Coming out of the pandemic and emerging from our personal cocoons has most people feeling a bit giddy. Feeling bad is no picnic. Feeling good is a lot more fun. Luckily, some simple strategies may help us shake off the doldrums and march headlong into the light. 


According to experts, a good first step toward feeling good is to get a refreshing night's sleep. “It is no major revelation to most people that adequate sleep improves well-being. One recent study found that people who increased their quantity of sleep over a four-year period got about the same happiness benefits as they would have from winning up to $280,000 in a lottery. Well-rested people are more social and have more positive emotional experiences.” Some simple strategies to improve sleep are at: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/06/revenge-bedtime-procrastination/619156/


Now, assuming you've had a good sleep, when you arise in the morning there are some things to do that could be beneficial. WellandGood.com has detailed “Four Morning Habits of the Longest-Living People in the World.” 


“When you wake up in the morning, what gets you out of bed? What's your drive? Finding whatever that is and embracing it fully is one of the habits that kickstarts your day. A part of this includes the most important meal of the day: eating breakfast. Also, enjoy a cup of morning coffee. Finally, say something nice to the first person you see because human connection leads to happier, longer lives.” (https://www.wellandgood.com/fear-flying-tips-post-lockdown/)


Well and Good also found great merit in one more morning ritual. “The first thing you should do right after waking up is incredibly simple: Drink water. Water plays a huge role in our moods, cognition, body weight, skin health, and body temperature. It helps boost your brain power and it supports a better mood.” (https://www.wellandgood.com/drink-water-morning/)


While you're waking up your senses in the morning, taking in a deep breath of air is enjoyable. That air might as well smell good, right? How about inhaling scents from a national park? Candles from the Parks Project have whiffs from parks like Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Glacier and Big Sur. You can get these at: https://www.parksproject.us/collections/collection-candles.


“Parks Project's mission is to protect and preserve parklands for generations to come by educating, advocating, volunteering, and activating park supporters. To date, Parks Project has contributed over $1,400,000 to help fund vital projects in parks.”


Having a great morning certainly sets you up for a dandy day. Since this is National Ice Cream Month, why not treat yourself to an icy delight? You know, Americans love their ice cream. In 2020 U.S. retail sales of ice cream were $6.8 billion. The average American enjoys 5.5 gallons per year. That's a lot of licks because it takes fifty licks to finish a single scoop cone. (https://www.dispatch.com/go-comics/?amu=/world-of-wonder/2021/07/11)


We know that vanilla and chocolate are the two most popular ice cream flavors, but a new flavor introduced this week is a bit more adventuresome – mac and cheese flavored ice cream. 


“For the first time ever, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese will launch a limited-edition ice cream in partnership with Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. The brands collaborated to turn the comfort of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese into the ultimate summer treat with no artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes. The Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream will be sold online while supplies last.” You can order yours at: vanleeuwenicecream.com.  It's a bargain at just $12 per pint. 



Finally, summer is the prime season for golf. Every golfer is interested in feeling good about their game. After all, seeing a perfectly struck golf ball sail down the fairway is more enjoyable than watching an uncooperative four iron arc through the sky and into a pond. 


Golf.com has come up with an interesting concept that has the potential to make every golfer smile: “This clever way of marking your golf ball can improve your focus — and your swing.” It involves six dots. The article (with illustrations) is at: https://golf.com/instruction/dot-mark-golf-ball-focus-swing/


“There’s one type of (ball) marking that generally flies under the radar, which could arguably help golfers more than anything else: A series of well-placed dots all over your golf ball. Why? Because of an interesting concept called 'quiet-eye,' which found that better players have a tighter focus on the golf ball compared with higher handicappers, who tend to look at lots of different spots of the ball. In a nutshell, it’s good to focus on one very specific part of the golf ball when you’re standing over it, which is why using a dot on your golf ball can help.”


There's one other reason for golfers give this approach a shot. It sure is cheaper than buying a new $300 driver every year. Feeling good  has never been so cost effective. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and Neffzone.com/cadillacnews