Feel-good things can seem harder to find, but here are 5 positive ways to improve your day

It’s easy to find feel-bad things.

I listened to a three-minute news update last week and heard about a natural disaster with a massive death toll, war, inflation and a mass shooting.

Feel-good stuff can seem harder to find, but it’s there, and I think it’s important to share and celebrate it when we can.

So today, a few positive things I’ve come across in the last few weeks. They range from interesting to inspiring to relieving. In any case, I hope they brighten your day.

Participate in kindness day

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s first annual #KindnessExperience is Feb. 17. This feels timely to me, seeing as just last week I wrote about the impact of kindness. I had participated in “The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness” on the Ten Percent Happier app, and my main takeawayfrom the 10-day program was that the key to happiness is actively practicing kindness. That also happens to be his holiness’ advice on how we can change the world and the start to solve some of the biggest problems we face as a species, too.

But the point is: Kindness matters. It’s impactful for both the giver, and the receiver.

So, let’s try this #KindnessExperience thing out. The RAK Foundation has two suggestions for participation.

  1. You could engage (and encourage friends to engage) in a specific act of kindness on Feb. 17 and then get the positivity swirling by sharing it on social media (include hashtags: #rak #rakfoundation #compassionatehouston).
  2. Post a kindness quote, image or story with the header “Today is Random Act of Kindness Day” on social media (also with those hashtags).
    The point is to offer kindness and then share it to help magnify its impact and inspire others to participate and prioritize kindness, too. Hard to argue with that.

PS. If you miss Feb. 17, no one will be offended by a belated act of kindness and post.

Check out Bitty and Beau’s and Belong Kitchen

I just found out about two restaurants, and I’m blown away by them. They both employ people with special needs.

Bitty and Beau’s is a coffee shop, or as their website says, “a human rights movement disguised as a coffee shop” located in Rice Village.

We went last weekend with my special needs daughter, and we loved it. It’s a totally normal coffee shop, but it has an air of inclusion and acceptance that’s unique. The place was packed with all kinds of people, and no one was alarmed at all by my daughter’s desire to spontaneously hug random strangers.

I have yet to try Belong Kitchen, but I will soon. I’ve heard wonderful things. They serve prepared family meals out of their west Houston kitchen. As their website says: “Come in, grab a coffee and pick up a dinner that feeds four to six people.”

I love that sound of that, and this: “Belong was created to provide dignified, meaningful, paid employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a nurturing environment.”

Start taking weird walks

This is based on a TikTok video that a friend shared with me. It comes from a brain-training specialist/hypnosis practitioner out of New York, Emilie Leyes.

The concept is simple and fun: You go for a walk until you find something weird.

In the video, Leyes is walking outside in busy city streets until she comes across a scary pig/angry dog/some combination of the two…it’s hard to tell… randomly painted on a gray brick building.

She goes on to say: “Weird walks are a brilliant way to rewire your brain to be more creative and enjoy your life more.”

“If you actually committed to this and did this regularly, you could train your brain to become more open to finding new ideas, thinking outside the box.”

Take a peek at Upworthy

If the evening news gets you down, Upworthy might pick you back up.

It’s a website with a bold mission: “Delivering the best of humanity every day.”

I like this site because it goes against the adage “if it bleeds, it leads.” It shares positively oriented stuff that’s surprisingly not dull.

I recently found myself clicking articles like “Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles when watching TV,” something about a dance class taught by toddlers (with a super cute video), and anti-parenting advice that’s a relief to parents.

There was also a video of Pink and Kelly Clarkson singing “What About Us?” that brought tears to my eyes, in a good way.

Know this super-relieving information

This one comes from a podcast that I love, “We Can Do Hard Things” with Glennon Doyle and their episode called “Family Estrangement: Should You Repair or Run?” with Dr. Galit Atlas.

I know, it sounds like a downer, but I found it to be the opposite.

In the interview, Atlas points to research when she makes a bold and awesome claim.

She says, in essence, that we are bound to miss the mark, to get things wrong in our relationships, as much as 70 percent of the time. We react, say the wrong thing, miss a beat, maybe do all three at once.

But Atlas says that’s OK. She says the magic is in the repair, or the circling back afterward. She says that’s the most important part. That’s where meaningful connections are forged and deepened, and negative experiences are transformed.

She says secure relationships are based on our ability to repair.

As someone who’s trying to get things right but falling short all the time, this is basically the best news I’ve ever heard. Messing up is fine, it’s human, it’s science. There’s no need to beat ourselves up or get super defensive when someone voices how we’ve hurt them. That’s bound to happen. Just keep on trying, and always repairing.

It’s all good, my friend.