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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Choose to be happy

© Another Day in the Country

It’s been over a month since I checked out a book from the library, “Happy by Design,” by Victoria Harrison.

Maybe the title attracted me because I’d been thinking about happiness lately and what makes a person pleased to be alive.

Once I opened the book at home, I mumbled to myself, like I do far too often, “I could have written this book,” and then immediately chastised myself for being a poor sport, and added, “Then why didn’t you?”

So I kept reading until I came to parts where I had to admit, “Well, I hadn’t thought about that particular thing,” which kept me reading and pondering until I had to check the book out a second time.

The subtitle on this little volume states, “How to create a home that boosts your health and happiness.” We might think that everyone automatically knows how to do this because who wouldn’t want to live in a healthy, happy, home? However, I’ve come to believe that some of us just haven’t known that this was important.

The very first thing this book talks about is — believe it or not — “Fresh Air.” I remember when we were first dreaming of coming back to live in Kansas that the thing we loved was the breeze blowing through the lace curtains in the little Ramona House we’d refurbished. Ramona was synonymous, to us, with fresh air; but we discovered that it was not always good clean air that blew in our windows and ruffled the curtains.

Neighbors were not always careful with what they burned. Farmers were not always watchful about where and what they sprayed with noxious chemicals. Kansas air, filled with pollen and scent of cattle yards, was not always so fresh.

So what do you do for fresh air when it isn’t as simple as opening the window and letting the breeze blow through? You make your own, with indoor plants. Palms and peace lilies, ficus and English ivy, among others, are oxygen producers. Not only do plants make your environment beautiful, they freshen the air. This, of course, makes you happier —whether you know it or not.

Sunshine is another thing that lifts your spirits and Kansas has more than its share. Rarely does a day go by without the sun peeking through the clouds; but indoors the very color of sunshine, yellow, can boost your spirits. Lampshades lined with gold give off a warm glow in any room to make even the simplest corner cozy, allowing us to take a deep breath, let it out, and say, “We’re home.”

“Tidy your way to happiness” is the title of chapter three, encouraging the happiness-seeker to de-clutter their environment, for starters and “make your bed.” I think everyone wants to be happy but a lot of folk never thought that something so simple as making the bed could help happiness happen.

While happiness may seem illusive, there are a whole lot of things we can do to increase our well-being, including getting a good night’s sleep.

“A good sleep routine is one of the most crucial elements to get right if you want to boost your health, well-being, and happiness levels at home,” says the author. My favorite tip is to get rid of the television in your bedroom.

Did you know that fragrance can boost your spirits? One of the things I love about mowing my lawn is the smell of cut grass. My happiness soars when I mow past the chocolate mint growing by the pond and some gets tangled in the mower blades. Then there’s basil and four-o’clocks blooming in the garden. There are lavender bushes by the back door … all scents that claim my spirit and boost my well-being.

Grow flowers in your yard and bring them indoors to create a beautiful environment. Who cares if they shed petals? My cousin Georgia gave me the idea of including fragrant herbs in flower bouquets. I think of her when I tuck mint in with the geraniums or just put fresh basil or dill in a vase in the kitchen for easy snipping into a salad.

“10 Lessons to Learn from the Danes,” was the heading on page 110 of the book I am reading with the top tips for creating a happiness-inducing environment in your home. It included “using natural textiles,” like insisting on cotton sheets for your bed and “creating cozy lighting,” which means you can really light those candles that have been setting in the candleholders for display only.

It’s another day in the country, with 24 hours to begin doing at least one new thing to increase your happiness and your health at the same time, so that, with a rough paraphrase from the “Good Book,” our “days may be long upon the land that was given us.”

Last modified Sept. 27, 2018

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