I was watching some wonderful tennis at the USOpen qualifying tournament recently and wondered why I had not been there in two years. My therapist tells me how important it is to regulate my happiness activities, that with my mood disorder it is essential to cognitively schedule joy into my iPad calendar. With the normal ebb and flow of a day, I default into a mild malaise.
To prevent this from happening I need to be physically active, emotionally engaged with friends, see people, get out of my apartment, laugh, sing, skip. Left to my own devices I will not flourish.
Once I got myself out to the Open last week, I was in my natural element. I chatted with other tennis devotees. I rooted for my favorite players. I spotted a retired umpire, whom I had seen on TV for years, and we chatted about how some players receive coaching during a match. He now helps the ATP manage umpires and I gave him my observations of illegal coaching during a match that very day. For a minute I considered asking him how I could work for the ATP.
It is easy to deny myself. I need to make a list of those things, people, activities that bring me joy and then regularly inject them into my week. Yes, it’s time to see Staci again. She and I have so much in common, although decades separate us, and I always enjoy her company. And a flurry of birthdays are coming up, it’s time to see a good friend and his partner for our annual birthday dinner.
In addition to my usual responsibilities, I need to put these on my TO DO list…rather, MUST DO list. These sources of joy are my misplaced treasures. I need to uncover them and give them fresh air and light.