(This positing was made a day late due to a lack of access to the internet yesterday.)
We have reached the third month mark of A Year of Living Positively. It is an accomplishment and I can commend myself. Also, I thank all of my followers and viewers for taking an interest be it out of a shared interest in the subject or mere curiosity.
At the end of two months of writing, I wrote a list of 32 pointers, many of which I share with Dottie Billington, author of Life is an Attitude. However, Shortly thereafter, I added a recommendation to treasure and enjoy food, while sticking to her credo of keeping slim and getting regular exercise.
My approach is to value and enjoy the little things, and the mundane will come to seem extraordinary. It can be enriching to have less stuff. Disentangling ourselves from hyper-consumerism can be very good for the soul and peace of mind. What have seemed to be necessities can start to look like the luxuries that they are, and just think of all the time and labor saved in not running around to acquire excess stuff then look after it all.
I differ from the above author also with respect to recommending an involvement in activism in some fashion or other for some purpose, big or small, related to the pursuit of social justice human rights and general social progress. It so happens that I recently listened to a lecture by Richard Wilkinson, a British demographer who studies population and health. I mention this because the lecture presented the view that reducing social and economic inequality can improve the general health and wellbeing of the whole society. He and his team did a comparative analysis of population, economic and health statistics of many rich countries and found that despite the variations of the abundance of wealth, and despite variations in social policies and systems, where there is a greater disparity, there are higher rates of health and social welfare problems across the board. For example, Japan has the lowest degree of inequality but the highest quality of life, while the US has the highest degree of inequality, but the lowest quality of life according to a whole range of studies by many researchers.
Wilkinson stated that one big factor affecting everyone’s health, rich or poor, is the heightened consciousness of status evaluative judgment where there are super-rich people. Anxiety is a product of a competitive society in which a huge swath of the population is looked down upon for not being situated in an upper layer of socio-economic comfort. It has consequences to the cardiovascular system and mental health. When many people are trying to achieve a higher and higher status, but there is no room at the top and little access anyway, and many people simply live a life pretending to be better off, it also has outcomes in terms of satisfaction, trust, criminal behavior, indebtedness, divorce rates, and on and on.
Community involvement and volunteerism as well as charitable giving go along with that recommendation to be actively engaged in the movement for social change, which Dottie does have on her list. We both see eye to eye regarding hobbies or constructive pastimes, too. Yet, neither of us have made a point to mention the pursuit and practice of humour, whether jokes or tales or simply laughter. Did you know that there are laughter clubs who meet regularly but briefly just to laugh once in a while? Good idea! I suppose we could also add an appreciation for color, even art or at least aesthetics, as well. Making things look nice, and achieving harmony and artistry make people feel good and the outcomes have consequences to the anxiety levels and mood. It’s also interesting and can make for another topic for thought and discussion.
That takes us to number 36 on my list. That is a long list. I promise to review it and find a way to synthesize the points and make it more comprehensive. All the same, isn’t it great to know that there are so many ways to help us keep a positive perspective, get a lot out of life and feel good?