July Choice

July should be one of the best times of the year. Make a choice to have outdoor time, listen to the birds and look for butterflies. Turn off phones and your TV and make a choice to enjoy your environment.

swallow tail butterfly

Enjoy the beauty of July!

Make a choice to be kind and work to be resilient. Make a choice for clean air by buying and driving less, and you will be doing something good for the earth. Make a choice to use less plastic and eat healthier. Wise choices will help you be happier. The Actions for Happiness group have lots of good choices for a happier July. Good luck!

Chin up, chin up
Put a little laughter in your eyes
Brave it, save it
Even though you’re feeling otherwise
Rise up, wise up
Make a little smile begin
You’ll be happy hearted
Once you get it started
Up with your chinny chin chin!

~ E.B. White

New Day, Victory Over Darkness

Happy spring, the sun has returned

peace on earth

It’s a beautiful world. Spring is a gift.

March 20 is the first day of spring, International Day of Happiness and Nowruz. Nature has given us the beauty of spring. Be sure you spend time outside every day to appreciate our beautiful Earth. Ancient people celebrated the first day of spring thousands of years ago!

For the Northern Hemisphere, March 20 is the first day of spring. But for 300 million people around the world, it’s the beginning of a new year, too. Nowruz—which means “new day”—is a holiday marking the arrival of spring and the first day of the year in Iran, whose solar calendar begins with the vernal equinox. Nowruz has been celebrated in Iran and the Persian diaspora for more than 3,000 years. Its roots are as a feast day in Zoroastrianism, a religion practiced in ancient Persia that viewed the arrival of spring as a victory over darkness. The holiday survived the Islamic conquest of Persia in the seventh century and the decline of Zoroastrianism’s popularity, and it spread across the globe through the diaspora of Persian people throughout history. (Here’s how Persia became the world’s first true empire.

It is hard to celebrate much happiness with such an awful war going on. Instead, spring clean your brain, and think about mental health for yourself and those you love. It has been a difficult two years for the entire world, so be good to yourself and be good to the entire world.

How do you spring clean your brain?

5 Ways to Calm Your Anxious Brain – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The author suggests practicing mindfulness, declutter your surroundings, reconnect with people, reduce news bombardment by reading or watching only two trusted sources for information, and finally keeping a journal. Read the article in the above link.

To truly clean your brain, you need to spend time outside. Let the wind blow through your hair, absorb some sun and breathe deeply. Find beauty in the outdoors and in nature and go for a walk. Write is your journal about what you observe. I saw my first junco and noisy robins today. Time in Nature Can Now Be Prescribed as Health Care Treatment in Canada – EcoWatch 

Give yourself some purpose, be kind, smile and do something good for the earth and your brain will be spring cleaned!

Wishing victory over darkness for Ukraine. Take 3 deep breaths for peace in Ukraine.

Hope for Ukraine!

The Earth gives us spring,

Enjoy!

The Actions for Happiness have created a website for International Day of Happiness and things we can all do to make the world a kinder place:

https://www.dayofhappiness.net

  1. SHARE POSITIVE MESSAGES: Spread ideas that promote peace, kindness and understanding, online and in real life. 
     
  2. CONNECT WITH PEOPLE: Reach out to people who you know are connected to a crisis and offer your care and support.
     
  3. GIVE DIRECTLY: Donate to causes working on the front line of a crisis or find a way to help with local efforts.

The site also offers a number of places you can donate to that help with the current crises in our world.
 

https://www.dayofhappiness.net

Finland continues to be the happiest country on Earth. I wonder if that can continue? They share a border with Russia.

kindness

Three breaths for peace!

March for Ukraine

Buy less, waste less and use less energy!

Two bad things are happening in the world. Europe is at war in Ukraine, and a new UN report says climate change is going to cause many future problems. UN climate report: ‘Atlas of human suffering’ worse, bigger – StarTribune.com 

Support for the Ukrainian People

We know the drill to help ward off climate problems, drive less, use less plastic, eat less meat, and reduce food waste. Buy less, waste less, and use less energy!

Every day I take three breaths for peace to help Ukraine. Here is a list of organizations to support and help Ukraine: See below and Donate to the fund of the National Bank of Ukraine – Official website of Ukraine 

I was in Ukraine in 2013. The people were very kind, helping us get around, take public transportation, and order food. My husband and I loved the beautiful country and kind people!

