I take pride in being a Pollyanna Princess, which doesn’t always win me brownie points or earn me followers. Some people think that it’s beneath them to live on the lighter side of life, and even look down on those of us who do. Some people take themselves too seriously to be able to put on a sparkly outfit or enjoy a laugh at something completely useless. And some people are so busy being cynical that they might just miss out on all the deliriously wonderful things this life still has to offer.

While I am fully aware of the harsh realities of our world, and don’t exactly live a charmed life myself 24/7, I believe it’s important to keep things in perspective.

I love this quote from an article I recently read:

Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behaviour of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.

That sure hits hard!

I believe that in order to enjoy our lives, we need to strive for beauty, both inside and out. As Oscar Wilde said: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Yes, I love a little sparkle any day of the week, and I find that living as though a rainbow has been shoved up my daily planner is easily broken down into these 4 guidelines: Be a child; Be an adult; Be Authentic; and Live 80/20.

I will expand on these points over the next month in a 4 part series where I will offer my tips for riding the rainbow that is living a positive life, starting today with part 1…

1000_wordsBe a child1000_words

Not to be confused with childish behaviour, being a child once in a while is key to rainbow living. There really isn’t a set of rules here – the main thing is to take time to have wild fun as though you were a kid again. Whether hoola-hooping, wearing kitty-cat ears as an Alice band or just running madly into an ice-cold ocean, cast your outer adult aside and let the inner 10 year old out.

Haven’t had a swirly soft-serve in years for fear of the evil calorie content? Go out and get one today. And if it drips on your fingers and forces you to smudge your lipstick while saving every last trickle, all the better. Being a child is about allowing ourselves to enjoy the small pleasures without taking all the worlds consequences onto our shoulders all the time.

But how? Being a child might not come as naturally to some of us, especially when we have bills to pay, children of our own to raise, problems to solve and medical issues to deal with. Truth is it takes a bit of creativity, and a lot of dedication to find time in a busy adult schedule to be a child. It comes from within, but can be so suppressed, stuck somewhere between the cobwebs and the pension plan, that you might need to fake it till you wake it. A few tips…

pink_shoeCreate the opportunity

When I was a teen, my best friends mother cleaned out her deep freeze and instead of throwing all the slushy ice down the drain, she called us to come outside. When we finally dragged our too-cool-for-school asses out there, we were hit by a flying snowball! She had made a bucket of snowballs from the defrosting ice and challenged us to a snow fight right there in the 30 degree summer heat. I will never forget how much we laughed that day, and thought: Now that’s the kind of grown up I’m going to be!

Being a child is not something you need to do everyday, but the more you look around for opportunities, the more opportunities will present themselves.

pink_shoeParty On!

You don’t need to throw a tantrum to relive your childhood, rather throw a party! Theme parties are definitely under-explored in our oh-so-serious keeping-up-with-pintrest lives. We forget to celebrate what we have.

I say celebrate life for no other reason than you are alive, and a silly theme party is as good a reason as any to celebrate the living. Forget about trying to schedule something on an over-packed weekend – do it on a tuesday, and throw on those ball gowns, girls.

It is good for you to dress up once in a while because the rest of the time our routines can so easily become boring and drab. Anything other than muted shades of ‘corporate’ can so often be deemed as ‘trying too hard’.

But having a theme party (think ‘Rocky Horror’, ‘Great Gatsby’ or ‘Bling it on, B&$*%’) means getting dolled up over the top, and letting your freak flag fly. You and your friends deserve silly time, because letting loose and dancing to the Spice Girls on a week night in your lounge is possibly the best way to strengthen friendships – not ‘look at my new iPhone’ or ‘Follow my instagram account’.

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pink_shoePart-time Decor

It is just as good for your homes’ aura to be dressed up too (think Chinese lanterns and multi-colored balloons) Ever heard of good ghosts? This is how they are created. When your home is filled with happy vibes and good times, the glow lingers long after the last of the champagne glasses have been packed away. Just look at Christmas and how one tree can transform your lounge. Dress it up, I say. Even if only for 1 night. And sometimes, lets be honest, it’s the ONLY time your home gets a proper spring clean.

