To Lift Your Mood Break Out the Tunes!

Music is one of the greatest tools to make you feel better, to enjoy an activity you would otherwise not or just to get a party started! Music has made people move, come together, dance and celebrate for centuries. Knowing music can bring about a smile and the desire to sing until there is no voice left, I keep it in my pocket at all times, even as I am writing this!

When feeling stressed there is music that calms us down, when sad there is music that makes us feel like someone understands and when we’re mad there is music to make you want to get up and dance in your living room like no one is watching!

My simple suggestion is to make a few playlists you can use when you need to change your mood or if you just want to perk up your day!

Here’s a music video get you started! “Sometimes I get a good feeling…”


Sometimes a Dream is Just a Dream*

*“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” ~Sigmund Freud

So here’s another dream.

Last night I dreamt I was walking to my apartment in Manhattan on the upper East side near Lex and 71st Street (which is a dream unto itself). In that weird dream time-bouncy way, I ended up in a gorgeous old pre-war building waiting for the elevator. Who should be there but Michael Jackson just like he looked in the ‘Beat It’ ’80s video, red jacket and all. He was very polite. Of course I was too cool to make a deal out of it so I rode the elevator with Michael Jackson like it was nothing while in my head I was jumping up and down going, “OMG!!! It’s Michael Jackson!!!!”. Then I woke up.

What does it MEAN?!

Who cares? It was fun and made me smile while I brushed my teeth, as I got ready for my real day. The opposite of an anxiety dream, I guess.

Happy April Fools Day!

For sure I am not a fan of practical jokes. Too often the poor victim is just that, a victim and not really in on what’s so funny and made to feel like a moron. April Fool pranks when done with finesse, can be fun because for a moment we wonder, is this for real? And when we realize it isn’t we can laugh because the joker let us in just enough that we don’t feel like complete idiots. That’s the art of a good April Fool’s Prank.

Just for fun, because we always deserve something just for fun, here’s an example from the gallery of famous Google April Fools Jokes of past years.


Do you have a favorite April Fool’s Day joke? Do you enjoy them? Hate them?

More on April Fools Day pranks:

A Round up of All Google’s April Fools Day Jokes

April Fools Marketing

Report of Discovery of Beethoven’s 10th Symphony by NPR


A Gratitude Booster Shot

Warning: This is an unabashed FEEL GOOD post!

Research supports the notion that taking the time to be grateful, by writing in a journal, through meditation or prayer, improves mood and enhances resiliency. But what about those times when we are so low we can hardly come up with one measly, teeny, tiny, itty, bitty thing for which to be grateful?

A few weeks ago a friend, knowing I was feeling a bit down, sent me this sweet little book. Without even opening it I was cheered right up! What a thoughtful thing to do! How often do we think of making gestures like this but don’t follow through? I was sincerely touched. The book is called thx thx thx, by Leah Dietrich. She writes thank you notes to the funniest little things in our lives like zippers or the TV remote. I opened the book which randomly fell open to:

“Dear Rice, Thanks for revealing your mysterious preparation to me. I know I’ve burned you in the past, pretty much every time, but suddenly I feel like we get each other, and now I can make you whenever. You taste so good. Thanks again, Leah”

It made me smile and I needed that smile right at that time. Appreciating big things like having enough energy to write more on the blog wasn’t happening. It was too big a hurdle at the time which was depressing me. But appreciating the smell of laundry as it came out of the dryer? I could do that! This little book, and my friend, reminded me.

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” ~e. e. cummings

Feeling stressed? Hold your horses!

This sign is at the entrance to the stable where I keep my mare, Annie ( It’s also a sign for me to slow my life down, take a break, give myself permission to ease the pace and know that it will all get done. The important stuff does get done. It just doesn’t all have to be done today. Whoa!

On This Beautiful Thanksgiving Day ~ Thank You!

Courtesy of trixiegirl31 via Flickr


There is so much to be thankful for. Today , we at Explore What’s Next wish to express our deep gratitude to You.

