Monday, February 21, 2011

Come on now - Get Happy

I spent the evening with a non knitting friend recently and we had a very interesting conversation. It turns out that she reads my blog fairly often. She isn't interested in the interviews but she really likes the posts that relate knitting and life skills. This post was the one that prompted the discussion."C" has had a tough year, both her parents are suffering with health problems and she is on the edge of losing her job as her company restructures due to pressures from the economy.

This section from the original post prompted her to ask how do I stay so cheerful all the time "When I was trying to lose weight I asked two of my thin friends how they kept  their slim figures as it seemed to be so effortless from my perspective. I got great strategies from both of them and found out that it wasn't effortless. Knowing that is part of the key to searching for your own approach in dealing with these dilemmas in life"  

She said that my life always seemed to be effortlessly  perfect! LOL! Well the truth is that 2010 was a challenging year for me. I had my own family dramas, a very difficult time with the job I resigned from last March that involved a major ethical dilemma requiring professional advice as well as a career transition which I want, but all change even good change is stressful.

She specifically wanted to know what do I do to stay happy? All you Knitters already know that  I'm going to include knitting and designing on the list but here's a few other tips for ongoing behaviors that will improve your mood overall.

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. You can use on online one like this . I put three things in everyday when I log on in the morning and I review the 3 previous days postings.
  2. Go outside! We need to be exposed to natural light and even overcast days will help.
  3. Get some exercise on a regular basis. A short walk will do the trick. There is scientific documentation that walking can reduce the need for medication in clinically depressed people, so just think what it could do for you.
  4. Set goals....set little goals and just do it what ever it is. It can be really insignificant, clean off a shelf or eat one less desert per week. Once you meet that goal pick a new one and work on that. The continual sense of accomplishment gives everyone a mood boost.
  5. Watch less TV (just a little,) positive psychology studies show that TV watching is a passive pursuit  that detracts from happiness. (ETA - knitting while watching TV is an active pursuit). Unhappy people watch more hours than happy people do. It's currently unclear which factor is the causal one but the relationship is documented. Watching less and choosing more carefully what you do watch can lead to more positive feelings. Avoid violent media and negative newscasts in particular. Studies show that watching too much news leads to unrealistic estimates of life's dangers and risks.


  1. Great tips. Not sure I agree with the TV watching. I watch quite a lot of TV but it's all while I do my knitting work and I do watch things that make me feel good, apart from one news broadcast a day which may make me feel slightly down. The other programmes are all pleasant ones though. I agree with the other things you mentioned though.

  2. Knitting while watching TV doesn't count as passive viewing so Knitters don't really have the same issue with TV that non-knitters do.

  3. Oh, great tips, Robin, I totally agree with you on that! Especially that one with TV! I would add a point: GIVE AWAY!
    I gave away as a gift all things that haven't been in use for a year. Imagine the feeling of freedom I had afterwords: not to take care of them any more, not to clean them or to worry about them. And those happy faces of people I saw while giving a present I will never forget. Especially the one to whom I gave my TV. :-))

  4. Love this post. Very timely for me since I just left my corporate job and also started a career in the knitting business. I really like the idea of keeping the gratitude journal. Even though I am thrilled to be following my dream, it can be scary and overwhelming at times. It really helps to remember all the good things about this new venture.