“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” – Proverbs 15:30
A quick story
One morning I was leaving my neighborhood and happened to drive past a neighbor who lives a street over from me. As I passed by, I gave a friendly wave and smile that was undeniably visible. To my surprise, my neighbor didn’t respond back. In fact, the neighbor looked quite perturbed by my happiness. At first, I was mad because we’ve lived in the same neighborhood for more than 14 years and I see this person on a daily basis driving in and out of the same street. As I continued my drive to work, I pondered why some people don’t like to wave when they know it’s a nice thing to do?
That same day, I arrived at one of my corporate client’s offices to begin my day at work, but first had to take an elevator up 23 floors. There was one other person in the elevator who made no eye contact with me for the entire ride while looking at their phone. No “Good day, ” or “Hello.” Just utter silence 23 floors up. Can you imagine if we got stuck? It would’ve been complete torture for the other person, because I would’ve pushed the whole “Hello” issue and they would’ve had no choice but to cave.
Once I arrived at the office, I began my day. I noticed many people in the halls didn’t make much eye contact with one another, nor did many have friendly conversations. A large majority of people today seem rather disengaged emotionally and angry about life. I notice this not only in offices, but in many public places as well. Why do you think this is?
I know stress is a major contributor. People aren’t sleeping enough or eating the right healthy foods. But, besides these obvious reasons that I speak and write about often, there’s one thing that has stood out to me when getting to know hard-working, smart people. What is it you ask? I believe millions of people in the United States with corporate desk jobs who are sitting at computers all day long in small spaces and working long hours are being denied their CREATIVITY. Yes, I said creativity.
I believe, by nature, humans were made to be passionate and creative. When people are suppressed or denied the right to creativity and passion on a daily basis, this can lead to anger and resentment. If we harbor these rightfully negative feelings over a long period of time, we may manifest symptoms of being sick, age faster and eventually acquire a major disease. We also run the risk of taking those negative feelings out on the people we love. It’s an energy and it needs to go somewhere doesn’t it? If this energy isn’t used in a healthy manner, I believe sickness isn’t limited to your body, but your mind and spirit can become sick as well.
This can lead to a dependence on some sort of addiction. Whether drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, overspending, overeating or even overworking. I’ve even noticed people becoming addicted to being sick. Their sickness becomes a comforter and a barrier to them not seeing the truth of what they need to change about their situation. I think a lot of it is fear based as well. People are afraid to make changes and some are too lazy to change. Some people really don’t know how to put one foot forward in making that leap into having creativity and passion in their lives. Some may feel paralyzed and numb to even the idea of it. Can you relate to what I’m saying for yourself or someone you know?
Infuse some creativity into your life
I listen hard to what people tell me and I hear their daily struggles. I work with people of all different ages, sexes and races. Some are single and some are married. Most have a lot of stress! Some are in jobs by circumstance because it pays the bills and others have jobs that they went to school for and are now bombarded by really heavy workloads that are meant for two people. Some have jobs that have become so mundane they pose no real challenge intellectually. Some careers have put restrictions on people allowing them to share their own ideas and opinions, which in fact produces an environment of not wanting to rock the boat. This can manifest a learned behavior of fear in a workplace.
Since I’ve gotten to speak to people over the years, I always ask them what they would want to do for a living if money wasn’t a priority. Some of the answers have been a dog day care, art studio, coffee shop, dance studio, farm, charter fishing or travel companies, vintage clothing line, soap maker, designer, children’s book author, park ranger and flower shop owner. Everyone who responded had either a master’s degree, and some even a PhD. The career changes they mentioned were all jobs that either required them to be outside or have contact with people. And, all were jobs that required CREATIVITY. Even though society has a faster pace and technology is faster than ever before, humans still crave simplicity, nature and other people. Even as mean and angry some people appear today, we all crave the same things. Isn’t that enlightening? If we realize this, it’s kind of hard to be mad at that person that didn’t wave to you isn’t it? (Side note to myself.)
Think about this: Have you ever noticed a football coach on television screaming and yelling with great passion at his players? Have you ever watched a ballroom dancing competition and the intensity of the dancers’ body language? Have you ever watched HGTV and observed some of the home designers, working on a project for hours without tiring? Have you ever watched the eyes of a musician or famous singer performing their hearts out? Have you ever visited a zoo and watched the excitement of the people working there? Have you ever taken the time to drive out to the country and visit a small farm and speak to the owners? Have you ever watched a fishing show where two men are fishing all day on the end of a boat under the beautiful blue sky? I know for some of you these sound like dream jobs and aren’t realistic, but I think you get my point. What can we do to bring out that creativity and passion that was given to us? I think all of us can change up our Groundhog Day weeks by adding in a few positive elements to our lives to do your soul good as well as your health. I know it does for me.
Remember, a cheerful heart will produce a lot of good fruit in your life as well as others. See where you can apply one, or two of these suggestions and let me know your thoughts.
Make time for fun and creativity
- Take one or two days a month during the week to see a sunset.
- Download your favorite stand-up comedian and listen to it on your way to work.
Download a list of songs that you listened to in high school or a time in the past that you enjoyed. Listen on your drive home from work.
- Take one, or two, lunch breaks a week outside to look at nature.
- Prepare a recipe once a week from a different culture that interests you.
- Write a love letter to someone you care about.
- Sign up for a dance class a few times a month.
- Register for a different language class online, or at a meet-up group in your town.
- Find a local farm to visit and walk around.
- Take a trip to your city zoo.
- Start a journal of the best memories of your life and share them with a friend.
- Invite friends over for a conversation night of wine and pick a topic of history to converse about.
- Find a piece of furniture in your house that needs to be repainted. Take it outside and work on it slowly.
- Take a new workout class at your gym that challenges you.
- Go to the library and take out books that you’re passionate about.
- Plan a small weekend trip to a place of history, or somewhere that challenges your mind.
- Volunteer at a dog shelter, or at an assisted living home.
- Sign up for an art class.
- Learn to play chess.
- Take a cooking class.
- Walk the beach after work, or walk a nature trail.
- Make something simple for your house.
- Work on old family photos, or a family genealogy.
- Plant new flowers, or start a small garden.
- Make a list of possible new job prospects that require less stress.
- Redo your budget to spend less on bills and more on fun.
- Watch less television and pick out movies that challenge your brain to have more conversation.
- Meet new people outside of your usual friends.
- Get to know the older people in your family.
- Try daily prayer for insight of personal change.