A lot to do with sunshine

This is the first instalment in the August blog carnival. This week’s theme is – something that makes me happy. To join in, all you need to do is post a blog on that theme any time before next Sunday. Find out more here.
A while ago I started getting pins and needles in my hands and feet. The feeling caused me to panic, which made the sensation worse, which made me panic. At the time it didn’t occur to me that pins and needles could actually be a symptom of panic. When I arrived in her office, shaking viably, my doctor took one look at me and wrote a referral to a physiologist. Turns out pins and needles are a fairly common symptom of anxiety. Turns out I’ve had anxiety basically forever. Turns out it helps when someone tells you that’s what’s wrong.
Along with a bunch of routine questions about my childhood, the councillor also asked me where I live. She gave me a resigned nod when I said I’d recently moved into a flat. Apparently being cooped up inside all day isn’t super good for your emotional wellbeing? After the first session my homework was to go outside every day (and eat more bananas, but that’s another story).
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend staring out the window or how many half-dead herbs you try to grow on your window sill, actually going outside makes you happier.
Someone told me it has to do with trees and how nice it is to watch the gentle movement of the leaves. So I tried to be more mindful of leaves, especially in the city where being outside doesn’t always feel like it counts for much. When I feel overwhelmed by it all it helps to look up and concentrate on the flimsy branches, hemmed in by buildings.
Going outside often comes with a lot of other little happy things – like cute dogs and tiny, tiny children riding scooters. There’s a house up the road from us that is growing snowbells. Snowbells you guys. Sometimes when the whole moving-interstate thing is getting me down I think about the reasons I like Melbourne. A lot of days the most convincing argument is ‘it’s cold enough for daffodils’. Not because that’s the bestthing about Melbourne, but sometimes the little happy things are the most convincing.  
I like going out in the late afternoon, just as the sun is setting.  It streams down through the gum trees at the park near our house where cute dogs/tiny children condensation is particularly high. The park has a number of signs which read “SMILES PER HOUR ZONE”. I don’t really know what that means but that park is a place that makes me happy. Maybe the council picked up on the cute dog concentration and thought they’d signpost it, just in case any nearby anxiety suffers were in need.
In the end, I think it has to do with sunshine. It’s nice when sunshine filters in through the windows but it’s not the same as going out and standing in it. Happiness has a lot to do with sunshine.

Here’s something that makes me happy – these posts by a whole bunch of fabulous people.
Hum Drum Plum – on making muffins.
Britt in Boots – on music and memories.
What I Think About Books – on family and adventure.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year