Become your own “Lucky Penny”
May 24, 2016, Jules Shapiro
Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck. I like pennies.In some ways, I relate to the penny. People think that they no longer hold value but I pick up a lucky penny whenever I see one on the ground. I make a wish. When people ask me what I do, I see it on their faces, they don’t get it.
I am trying to be your lucky penny.
The penny has a long history, it has been around for centuries. In fact, today’s penny is not much different than the Roman Denarius it was modeled after. It has been considered a good omen for as long. Imagine, finding something on the ground that is monetarily worthless than it’s weight but still considered to bring you luck?
Have you ever felt like the penny? Has chronic illness made you feel worth less than your weight? Have you been treated like you are worth less than your weight? Been given up on? Have you given up on yourself?
We live in a “production” centered culture. Many of us either lose our ability to work or have never been able to work because of our chronic condition. Job loss is one of the top stressors, close to the loss of a loved one, that can cause depression and grief. A Gallup poll found that one in five Americans without a job for a year or more are undergoing treatment for depression. That is double those who have been without a job for just a few weeks.
When I lost my rather lucrative position in the software industry, I went from feeling like a million bucks to feeling like a tarnished penny overnight. In my mind, I was no longer a valuable, productive, contributing member of society. I sunk into a deep depression.
When I threw away the notion that the only way I could be a productive member of society was to be employed and making a certain amount of money I found peace. Now, I am a lucky penny. I am my own good omen by learning that being positive makes me more productive than going to an office every day and doing the same thing over and over.
I will trade you “positivity over productivity” any day of the week. In fact, now that I have shed the career role of productivity I have found that I can do MORE. I am emotionally productive. That is the kind of productivity that gives me more energy to be a wife, a caregiver, and an advocate.
Here is how you can be your own lucky penny.
A Lucky Penny Laughs: according to social scientist Dacher Keltner, a preeminent researcher in happiness, laughter promotes healthy responses to trauma. If you want to shine yourself up, laugh! The trauma that our illness has inflicted upon us or the trauma that is our illness will lessen with our laughter. Do whatever it takes. Need help? Here is a list of what is considered the 25 funniest movies of all time.
Increase your daily diet of positive emotions: regrow your cells so that you grow into a lucky penny. As this video explains, we are regrowing our cells all of the time, why not feed the new, growing crop with a daily diet of positive emotions!
Watch: Greater Good
Give yourself the goosebumps: Have you ever truly felt awe? Research indicates that experiencing awe, finding wonder in one’s life increases happiness and generosity. There are health benefits as well. After experiencing awe there are health benefits by way of having fewer proinflammatory cytokines (the cells that promote inflammation).
All of us experience awe and wonder in different ways. A toe in the ocean, photos of flowers, holding your grandchild; any of these could be your ticket to becoming your own lucky penny.
Once you figure out what it is that makes you happy, the things that make you shinier, remember to save them. Put them in a penny jar. It is important that you know how to make yourself feel a little better today, to be your own lucky penny. Try laughing a little more, seeing the miraculous beauty and awe in your surroundings, When you realize that it is not the quantity of what you produce but positive emotion you put into anything you can do you may even, over time, get health benefits.
A lucky penny does not have to explain her worth to anyone. Do what you need to do to make yourself feel just the kind of worthful you need or want to feel. Just like doing THIS makes me feel like a lucky penny, you find your thing, and once you find it: never apologize and never explain.
When you find a penny, pick it up and before you make a wish or put it in your pocket, smile. Remember, you are worth more than your weight. You are truly the lucky penny.
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A publication of The Chronically Awesome Foundation
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