Man floating in a Lawnchair thanks to helium balloons“Lawnchair Larry” Walters flew 16,000 feet above Los Angeles in 1982, thanks to 45 helium balloons. What a lift!

We’ve had our first day over 50 degrees up here in the Colorado Rockies, so it’s really starting to feel like spring. I enjoy winters and cozy sweaters and evenings by the fireplace, but I get an energy lift from the warm weather, longer days and – this year especially – seeing other people out and about, like the two groups of guys I saw playing basketball in Boulder on Friday.

So, in the spirit of all things light and bright, here is a balloon bouquet of different things to give you a little lift.

Sounds

Here’s a Spotify playlist I made with more than two hours of happy, upbeat songs like Good Day Sunshine (the Beatles), Shake it Off (Taylor Swift), Let’s Go Crazy (Prince) and, of course, Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves). I sing along to it in my car, which is why it’s called Joy Ride. 🙂 I’m always happy to add more songs – let me know what you love!

Have you heard of ‘binaural beats?’ They are sound waves that play slightly different frequencies in your left and right ear, creating the illusion of a third sound – a rhythmic beat. Some studies claim binaural beats decrease anxiety, increase focus, improve mood and even help you sleep. I just know I love the sound, and I particularly like the marimba series by Meditative Mind, which you can check out on YouTube. Put in your best headphones and give it a go.

There are lots of upbeat podcasts out there; here are four I enjoy:

  • Home Cooking – Cookbook author and upbeat human Samin Nosrat and her friend Hrishikesh Hirway started this delightful podcast to help people cope food-wise during the pandemic (what to do with all those dried beans in your pantry, how to bake when there’s no yeast or flour at the grocery store, etc.). They thought they’d do four episodes but have done 15 so far, and each is one is awesome. Hrishi might be the best punster I’ve ever heard, and I could listen to Samin laugh and talk about food all day long.

  • The Happiness Lab – Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, whose “Science of Wellbeing” class was most popular in the university’s history, takes you through the latest scientific research and shares some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness.

  • The Art of Happiness — Behavioral scientist, author and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks delivers real-life strategies of lifting people up, bringing them together and improving happiness for all.

Sights

Just someone snuggling a baby bunny for two minutes.

This video from the BBC of otters floating and holding hands in the open sea, shot with the help of a robotic otter and bald eagle.

Go on a virtual game drive and explore the South African bush with these videos from the pros at Singita (‘Place of Miracles’).

The art of Hannah Bullen-Ryner, who makes each piece from natural materials she finds nearby and with no permanent ‘fixings.’ I’m in awe of her talent and just amazed at what she creates with leaves, twigs and other bits of nature.

Hannah Bullen-Ryner natural art

Words

I get two daily emails with upbeat thoughts and quotes. If you like this kind of thing, check out:

  • Notes from the Universe – Sample: “You are creation’s first and last chance … to be you. Just as you are today. That’s all you have to be. You really lucked out. Signed, The Universe. p.s. Bask. It’s more than enough.”

  • Daily Thrive Thought, from iThrivePlan – Sample: “Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” ~ Frida Kahlo

Good News

For the positive side of what’s happening in the world, check out The Good News Network, this regularly-updated collection from ABC News, or this collection from the BBC.

Health

There are now four COVID vaccines approved worldwide (three in the U.S.), with more on the horizon. Millions of people around the world have received at least one dose, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic as we’ve known it.

The mRNA delivery system that the COVID vaccines use has been studied for decades as a treatment for flu, the Zika virus, rabies and certain types of herpes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, future vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable diseases.

Beyond vaccines, cancer researchers have used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Woohoo!

What makes YOU happy?

Here is a free fill-in-the-blank template you can use to jot down the sights, sounds, smells and other things – up to 100 of them! – that make you happy. Write your answers down for your first lift, then get another one every time you refer to it.

I hope you find lots of reasons to feel a lift this week. For today, Happy Easter and Passover to those of you who celebrate them.