50 Daily Practices to Cultivate Happiness + Healing

from the embedded messages in Leah Rosenberg's mural Getting Better Everyday a Color (2021)

February 2022


Click here to choose your own soundtrack

Rosenberg solicited song suggestions and created a playlist to coincide with Day 7’s message, “If you are stuck…turn on the music and dance.” Listen to a selection of the tracks below.

Click here to focus on each message for one minute (or longer)

The time-lapse camera didn’t capture every message, but you can catch a glimpse at the process of all fifty by swiping through below.

1. Breathe. Remember you can always return to your breath.
2. Focus on this color for one minute (or longer).
3. Find a comfortable space. Trust it for a while.
4. When you don’t know what to do…draw a circle.
5. Revisit your favorite thing/things to do when you were 8 years old.
6. Paint your room the color of the ocean.
7. If you are stuck, turn on the music and dance.
8. Take three chances to make the best bubble ever.
9. Close your eyes and smile for at least one minute every day.
10. Go pick some wild blackberries before they are gone.
11. Choose a bright color for your front door.
12. Give yourself permission to start fresh.
13. Lean up against a long wall and let it support you.
14. Lean up against a tall tree and let it support you.
15. Lean up against someone you love and support each other.
16. Take a line for a walk.
17. Cultivate a simple daily practice.
18. Make someone a cup of tea without them having to ask.
19. Don’t worry about cool. Make your own uncool.
20. Swim in an open body of water.
21. Be quiet and listen for the beat of your own heart.
22. Watch something grow.
23. Drink a glass of water for 15 minutes and do nothing else.
24. Pay attention to the experiences that move you.
25. Gather flowers to make bouquets, one for you, one for a neighbor.
26. Smile at three people (at least) during the day.
27. Pack yourself a picnic. Make it fancy.
28. Describe a beautiful place or moment to someone who is no longer here.
29. Surprise someone with a handmade gift.
30. Stay calm. Something will reveal itself.
31. Let feeling(s) be your guide.
32. Find time every day to sit on the floor.
33. Keep a list of films that make you laugh. Revisit as needed.
34. Wake up early to watch the sun come up.
35. Walk barefoot in the grass for a short time each day.
36. Accept that you know what you are doing even if you don’t and do it.
37. Handwrite a letter to someone far away who you think about often.
38. Join a club or start one of your own.
39. Make a big pot of soup. Share it with friends on the stoop.
40. Raise your arms as high as you can. Pretend you are a Redwood Tree.
41. Imagine the faces of all the people you love smiling at you. One by one.
42. Find a place to leave your worries. Go there daily and let them go.
43. Start a one-sentence daily journal; write what you really think.
44. Take your vitamins. Take your time. Take a nap.
45. When at the market, select your produce with color in mind.
46. Don’t look at social media for one day, then two days, then a week.
47. Commit yourself to being kind to yourself and others.
48. Stop what you are doing and go paint!
49. Memorize the words of a song, then go sing it in front of an audience.
50. Allow yourself the satisfaction of finishing what you started.
50. Allow yourself the satisfaction of finishing what you started.
50. Allow yourself the satisfaction of finishing what you started.


On August 3, 2021, Leah Rosenberg began her mural by painting the message “Breathe. Remember You Can Always Return To Your Breath” in the color orange. She then rolled the bold pigment across the entire wall, cloaking the words under a layer of color. It was day one, and the first in fifty that accumulated in the creation of her mural Getting Better Everyday a Color, commissioned for Bay Area Walls.

By the time Rosenberg applied the fiftieth and final layer on November 18, 2022, the mural had taken on an entire palette inspired by San Francisco’s Sunset District. The wall’s primary color was, at one point, saffron to match one of the neighborhood sunsets; lavender from a morning fog; light pink to match a Converse sneaker, and many more shades she saw while taking long walks in the Outer Sunset. The artist is a “collector” of colors and believes in the healing potential of seeing and processing them. “Bringing colors from the outside in encourages viewers to pay attention to colors in their everyday—to be present,” Rosenberg writes of her process.

The mural’s colors—which Rosenberg first used during an artist residency at Irving Street Projects—helped her process profound grief after the tragic passing of Bay Area artist Susan O’Malley. Each self-care message Rosenberg embedded in her mural’s painted layers is adapted from O’Malley’s compilation of healing exercises, titled Getting Better Every Day.

With her mural in Schwab Hall, Rosenberg offers up the vibrant colors and messages that helped her heal. This video recording shares just a glimpse at the ritual process of painting them.

Getting Better Everyday a Color was commissioned as part of Bay Area Walls, a series initiated in 2020.

Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the SFMOMA Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.

Generous support is provided by the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.

Additional support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Oya and Bulent Eczacibasi, and Linda and Jon Gruber in memory of Gretchen Berggruen.

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