Ramp Up Your Happiness

Outside our local bank is a ramp for wheelchair access and for those who can’t or don’t want to take the stairs.  It slopes to the right, turns 180 degrees, and returns to the left, ending in the parking lot sidewalk.  When my children were toddlers, they loved that ramp.  It didn’t matter that it took longer to run down the ramp than it did to walk down four steps. All that mattered was that it was fun to race freely down the ramp. Sometimes they would hold their arms out like airplane wings and fly down. They also wanted me to walk down the steps and meet them at the bottom so they could zip down the ramp all by themselves, coming to a slamming halt with a hug and a giggle. This simple ramp made them so happy.

When I was visiting the bank last week, a Mom and her young son were exiting the bank. Like I did with my kids so many times, she let her son run down the ramp and met him at the bottom. He was delighted.

How often do we have the opportunity to stop and smell the roses or run down a ramp, but we don’t, because we don’t think we can take the time? Here are a few things you can do that don’t take a lot of time, but could bring joy to your life and to someone else’s — and they don’t cost anything but a few minutes of your day!

  • Read something uplifting, whether it’s an inspirational quote, a daily devotional or an internet post; here’s one of my new favorite sites: Know Your Glow. It’s a female-targeted site, but it has some great thoughts for everyone.
  • Take two minutes to sit in silence, breathe slowly and clear your mind: meditate, pray, gather your thoughts, get centered — whatever you choose to call it.
  • Give someone a warm hug.
  • Read to a small child (yours, a niece, nephew, neighbor).
  • Play with your cat, dog or other pet (wiggle a string, toss a ball). They will love it, and you will benefit, too, with lower blood pressure and a relaxed heart rate. And if you don’t have a pet, consider adopting one from a local shelter.
  • When you ask someone how their day was, really listen to the answer.
  • Watch the sun rise, and be thankful for another day and a fresh start.
  • Eat dinner with your significant other, your family or a friend. At the very least, sit at your dining table with the television off and eat a healthy meal — don’t stand at the kitchen counter wolfing down a bag of chips.

Let’s take time and find the ramps in our lives — slow down and take a moment to have a little fun, before the time comes when we no longer have the opportunity. What is your “ramp?”

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