It doesn’t need to break the bank either. My sister-in-law had an amazing get together not too long ago using Cheese and Wine. She simply asked everyone to bring a bottle of wine and a block of cheese, and voila – French themed party!

pink_shoeMusic

Good music, not the slit-your-wrists variety but the happy variety, does more for us than simply serve as background noise or get us to the end of a 5km run. Studies have shown that music can help with pain management, insomnia, control of blood pressure and aid our memories. Music works on the autonomic nervous system – the part of the nervous system responsible for controlling our heartbeat and brain function – and also the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls feelings and emotions.

That is why, when your favourite song comes on, you can experience a sudden boost of energy and joy. “Taking advantage of that can help you beat a bad mood, maintain a good one, or simply rejuvenate and relax,” – explains Alicia Ann Clair, Ph.D. Professor of music therapy.

Using music to relax the nervous system works on a cellular level and can help to re-energize from within your body. I find that when I listen to some songs – Chandelier by Sia, Hideaway by Kiesza, or Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker suite – it makes me want to dance all over the place. So go ahead and get your boogie-oogie-oogie on while cranking up the tunes in the privacy of your own home. No one needs to know, and you really will feel as though the sun is shining out of you.

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pink_shoeLet Yourself Laugh

Like music, laughter can ‘trick’ your cells into happiness mode, and all kinds of other health benefits. From strengthening your immune system, boosting your energy, diminishing pain, and helping you to de-stress, there is no valid reason to not have a good laugh every day. Why do you think comedy series, Rom-Com novels and those YouTube video’s of cats jumping into walls or falling off counters are so addictive? We crave it on a cellular level.

An article on WebMD says, “We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.”  Laughing can feel as good as a lovely stretch pilates class. Now that’s my kind of exercise!

…but Don’t be a Mean Girl It’s important to remember that not all laughter is good. The best laughter is the kind that comes from a pure place, one that lifts you up and those around you, rather than one that tears down or alienates. So instead of cracking a sarcastic joke at someone else’s expense for a cheap thrill, why not spend an evening at a Kareoke bar with a group of friends, laughing your lungs out together. Laughter builds bonds, strengthens relationships and de-fuses tense situations. So surround yourself with people who lift you up, things that make you laugh and remember to lighten up, babe! Alan Watts put it perfectly:

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.

pink_shoePlay, damnit, PLAY!

Still not convinced that you have the time for anything less than serious? Allow me to borrow heavily from the incredible book by Dr. Brene Brown. She explains in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’  that ‘cultivating play and rest is an important part of letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.’

Play, which we do because it’s fun and we want to, can seem purposeless in the face of so many real and present demands. But it’s exactly that purposelessness that allows our overworked, overstressed brains to relax, invigorating our creativity and innovation as a result.

It works on our physiology and neurological paths at a molecular level similarly to rest. Have you ever tried to study or work on an important presentation after 3 days of sleep deprivation? Not your finest hour, right? But give yourself one good night’s sleep and everything seems possible again. The rest gave you the time to re-charge, and you can once again fire away with all the pistons your bad-ass self has to offer.

Play does exactly the same thing for us when it comes to emotional burnout.

Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and clinical researcher who has written extensively on ‘Play: How it shapes the brain, helps foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups and opens the imagination and invigorates the soul’ explains:

The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression. Respecting our biological programmed need for play can transform work. It can bring back excitement and newness to our job. Play helps us deal with difficulties, provides a sense of expansiveness, promotes mastery of our craft, and is an essential part of the creative process. Most important, true play that comes from our own inner needs and desires is the only path to finding lasting joy and satisfaction in our work. In the long run, work does not work without play.

In a nutshell, play is about respecting your body’s need for renewal.

So go on, chase that rainbow and embrace every hue, starting with being a bit of a kid from time to time.

Here’s to a life looking up at the stars.

Till next week,

Be beautiful, inside and out – and dare to be a little childlike too…

Pami-sign

 

More in the Rainbow Series:

pink_shoeBe a Child

pink_shoeBe an Adult

pink_shoeBe Authentic

pink_shoeLive 80/20


 

IMAGES / 1. Via TULLE AND TWINE  / 2. Via LAURA MILLER / 3. Via YOU TUBE