Here we are facing a new year. Let's consider a few more things the researchers have found make for happy living. By putting all the ideas together, you may decide you really are happy, or want to adjust your life in some way to be so. That may be the source of your New Year's Resolutions.
Those I want to focus on in this column may be some things you are hearing or reading about in other places. The idea of moving your body regularly, according to your capability, is one way of maintaining or developing good feeling.
My mother was not able to do a great deal of moving about at 86-87 years, but she must have done some kind of exercise when sitting down that I didn't see. One day when we were talking about movement and its benefits, she startled me by proving what she was capable of. As she sat in her comfortable chair, she quickly raised a leg straight up toward the ceiling!
It is found in the surveys that people who do some kind of exercise regularly are less stressed, can think better, feel better about themselves and the world. There is an old saying that this proves true, "a sound mind in a sound body."
The exercise should be one you are most comfortable with. If you want to do aerobics or line dancing or other, because you will also be with friends, that's for you. If you need to do it as it fits your schedule, you may find a 20 minute walk or bike ride is better for you. During that time you can also exercise your mind and spirit by noticing the things of interest and beauty around you.
This exercise may benefit family, not just in mother or dad feeling happier, but may be a time to bring the family together. A Sunday afternoon walk in the mountains or a walk in the rain (may we have some) with family members, can be a fun and learning experience for all. Or, as mother does aerobics to her tape, her preschoolers will have fun joining her.
On the opposite side of getting exercise, is to get enough rest. You've probably also heard the reports that too many people don't get enough of this. Some people don't give themselves time to sleep because we can light the night. Some do not sleep well, even though they are in bed. Exercise is one thing that can help the latter.
Rest also means taking some quiet time by yourself to reflect. This could be factoring a time and place each day where there will be no interruptions for meditation, for spiritual re-charging. This time occasionally could be extended to a day or a few days.
As children note your schedule that includes exercise and rest, they will remember and include these values in their own lives. They will recognize that these are ways of living that made their parents fuller human beings. Given our society's penchant for round the clock living, it may take awhile for the sleep part to be recognized and copied.