Read This If Yesterday, June 20th, Wasn’t Your Happiest Day of the Year #Tuesdayvibe Tuesdayfeeling #June21 #MondayMotivation

Welsh psychologist Cliff Arnall, who identified Blue Monday (third Monday of January) as the saddest day of the year, also used a mathematical formula which identified 20th June as Yellow Monday, the happiest day of the year.

Arnall created a mathematical formula to reflect the factors that make this date the happiest. The research was sponsored by Wall’s, the British ice cream maker, in 2006 to coincide with the opening of a photographic competition capturing happy summer moments.

These are the six elements he included in his formula:

  • O: The benefits of being outdoors, and enjoying outdoor activities
  • N: The connection with nature during spring
  • S:  More Socializing with friends and family
  • Cpm: Memories of positive childhood memories
  • T: The warm temperature
  • He: The anticipation of the long-awaited summer vacation

Comparing the two dates, and bearing in mind the elements of his formula, I’d agree that most people are probably happier on 20th June than on 17th January. The summer holidays, emotionally significant due to our childhood memories, are closer, the weather has improved, and the days are longer.
 
Yesterday I sent some friends a screenshot of Yellow Monday and wrote, “enjoy the happiest day of the year”. One of my friends’ reply made me think twice about what happiness means to me: She said, “I’ll try my best.”

And we started a conversation, because she’s absolutely right.

We often imagine happiness as something that appears out of the blue, suddenly, and although that may occasionally occur, that isn’t how happy moments usually happen.

We came to the conclusion that we have to actively create happy moments in our lives, as often as possible, embrace them, and bottle them up as wonderful memories.

We should plan to do things we enjoy and make an effort to enjoy the things we have to do.

I took this photo early this morning.

The secret is to make sure we indulge in as many elements of his formula as we can as often as we can:

Go for a walk somewhere in nature. Take photographs of the sea, a tree, a blade of grass, a cloud, or a wildflower. Plan for an outing.

Contact or better still see someone you love face to face or on social media. Plan to meet up.

Do something you love. If you love even if it’s just for half an hour. Watch an episode of your favourite series, read a chapter of a book you love, or read a poem or two. Plan to do something you enjoy during the week.

Allow yourself to enjoy every little moment. You deserve it!

Life is all about the little-big things; hugging my grandchildren, chatting to those who live far away of whatsapp or other social media, reading an engaging novel or an enlightening personal growth book, making a delicious meal for someone I love, taking a pretty photograph, messaging a friend on her birthday, complimenting someone, going for a walk, singing my favourite song in the shower, watching youtube shorts by my favourite speakers, and the list could go on…

I’m happy today, because of hundreds of little-big things I relish in doing, and I’ll make an effort to be just as happy tomorrow, because I believe happiness is an attitude, not a fleeting feeling.

This is a special week for me. I’m on granny duty.

Today I’m happy because I took my granddaughter to school, after dressing her up as a butterfly for a school show, then I had a delicious coffee in a bar and a chat with my husband, then I cooked meat balls for lunch, which my grandkids love, in between I wrote this blog post, and this afternoon I plan to do many more fun things, because I choose to enjoy every little moment.

Let’s make every day the happiest day of the year enjoying the little big things in life and making them happen!

Share some of today’s happy moments in the comments!

#SixWordSaturday ‘Who misses shady trees in November?’ #StreamOfConsciousnessSaturday

Who Misses Shady Trees in November?

Passers by sit and chat or rest

On those empty benches,

In summer,

Under the shade of sturdy trees.

Not now.

Today they’re walking on puddles

Under a cloudy sky,

In autumn,

Or sitting indoors, by the fire,

Waiting,

For the sun to shine for a while,

as it might tomorrow,

Or later.

No one misses the shady trees,

At all.

I took both photos last week in Cantabria, Spain.

Check out Six Word Saturday here

Check out Stream of Consciousness Saturday here. Today’s prompt is ‘shade’.

