Winter's Pause

Winter's Pause - Happy Fix Blog Post
by Stacy Menzies
Chief Happbassador, Happy Fix

Happy Fix is headquartered in North Carolina, which is an incredibly diverse place both people-wise and geographically. The state is over 500 miles wide (actually, it’s the widest state east of the Mississippi) reaching from the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Weather-wise, even though we’re a southern state which is classified as a warm temperate zone, the different regions within the state can still experience a taste of all four seasons, even seeing an average of five inches of snow in winter.

Guess what? Today it snowed.

That’s a big deal down here, although I can hear my friends and family in places like Chicago, Colorado, Vermont and New York laughing as they scoff at the notion and roll their eyes. In places like that, snow is a part of life, and at times (well okay, most of the time) it can be a hassle during the day-to-day.

Here in The Old North State, though, it’s a celebration. Families with little kids start roaming the neighborhood pulling plastic sleds, people are out taking photographs, and dogs are out sniffing, tasting, and playing in the fat white flakes.

Everything seems to stop, if only for a moment, as people choose to stray from their routines and take some time to enjoy their surroundings and the people they are with.

It’s timely that this snowfall comes at a time when people are sifting through their New Year’s resolutions to make improvements in their physical and mental well-being. One of the benefits of the whole concept of such resolutions is to take a moment to stop and look at one’s life: where are we with our health, our relationships, our spirituality, our jobs and fiscal situations? No matter what specific resolutions are made, they all filter down to finding ways to make our lives better which, in turn, betters the lives of those around us.

The tricky part of this attempt at personal introspection for many people is to implement ways to change in order to avoid getting dragged down by concentrating the negative aspects of their lives that they feel need improving. For whatever reason, dwelling on negativity seems easier than celebrating the positives within ourselves. Continuing to focus over and over on physical and emotional issues you are dealing with, or perceived injustices within relationships is called rumination. It basically refers to being stuck in a cycle of negativity, spinning your wheels without getting anywhere.

Researchers at places like Yale University who’ve studied rumination show it leads to deeper depression which lasts longer. (Sorry women, research shows you are more likely to ruminate than men.) This depression keeps people from dealing with their issues and making substantive changes in their lives.

One of the key findings of this research is that many individuals who ruminate actually think they have no choice in the matter.

This is where Happy Fix comes in.

What we’re trying to do is help people understand that they do indeed have a choice in improving their lives. No matter if you’re just an average Joe with normal, everyday challenges, or if you have some extreme circumstances, you still have the freedom to choose to improve your life.

That’s really the first step, regardless of how easy or difficult the road to improvement: making the choice to live a positive life. What comes after, i.e. how you get from point A to point B can vary, but making that choice to stop ruminating and move forward will change your life for the better.

Throughout 2016, we’ll be rolling-out new educational programming and inspirational content (Knowledge) and fun apparel and accessories to remind you to stop and focus on the positive (Nudges) as we continue to move forward with the Happy Fix mission of giving people the tools to live a happier life.

In the meantime, take a moment to pause, watch the snow, and celebrate. 
Stacy Menzies is Chief Happbassador at Happy Fix, a North Carolina-based positive lifestyle company inspiring people to hit the reset button on happiness and celebrating what's great in their lives. Her background includes teaching high school, lobbying, and sales while raising two impressive young men. Stacy is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo (B.A., Communication 1989) and East Carolina University (M.L.S., 2008).