31 Days of Happiness Countdown: a NASA GIF to melt your stress away. (Day 19)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 19 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

You've heard of the circle of life. (And now you're singing it. It's the ciiiiiiiircle of liiiiiife! You're welcome.)


But have you ever wondered what the circle of life actually looks like? Like ... from outer space?

Over the past two decades, scientists at NASA have been gathering satellite images of the Earth. They then took those images and compiled them into one giant, epic time-lapse.

It may not sound like much, but there's just something about watching it ebb and flow back and forth that evokes a deep sense of calm and contentedness. Breath in and out in time with it. It's the kind of immense relaxation that can help improve your sleep quality, lower your anger levels, and boost your confidence. I'm not saying this footage will turn your life around, but well, I'm not not saying it either.

In this short GIF of the NASA footage, compressed and sped up, you can watch the Earth "breathing." Check it out:

Innnnnnnn, and ouuuuuut. GIF via NASA.

Ice and frost drift toward the equator from the north and south poles, then gradually recede. Lush vegetation blooms in the spring months, then retreats again. Oceans move to and fro in stunning tidal patterns. Over and over and over again.

Watch it long enough and you start to feel extremely small and unimportant — in the best possible way. In a way that makes you feel free and like possibilities are endless. It's calming and reassuring ... in a cosmic sort of way.

(It sure beats checking Twitter for the hundredth time today.)

Check out the entire compilation from NASA, which includes higher quality footage and even more extraordinary views.

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17 / DAY 18 / [DAY 19] / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31
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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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