Lately I’ve been getting my eye care at a school of optometry. Student clinicians having their first stab at patients man the clinic, ever alert to anything that could be going wonky with the eyes.
I do have something wonky with my left eye, I knew it when I first came there, having had that wonky thing since birth. Something about how an artery curves instead of going straight into the retina. It was a real hit with them, and as they saw potential for further wonkiness, they insisted a battery of pictures of the back wall of my eye be taken to “establish a baseline.” In case that artery had decided to curve in an as yet unknown direction the next time they take a look, they’d have something to compare it with. My baseline.
Since my eyes have been given their baseline, a new experience for both of us, I’ve noticed folks are fond of establishing baselines in other care-giving situations. Again, as a way to gauge if things are swerving off course, or maybe crashing.
I like this baseline idea. I can see how it can be put to good use by applying a bit of creativity.
We could give ourselves a good feelings baseline. Not to monitor if one day was low compared to our baseline of good feelings and so to recognize it as an ugly, irredeemable day, but to go with the idea that we have one in the first place. Then–this is the creative part–to do things every day to build up that baseline. Incrementally, with one small good feeling at a time.
There’s endless options for making good feelings–internal, external, mind-focused, body-focused, others-focused. Let me get you started:
- Count your blessings, as they arrive. The blessing of a new day, the blessing of being loved, the blessing of food that nourishes, the blessings in challenges, in laughter, in opportunities.
- Give gifts. Of time, of caring, of sending good thoughts, of help, of things.
- Hook up with the highest part of your being. Breathe slowly and fully, connect to the light within, sing, dance, take yourself to a beautiful place on our earth just to be with it for a moment or two or twenty.
- Let good feelings come into you. Let yourself be loved, appreciated, vulnerable.
The thing that differentiates a good feelings baseline from all other baselines is, first of all, it can be directly influenced. When that is done, when it is built up, overall well-being is built up as well. Because when we feed our hearts and souls in this way, our level of wellness shifts as well. And that could only be a good thing.