A Poem for the Second Day of Summer. Rereading Christina Rossetti’s Summer

I have a very soft spot for Christina Rossetti’s poetry, especially her short, intense verses, full of symbolism and feeling. Summer was published in The Prince’s Progress, and Other Poems, in 1866

Rossetti cover yes

Summer

Winter is cold-hearted,
Spring is yea and nay,
Autumn is a weathercock
Blown every way.
Summer days for me
When every leaf is on its tree;

When Robin’s not a beggar,
And Jenny Wren’s a bride,
And larks hang singing, singing, singing
Over the wheat-fields wide,
And anchored lilies ride,
And the pendulum spider
Swings from side to side;

And blue-black beetles transact business,
And gnats fly in a host,
And furry caterpillars hasten
That no time be lost
And moths grow fat and thrive,
And ladybirds arrive

Before green apples blush,
Before green nuts embrown,
Why one day in the country
Is worth a month in town;
Is worth a day and a year
Of the dusty, musty, lag-last fashion
That days drone elsewhere.

I love the way she starts by comparing summer to the other three seasons, telling us it is her favourite. In the second and third stanzas she elaborates on her reasons, which are based on the natural elements which abound: robins, wrens, larks, lilies, and insects, all ‘grow fat and thrive’. The final stanza concludes that these wonderful summer days should be enjoyed in the country, where these wonderful plants and animals can be appreciated, and not in the ‘dusty, musty, lag-last fashion’ city.

Christina_Rossetti_ by dante

Christina Rossetti was born and brought up in London in an artistic family of Italian parents. Her father was the poet Gabriele Rossetti, a Dante scholar who became professor of Italian at King’s College, London. Her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, also a poet and a painter. The four Rossetti siblings were educated by their mother, Frances Rossetti, a former governess.

She was a precocious poet, whose poems were privately published by her grandfather in 1842, when she was twelve! At the age of twenty, she published seven poems in the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, founded by her brother William Michael Rossetti) under the pseudonym, Ellen Alleyne. Read more about Christina Rossetti and the pre-Raphaelites

Rossetti’s best-known work, is her long poem, Goblin Market and Other Poems, which was published in 1862, and established her as a significant voice in Victorian poetry.

 

Christina rossetti and mother

Christina Rossetti and her mother

 

By the 1880s, recurrent illness restricted her social life, although she continued to write poems. In 1891, Rossetti developed cancer, of which she died in London on December 29, 1894. Rossetti’s brother, William Michael, edited her collected works in 1904, however the Complete Poems were not published before 1979.

RossettiPoems penguin

Her poem Summer refers to her happiest childhood memories which were the summer holidays spent in her Grandfather Polidori’s home, Holmer Green, in Buckinghamshire. The Rossetti children spent their days discovering the landscape around them and the animals that lived there. It must have been a welcome change from industrial and overcrowded Victorian London, where she lived for most of her life.

Rossetti was a fervent Anglican, and she was aware of women’s underprivileged place in society. This led her to spend some years working with “fallen women” at Highgate institution, run by the Diocese of London, where they received religious education and were instructed in housework, to enable them to secure employment as maids. Her experiences at Highgate are a likely source of inspiration for “Goblin Market“, as well as a probable purpose for the poem, which she probably read to the women as a means of moral instruction.

I agree with many scholars, that she was, no doubt, a Victorian intellectual, subject to sexual, religious, and patriarchal repression. It is therefore in her poetry that we can attempt to glimpse and the power and contained feeling she kept under lock and key in her disciplined mind.

A_Pageant_and_Other_Poems_1000336682

Summer is one of her few optimistic poems, unfortunately, it has a pessimistic counterpart.

Summer is Ended

To think that this meaningless thing was ever a rose,
Scentless, colourless, this!
Will it ever be thus (who knows?)
Thus with our bliss,
If we wait till the close?

Though we care not to wait for the end, there comes the end
Sooner, later, at last,
Which nothing can mar, nothing mend:
An end locked fast,
Bent we cannot re-bend.

wpid-20140622_172806-1.jpg

A wilting rose in my garden

 

Summer is Ended was published in her 1881 volume, A Pageant and Other Poems. Its title is derived from a passage in the Old Testament book, Jeremiah:
The harvest is past,
the summer has ended,
and we are not saved.
(Jeremiah 8:20)

By this time in her life, she was overtaken by recurrent and invalidating illness. She had also refused several suitors,  wishing to remain a spinster. This poem is melancholic, and nostalgic. it reminds us that the splendid summer must end, and give way to a wilting rose, in the same way as our lives, too, will come to a close.

I didn’t intend to end on this ‘sad’ note, so let’s remember that today is the second day of summer, and we still have about ninety days of lazy, hazy, long sunny days ahead of us, and when the summer is gone, I have another delicious poem waiting for you.

I love autumn, and I’m sure it’s partly due to John Keats poem, Ode to Autumn, but that will come in September…