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What a Coffee Cup Can Teach Us About Happiness
I used to have the perfect coffee cup. Just looking at it could make me relax, as if ingesting a cappuccino by osmosis. Then one morning my toddler hurled a sippy cup into the sink where the lovely mug was serving up a soapy brew and the thing shattered. My response was not mature. My toddler examined my face and said, "I'm a little sad that you're sad."
I knew it was silly, but that cup had really been an important part of my morning, a moment of beauty, which is really necessary when you're feeling sorry for yourself because it's still dark out and you've been up for hours with a sleep-averse small person. Finding a replacement was not easy, but finally, a few days ago, I came across the new mug of my dreams in a local shop. This time it's a little more literal. "Don't worry," says the cheery umbrella. "Everything is going to be OK."
Isn't it the message everyone needs in the morning? And I've been surprised, really, to find that it actually works. I look at this mug and I feel happier. I think it's lowering my blood pressure. It's not just me: happiness experts like Martha Beck attest that taking short positivity breaks -- even just 90 seconds to look at something that makes you feel better -- can improve your entire outlook.
So there are life's inevitable stresses. So I'm perpetually behind on my to-do list. So various deadlines are looming. Everything is going to be OK.
So the kitchen table is shellacked with yogurt and juice. As is the floor. And everything else. Everything is going to be OK.
So the baby's getting a tooth and a cold and therefore is going on sleep strike. Everything is going to be OK.
The California-based sister-run company that makes the mug, Rock Scissors Paper, makes an equally adorable mug with the message, "There are so many beautiful things to see when you slow down just a little tiny bit...." I'm tempted to go back and pick this one up too, but I don't want to get so blissed-out that I'm unrecognizable to my friends and family. (Or do I?)
More ways to take a mini "It's OK" break:
Find smiles in unexpected places
What really makes people joyful
The science of happiness
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