Yes, we are under stress worrying about Ukraine and climate change. Below is the mindful calendar for March to help maintain our mental health.

Medical supplies from the United States and Europe because Ukrainian suppliers ran out of gear and medical supplies. For more information go to razomforukraine.org.

United Help Ukraine is providing lifesaving first-aid kits to the front lines. The organization also helps the families of those wounded or killed in war and gives support to displaced people from Crimea and eastern Ukraine. For more information go to unitedhelpukraine.org.

Sunflower of Peace is raising funds for first-aid medical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. Each backpack has the ability to save up to 10 lives, according to the organization. For more information go to facebook.com/sunflowerofpeace.

Ukrainian Red Cross Society: Volunteers and staff provide first aid in areas where medical access is limited. Funds will be used to support those in need, blood collection, mobilization of volunteers and resources and emergency activities. For more information go to redcross.org.ua/en.

Help for children: UNICEF is ensuring Ukrainian children have access to safe water, nutrition, health care, education and protection during the invasion. For more information go to www.unicef.org/ukraine/en.

Voices of Children provides psychological and psychosocial support for children caught in the middle of the armed conflict. For more information go to voices.org.ua/en/.

Journalism: The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian-English news site, provides up-to-date information of Russia’s invasion. Its fundraising site can be found on GoFundMe.

February Fun

We all are in need of some serious fun! Isolation and this pandemic have gone on for too long. What can we do to help our mental attitude? Every day when you wake up smile and make a simple plan for something that you find to be fun, play a game, play with your children or pets and laugh. Or spend time outside and enjoy the beauty of nature, breathe and smile. Or call or text someone, and laugh, but never make fun of anyone but yourself!

The Actions for Happiness calendar has ideas for connecting. Make it fun!

red heart

Being kind will make you happy!

3 Sustainable Choices

A new year, new habits!

“Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world!” Greenpeace

The new year has arrived, and we all have the best intentions to have a fresh beginning. With all the uncertainty and discord around us, focusing on something bigger than ourselves helps to rise above all the confusion. Choose to do things that are fun and make you feel better about your place in society.

New goals and new ideas help stimulate new interests and are good for our mental health.  First of all, don’t worry about being perfect, just do something different. No one is perfect, but if everyone does something it adds up to big things for us and our community.

Millions of people around the world have been harmed by storms and our warming world during the past year. With all the harm humans have done to our planet the last hundreds of years, our warming Earth is struggling to find some equilibrium, and we can all lessen our negative impact. By reducing our consumption of the Earth’s resources, we can help our corner of the world and make a big difference. My ideas are to help you think of ways you can make a positive difference and hopefully have fun!

Every day my household works on three big things to reduce our consumption of the Earth’s resources:

Reduce meat consumption

1. Cutting meat consumption and always celebrating meatless Mondays. There are so many meatless options in the frozen food section of grocery stores it can be easy and fun. The hard part is finding meatless options without increasing plastic pollution. Here are some ideas to get you started. Vegan Recipes To Help You Eat Less Meat : Life Kit : NPR  

Quick & Easy Vegetarian Recipes | EatingWell

Vegan Recipes To Help You Eat Less Meat : Life Kit : NPR 

How is plastic in our food affecting our health?

2. Reducing plastic is paramount.  Plastic creates waste and litter, it contributes to climate change, pollutes our water and is harmful to wildlife.  It is concerning how plastic affects our health and what it’s impacts might be for us. We have a lot to learn about how plastic is harming our health. Please reduce your consumption of plastic. Start by using reusable bags, cups and bottles, and then you will slowly learn new ways to reduce plastic in your environment. So much plastic can’t be recycled, but if you must purchase items in plastic, make sure it can be recycled.

Irritable bowel syndrome linked to more microplastics in gut (nypost.com)

end food waste

30 to 40% of food in the USA is wasted!

3. Reduce Food waste.  Food waste is a total waste of water, labor, time and energy. First start with your shopping, don’t buy more than you can use. Buying in bulk is a good way to regulate how much you purchase (bulk can reduce plastic waste also). Second, staying on top of what items are in your refrigerator/freezer is extremely important. Maybe have an “eat first shelf.” I keep a container in my refrigerator to accumulate celery tops and other vegetable scraps for weekly soup making or stir fry.  Finally, turning leftovers into a new meal is one of the best things about cooking. Make it fun and challenging! Wraps and rice bowls are winners!

