Evolutionary theory suggests that we should embrace all of our emotions, as each has an important role to play under the right circumstances. So, though you may seek ways to increase happiness, don't haphazardly push away your sadness. No doubt, it's there for good reason, as research suggests that mild, temporary states of sadness may actually be beneficial in handling various aspects of our lives.
Cathryn Wellner's insight:
I was fascinated by this because many of my own best periods of creative output have followed a time of deep sadness.
A chance meeting with a soldier after performing in a hospital in Germany inspired songwriter Darden Smith to work with members of the military to turn their stories into music. Smith now runs Songwriting With:Soldiers, a non-profit organization which pairs veterans and troops with professional songwriters in a peaceful environment. The service members share their stories and the songwriters mold them into lyrics and set them to melody. "We all have a story," Smith says. "When we listen, and listen well enough to take the solders' words and turn them into art, and sing it back to them, something happens. What it is, I don't know. I'm a songwriter, not a therapist. But something happens, and it's powerful."
When thinking of ways to create a better and healthier lifestyle, oftentimes people tend to think in terms of cutting back on certain choices, be it eating desserts, drinking alcohol, or perhaps just sitting on the couch watching TV. But one area in life that has been almost cut out entirely is something that actually should have never been cast aside --having a hobby. Not only is it a fulfilling, sometimes creative outlet, but it is also beneficial to your overall health.
Along the fertile banks of sub-Saharan Africa’s White Nile, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile River, a war veteran’s co-op is planting for a food secure future in South Sudan, a country potentially facing famine.
Wilson Abisai Lodingareng, 65, is a peri-urban farmer and founder of Werithior Veteran’s Association, or WVA, in Juba, South Sudan. The association is a group of 15 farmers ranging in age, with the youngest being a 25-year-old veteran’s son. This group of 15 farmers tends to a garden, located six kilometres outside Juba, South Sudan’s capital, where they grow nearly 1.5 hectares of vegetables.
It’s 10:30pm. We back out of the driveway. The sky spotted with stars, and oak-lined hills of the Austin, Texas horizon. We roll down the windows and wave a hearty goodbye to Seema, Abhay, and their son Nishu, our full-of-heart hosts for the 40-person Empty Hands living room gathering that had transpired this evening. Three silhouettes and three raised arms wave back from the edge of the driveway. Even in the dark, the image of their smiles sticks in our minds like the glow of a crescent moon.
Cathryn Wellner's insight:
It's worth reading the whole account of this beautiful journey - and taking a look at the photos. Thanks, Nimo Patel, for sharing your musical gifts so generously.