Romantic setback, sigh. Stop obsessing, ugh. Stay busy, blah. It’s time to dust off my happiness journal. Did I just hear you barf? Curmudgeon! All I have to do to feel the happy moments in my life more than the unhappy ones is to focus on what’s happening now. I refocus with 5 daily techniques and record my efforts in a notebook. The techniques come from an old TED Talk by Shawn Achor called The Happy Secret to Better Work.
- Perform a random act of kindness
- Record 3 things I’m grateful for that day
- Record 1 great thing that happened that day
The day has just begun, but I can already fill in some of the information.
- Exercise: 45 minutes
- Perform a random act of kindness: I brought the leftover birthday cupcakes into the office
- Record 3 things I’m grateful for that day: 1. While watching Friday Night Lights on the elliptical, Coach Taylor reminded me that character is in the trying 2. Cupcake compliments
- Record 1 great thing that happened that day:
I don’t want to look back one day and think, “Those were the happy times.” I want to notice feeling happy today. It doesn’t take life-changing events to feel happy. Just add up all the little moments and give them the weight they deserve. Write it down everyday and soon you’ll change your thinking patterns.
My mom and I did this for months together last year. Some days we shared. We each felt challenged by one technique. My mom has trouble meditating. A year ago she would have been first to blow chunks at the M word and now she has the Headspace app on her iPad.
I struggled with random acts of kindness. I didn’t feel very kind. I got anxious that I wasn’t doing enough or repeating acts too often. Struggling in this way against my impossibly high self-standards has led to me learning to be kinder to myself.
I recommend trying this and so does Hoda Kotb.