About a month ago, I connected with a new colleague who is quickly becoming a good friend. She embodies what I call “Vitamin F (fun).” She’s just totally fun to be with and no matter how mundane the action may be, like grabbing a soup at Pret a Manger, it somehow becomes an adventure where we start engaging with a counter person or the table next to us or just laughing amongst ourselves.
I am reminded yet again the power of Vitamin F. After most of our interactions, my body’s life-induced “happy drugs,” (endorphins and serotonin) totally kick in and I feel elevated for hours afterwards. I am reminded how powerful fun and laughter is in one’s life.
So why is it that given my proclivity towards laughing I can easily get caught up in “TES”: terminal earnestness syndrome? All of a sudden Vitamin F is missing from my Daily Delight Diet (alliteration is one of my four food groups!). I’m not sure why since my perspective is usually seeing the irony and absurdity in things and getting a good laugh at it!
So below I have listed a good reminder of both states of mind and activities that enhance as well as deplete our Vitamin F from our Daily Delight Diet, in hopes that you will get a few new ideas, or revisit some oldies but goodies, and share some of your own.
Vitamin F- Fortifiers
1) Follow Your Bliss- When something lights you up, go for it. Don’t overwhelm yourself by making it into a project or your next career move. For example, if you’re craving to dance just put on some music. Don’t make all these proclamations that you’re going to start dancing three times a week for the next 7 years, just dance now for however long you feel like dancing! It’s amazing how honoring a simple desire can amp up your Vitamin F and keep you in your Mojo-Vation mode.
2) Check in with your heart– Something that looks good on paper often feels flat when we check our enthusiasm level with it. It doesn’t mean that every action you’re going to spring out of bed and say, “Woo-hoo, I get to do my taxes today!” but by checking in with your heart and energy level at least you’ll connect with what’s really going on.
3) Acknowledge Your “Should” Voice– to dovetail on that previous fortifier, “shoulds” make us tight and contracted and usually if not acknowledged really deplete our energy and Vitamin F. A simple (crazy as it may sound) stamping of your feet and saying, “No, I won’t and you can’t make me,” to give that voice a chance to vent can really open up the circuits. I’ve literally had a few stomping fests (in private of course), where just expressing my resistance to being bullied, I have renewed energy to focus and actually get a dose of Vitamin F from doing things I previously resisted.
4) Keep a Vitamin F Log– For me, I notice when I get my Vitamin F infusion and list it for when I’m feeling in a rut. I’ve recently learned that I’m a scanner (read “Refuse to Choose,” by Barbara Sher, brilliant book and concept), so for me a variety of visual stimuli, colors, textures, music, dance, learning something new and social interaction with like-minded people totally rejuvenates my energy. When I need a Vitamin F infusion going to stores with lots of bling that I can look at and touch, or taking a learning break and learning something new revitalizes my soul. Starting conversations with absolute strangers where I can creep into someone else’s life for a few minutes and learn things I would ordinarily never learn (last month it was the history of Helvetica the font and the history of how letters came to be, from a simple 15 minute subway ride) revitalizes me going for hours afterwards.
Vitamin F- Buzz Kills
1) Opting for criticism (self and other) versus curiosity- Totally boring and totally detrimental. When you see yourself being critical (I know that feeling) stop, take a breath, and strike a ridiculous “How fascinating!” pose like a mock Freud posture, or a pensive “The Thinker” freeze. Find one inch to become fascinated by even if it’s watching how you go down the critical thought process. I have my clients name their self-critical process. One client named hers, “the whirling dervish of crapdom” mode, and she created a symbol to match it.
2) Thinking too much about what Vitamin F needing to look a certain way- It’s not about sporting a red nose and memorizing jokes, it’s about shifting your perspective.
3) Quit the BMW (Bitch Moan and Whine) Club- I can’t say this enough. When you see yourself and others do it, just stop it! Shift the conversation to something more interesting or laugh at how your BMWing. One day last week I was on a BMW rampage, so I went into my library and took “No Complaining Rule,” off the shelf and decided to follow my own damn advice and devoured the book in one sitting. A more in-depth blog on the very topic is coming. By the way, the need to vent and just feel heard or as I heard it classified, “Empty one’s basket,” is a very healing process, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
4) Poor Self-Care- When you’re overtired, stressed out, or not feeling well Vitamin F feels a mile away. Unless you get totally punchy from being exhausted and Vitamin F can be addressed by an out-of-control laughing fit, I’d suggest going back to basics, getting some rest, making oneself a healthy meal, or doing whatever revives you in the self-care department. Just doing that will provide you the resourcefulness to get your mojo going in the Vitamin F department.
So take your Vitamin F daily and tell me how it’s going! What does Vitamin F look and feel like for you?