In reviewing the statistics for this blog it was a big kick to see that last month we had close to 10,000 page views with a bounce rate under 1%! In blogging lingo that is the equivalent to finding the Golden Ticket in a whole mountain of Willy Wonka Chocolate Bars! You may be quiet but you are here! Not only do you knock on Explore What’s Next’s door, you come in, stay a while, even have a cup of coffee. That is so cool!

Where ever you are, whatever you have planned for the day, thank you for participating in our blog. By being here and reading this you are a key element to its happy existence. You complete the circle. I am not lying!

Without you, what’s the point? Our purpose here is to have a conversation, to exchange ideas, to recognize ourselves in each other, to provide a guide, to assure, to help, to inform, to spark Aha! moments for us all and hopefully have some fun along the way!

We care for you and want to know what’s on your mind! Are our articles helpful or miss the mark? Please let us hear from you! Our favorite is when you write a comment, when you add a new spin, new information, your unique point of view or even just say ‘Hi’.

Where ever you are in the world, on this lovely Thanksgiving Day, we say ‘Hi!’ to you and thank you! 

Why We Like To Be Scared!

Photo courtesy of Pedro J Ferreira via Flickr


Editor’s Note: This article was written by Dylan Broggio, LCSW, EWN therapist.

Happy Halloween!! … wait a second… why does it make us happy to be scared out of our gourd? As thousands flock this time of year to haunted houses to be chased by masked men with chain saws…many of us are left scratching our heads asking… um, WHY? What is it about us that we love to be scared?

There are a gazillion theories on this, however what they seem to agree on is that it taps into your bodies release of adrenalin!! We see or hear something scary, our brains go into hyper alert mode (aka the fight-or-flight response). We are intensely aware, and with that intense awareness comes that lovely chemical called adrenalin flooding into our veins, making us feel more alive!

Why do some people seek this out while others can’t handle it? At the biological level – we all have a baseline arousal (how jazzed up we are when we’re just hanging out). Higher baseline aroused people steer clear of this scary stuff and head for the hot apple cider and donuts :-)  Lower baseline aroused people are motivated by the thrill seeking and adrenalin. Note: I definitely fall in high baseline arousal category. Cider anyone?

Why do men tend to gravitate more often to scary stuff than women? Men tend to have lower baseline arousal and women have higher. Hence, men typically enjoy scary movies and such more. It also varies by age, the younger you are the lower your baseline arousal, therefore young men are the biggest audience.

All I know is that it’s not for me. I’ll be spending this evening with a cup of hot cider next to the fairies and infants with monkey suits on ;-)

Happy Halloween everyone!

~ Dylan Broggio, LSCW-R

Where the Pursuit of Happiness is Taken Seriously

Courtesy of Joseph A Ferris III


Here is something I learned today.

Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan country nestled just to the right of Nepal, South of Tibet and North of India. This amazing country has a government sanctioned Gross National Happiness Commission! Their objective is to nurture and support

i.    Developing a dynamic economy as the foundation for a vibrant democracy;

ii.   Harmonious Living – in harmony with tradition and nature;

iii.  Effective and good governance; and

iv.  Our people: investing in the nation’s greatest asset.

Plus they have the cutest royal couple since William and Kate!

A Blogger’s Holiday

With the advent of summer my life became more busy, not less, causing blog neglect. May as well call it like it is and just declare a blogger’s holiday. I will be back in a couple of weeks all rested, bright eyed, and ready to provide you with everything I’ve got. Thank you for being there. You have no idea what your visit means to me. Please feel free to browse all over the site, there’s some really good stuff here! Leave a comment here and there. Let me know what you would like to hear about, what would be helpful to you.

Be well. Maybe you will take a holiday, vacation, long weekend, even an hour, off from the usual busyness. It will do us all a world of good.
With warmest thoughts and wishes,

Dr. Aletta

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