Making Spirits Bright

by Christie Perkins

Tis the season for making spirits bright. The message is simple: Love, Laugh, Lift. (4)LOVE. See the non-obvious beauty in others. The things that we like about people are easy to see and love. Get to know someone’s true beauty. The best way to do that is to knock down our judgments of others by thinking good things. When I was in 4th grade we read a book about a boy who could read people’s thoughts. I was gullible enough to think that maybe someone really did have that special power.

And it had me on-guard every time I was around people (though I never cared if spiders could hear my thoughts, still don’t care).

This book changed me (And I can’t remember the title. I’ve searched the whole wide world web for it and can’t find it. Whaaaah! Anyone own this book? I want my kids to read it.) So, to love more deeply, fine tune those thoughts. Pretend that everyone that you come in contact with can read your mind. It will change how you feel and brighten up those around you. Because, believe it or not your thoughts affect your actions.

LAUGH. You know how contagious a laugh can be. Lifting the corners of your mouth lifts the spirits of others and yourself. I recently read an article by Robert Provine in the Psychology Today magazine called “The Science of Laughter.” He found three things that helped to set the tone for laughing: “Playfulness, being in a group, and positive emotional tone mark the social settings of most laughs.” I have some thoughts on that.

Playfulness. One night I was putting my child to bed and we started talking. He was telling me how happy I made him. I wondered what it was that I did that made this four year old so happy. So I asked. I love digging in children’s brains. I was shocked when he told me his secret. “Remember that time I asked for a cookie?” So… um, that’s like everyday. He hasn’t earned the nickname Sugar Buzz for lack of cookie snatching. Anyway. He continued with his happy memory, “You told me no, then said just kidding.” He started busting up. “Then you gave us the cookie.” He had a friend with him. Apparently it was funny and it made him happy for me to deny him a cookie. I should do that more often. Playfulness really does brighten the spirit. Try more playfulness today with the next three people you see.

Being in a Group. I never really thought about this before but if you are in company with someone you are more likely to laugh out loud. Otherwise the lips just slip into a smirk. So. If you are feeling glum it’s probably because you are trapped in with yourself. Find a way to join someone. Be creative if you have to: show up at someone’s house, invite them to yours, whatever. Just connect. But, take more opportunities to actually look in someone in the eye- give it a try. Real people connections are real mood boosters.

Positive Emotional Tone. Tone of voice affects how we or others feel. I’m amazed at how this one little thing can turn a situation one way or the other. Take for instance my experience at Walmart. I was turning left to head into the parking lot. Another car took the lead. I followed, I had time.

Now, I imagined him moving a little faster than sheep but apparently there were many sights to see on the way into the Walmart parking lot. I turned and was blocking the road. A midget semi-truck was headed towards me. Lovely. Since I was staring death in the face my emotional tone wasn’t exactly positively charged. I even called it a stupid car. I repent. But, I was about to die (I know, bad justification). Anyway. I remembered this article in the Psychology Today magazine. I quickly changed my tone and was surprised at how smooth my mood now was. I followed Mr. Sheep driver happily, slowly, ever after into my parking slot.

If you can’t change your situation. Change your tone.

LIFT. Take care of those little thoughts that enter your mind. Do not shove them in the back or think that they are not of importance. Take the opportunity to do the tiniest thing to lift someone. You may think that it is not significant or that it will even matter but I assure you it does.

Everyone has been blessed with talents. You have something that only you can do. It’s the reason you were created- because you have something special to give this world. I’m glad that we are all different.

I know people who are good at serving, reading stories to children, chasing kids, giving flowers, canning, smiling, phone calls, texts, thank you notes, drop off dinners, baking, buying. Sewing, mowing, knowing, planning; throwing together something fast.

Don’t be jealous of other people’s strengths but bask in their goodness. They bask in yours (and I bet you don’t even realize just what you do that makes people pleased you exist- but I promise they do). Be you. Stop trying to be someone else and you will lift others in a way that only you can do.

Do what you are good at and you will make spirits bright this season. Remember to love, laugh, and lift. Your connections will thank you.

Have a more perky day today!


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