How to Reduce Food Waste | Sierra Club

Below are many ways you can help our planet and also your soul:

Opinion | 10 New Year’s Resolutions That Are Good for the Soul – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

7 Ways to Make 2022 More Sustainable – Plastic Free Home – Environmental and Zero Waste Blog (theplasticfreehome.com)  

13 sustainable choices for your green life | Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (state.mn.us)  

3 eye-opening, science-based New Year’s resolutions that could help everyone | PBS NewsHour

12 Ways to Live More Sustainably (biologicaldiversity.org)

Do Good January

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu

Yahoo, a new month and a new year, and another month of uncertainty. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but every day is a gift, and we can create new intentions and new good and joy in our lives. The Actions for Happiness calendar below has many ideas to put little bits of good together!

As we enter a new year let’s turn to the beauty and natural wonder of our Earth. Every day is unique. Spend time outside or look out the window and create your own joy. It doesn’t cost money or take much effort to enjoy the beauty of each day.

View today outside my window.

Enjoy the natural wonders

Have fun and do good for yourself, your community and our world. Start each day with hope and kindness.

March Motivation

mindful march
Spread kindness and touch the earth

May March sunshine on your shoulders make you happy!

Happy March! Be kind to the Earth, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others! The Actions for Happiness calendar ( below) has many good suggestions to be more mindful and spread kindness.

March brings me joy. The longer days and the hope of spring are motivators to get outside and notice the changes, even if it is just melting snow. Everyday the outdoor world is waiting to be explored, your own neighborhood is perfect. Even 5 minutes of mindful observation will lighten your mood. Breathe, smell the earth, let the sun, rain and snow tickle your face, touch the wind, talk to the trees, hear the sunrise/night fall, smile and be kind.

This March pay attention to how you can reduce your carbon footprint: Can you reduce idling your car or drive less? Can you eat less meat and waste less food? How can you reduce the waste and plastic you generate? Can you buy less things and be a smarter consumer? Just doing a little bit can make a positive difference. Thank you and good luck!

Reading List:

Embrace Winter challenge: Go bird-watching or stargazing – StarTribune.com 

Making ourselves worthy of our vaccine – StarTribune.com 

UN Releases Scientific Blueprint to Address Climate Emergencies – EcoWatch

Sounds of Silence: The Extinction Crisis Is Taking Away the Earth’s Music – EcoWatch 

Enjoy many good suggestions below to have a Mindful March:

be mindful
Be mindful of your footprint on Earth

See a Tree

Trees on bodies of water help to keep water clean.

May is Arbor Month. Do you have a favorite tree? When I was a child I had a young  basswood tree growing in my back yard. It was a little tree, but it had enormous leaves. I loved watching that tree grow and change! 

Jane Goodall

The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky” Jane Goodall

Before being logged pine trees originally covered northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Find a tree on your walk, in your yard, or neighborhood to enjoy. Observe it everyday. Watch how it changes, notice the shade it gives, the texture of its bark and leaves What kind of seeds does it have? Watch for new growth. How does it help wildlife? What attracted you to it? What beauty and diversity does it add to your environment? Give it a name.

I have a cedar in my backyard full of mysterious activity. All the birds that fly in and out of its secretive branches intrigues me. Cardinals have built a nest hidden in its branches, but it is too busy an environment to raise a family. It does feels like a friendly place, and all the birds love its shelter. I would love to hide in its branches to find out all that goes on within this cedar tree. Unfortunately, the cats in my neighborhood also sit and watch this tree full of bird activity. Please keep your cats inside!

May is a perfect month to plant trees, but always plant something native to your area, and please plant trees friendly to wildlife. Here is the National Wildlife Federation’s list of best trees for wildlife. Oaks are especially good for wildlife.

Trees are beautiful and add so much to make our environment special, but “Foremost might be trees’ role in purifying the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Of course, they also play a vital role in creating habitats for wild animals, providing food, water and shelter.” Jim Gilbert 

How do trees help keep water clean? Trees improve water quality by slowing rain as it falls to the Earth, and helping it soak into the soil. They also prevent soil from eroding into our waterways, reduce storm water runoff, and lessen flood damage.