by Wendy Keller, friend, mother, sister, daughter
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to feel better when your life goes to hell. I have read many books and attended a lot of seminars that talk about what it takes to be happy. Like most of you dear readers, I’ve had to get through some really tough stuff in my life, so I’m always looking for the best ways to cope and even thrive. (And I try to share what I learn here!)
We’ve all heard about The Power of Positive Thinking. Heck, if people just stop thinking about the fact that they have no money, are going through a nasty divorce, or that their kid is in trouble, maybe everything will turn out fine. Nuh uh. According to many research studies, that’s not really how it works.
Why? Because when something bad is happening, it’s really hard to NOT think about it. In fact, trying to insist your brain avoid it is pretty much a guarantee that it’s going to think about it even MORE often. (Drat!)
So what’s a nice person like you supposed to do?
How can YOU be a little happier this week than you were last, no matter what kind of life drama you’re facing?
Crazy though this sounds, the secret to YOUR happiness comes down to JUST FIVE THINGS.
Yep. Just five.
Here’s what all the studies have proven really DOES work: Every single morning (or evening) pull out a notebook and write down FIVE things that honestly made you happy that day – or for which you are truly grateful. And write down how you feel about them.
Not rocket science, right?
Five things. And how you feel about them.
Do it for a week, and you’ll see an actual shift in your level of hourly happiness, despite the bad stuff that’s going on. Pretty freakin’ easy, huh? It works even if you’re really going through a terrible patch in your life. It works even if you’re “just” going through some minor irritations. It works even if you have a mood disorder. It works even if you aren’t convinced it will but you try it anyway because you’ve got nothing to lose.
Try it, come back and comment on how well it worked for you. Or write your 5 things for today in the comments section below.
To get the party started, here are my 5 things for today, Sunday Feb 24.
1. The sunlight reflecting off the water and projecting onto my bedroom wall when I awoke this morning.
2. My precious daughter showing signs of maturity and increasing graciousness (at almost 21 years old).
3. The fresh, beautiful head of red leaf lettuce with which we made a salad for dinner tonight.
4. The mounds of rosy pink blossoms I saw heaped under a gorgeous flower tree today.
5. The fact that I live in a safe, free country.
I’m going to expound on how I feel about each of these lovely things when I re-write this list in my journal before bed tonight.