our situation, we can be sure of two things: we are not alone and this too shall pass.
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Human nature is designed to trip us up once and a while. Although it may seem we are powerless to shed light on our darkened doorsteps, the opposite is true. The only person responsible for our happiness is us. We hold the power to re-ignite our soul. All it takes is desire and choice.
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Have you ever seen a janitor sweeping the floor and whistling away in an unconscious cloud of delight? How about an always smiling co-worker-slash-mom-slash-superhero, who you know is burning the candle at both ends? Chances are Janitor and Supermom have many reasons to complain, but they focus on what they have, rather than what they are lacking. Simply put, they choose Happy .
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So how does one choose happiness? Some scientists would argue fifty percent of happiness is genetic, while others believe geography and environment influence our smile. While I don’t rule out both theories, I believe our minds are more powerful than we realize and we have the capacity to create remarkable positive change to our overall mood and disposition
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So if you find yourself with the blues this season while checking off the remaining days of the year, try filling some with the following feel-good choices.
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1. Volunteer
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Instead of helping yourself with seconds at holiday dinners, try filling your heart instead of your plate. The sheer joy you feel when helping someone less fortunate is simply immeasurable. Not only will you meet amazing people, you will feel good about yourself in a way you never realized. To find your local soup kitchens and other volunteer programs in your area, start with the American Red Cross or your local church.

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2. Play

Do you remember a time when ‘IRS’ were just three letters in the alphabet? How about a time when the biggest decision of your day was deciding between rocky-road or chocolate fudge? Fast-forward to adulthood and somewhere along the way between car pools and credit card bills we stopped having fun. Nowhere in the proverbial book of life does it say we have to get off the roller-coaster. Make your own fun and let your inner-child play. Find a local bowling alley or miniature golf range. Put on those dancing shoes or dust off that volleyball in your garage. Whatever you chose, remember that you are only as young as you feel, and that it’s ok to let loose every once and a while. Life is supposed to be fun.

3. Clean

Wish all you want, magical house-keepers do not exist. Picking up that broom and dust rag may be the last thing you want to do, but trust me, you will feel so much better once your house is in order. Looking around at those dirty dishes, loads of dirty laundry and dusty corners may be overwhelming. Take a deep breath and concentrate on one thing at a time. Turn up your stereo and sing out loud. You will be sitting in your spotless Shangri-la in no time.

4. Laugh

It really is true when they say laughter is the best medicine. Open any psychology book and you will learn that laughter does many things for us. A good bout of laughter can reduce pain and allow us to tolerate discomfort, not to mention possibly lowering blood sugar levels. Renting a classic comedy or catching a local stand-up show are excellent ways to tickle your funny bone.  We can never laugh too hard or too often, so get out and embrace the Funny. You will be exhausted from pure joy.

5. Create

Emotionally or literally, there is nothing quite like planting your seeds and watching something grow. Whether you plant a small garden, write a poem or even paint your living room, the feeling of accomplishment when you create something comes alive. You don’t need to be Michelangelo or E.E. Cummings to be a creative person. All you need to do is work from within and let your imagination wander. Whatever you do, let go and unwind. Your creation is a part of you, and that alone is beautiful.

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