For a while now, my friend Lacy and I have been chatting on the topic of “happiness”. What is it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? What makes us really happy? What makes one person a “happy person” and another not? The questions are endless, but the research, it turns out, is fun! We have in no way become experts, but have learned one thing: Happiness is, among other things, a practice. So like anything else we want to do better, we must make it a habit.
Lacy has been 'practicing' for a long time now, and I feel she has a lot to share on the topic. So when I decided to start this blog, I asked her if she would do regular guest-posts to talk about it. I plan to make a habit of reading them. xoxo, Leigh
Do Things You Never Thought You Would…
Hi all! Lacy here!
It's a Sunday afternoon in July. We're all sweaty, red faced and breathing hard. I am feeling completely satisfied with myself.
It's NOT what you think.
For the first time in who knows how long I've just been running! It's nearly three month later and I am still in love! THIS BOOK has changed my life. Literally. It completely transformed the way I think and feel about running. It completely changed the way that I run.
In middle school I ran track because they made me. I was decent at hurdles, extremely mediocre at the mile relay and made a strong effort on high jump. In high school I was in drill team and only ran when I was told that I must (seeing a theme here?). Those glorious high school runs usually ended with dry heaving on the side of the track feeling angry, depleted and broken. I remember getting A LOT of shin splints. In college I did the Body For Life challenge a good half dozen times. I was always working towards the perfect swimsuit body, it was all about results in those days. I wasn't concerned about health or well being. I was willing to suffer for a flat stomach, toned arms and strong legs. I made suffering an art form. Running was necessary for getting the results the challenge promised and so I ran and loathed every step (I got the promised results about 3x). Running has NEVER brought me joy… until now.
Then it happened, I had a hard day. A really hard day. I knew that I needed to change something in my life and that soft, still voice inside was saying 'Move your beautiful body baby, get out there and GO! RUN!' And so I did. Right then. I already had the shoes. I've been wearing Vibrams for years now for walking, hiking, weight lifting but never running, because you know… I don't run. But that day in July I did. I did as the book suggests, run on your toes not your heels, focusing on the outer ball of your foot, spread out your toes, run lightly as if sneaking up on someone, arms relaxed in motion of the run, keep your spine straight and your head looking forward. TAKE SMALL STEPS. Breathe, relax, take in the sights and sounds around you.
Those first few runs all I could focus on was breathing and taking one step at a time and trying not to bounce. After that I was able to engage my core and check in with my body. Now I can actually look around and take in the colors of the sky, the grass. I listen to Pandora and sing along. I never thought I'd say this but I LOVE RUNNING! I'm now convinced that keeping an open mind is without a doubt a completely non-negotiable Habit of Happiness!
So what about you? What old belief are you willing to challenge? Hint: start with the things you absolutely can't be bothered to do and work backwards.
Wishing you an endless supply of love + happiness,
Lacy Young is a professional happy person ©. You can find out more about her on her blog.
Be sure to download her new Kale Yeah! App for your phone!