Many of us are thinking back on what happened this year but why not shake up things a little bit? Let’s take any of the emotions which we don’t often talk about and look at the year through their lens:
- What amused you this year?
- What gave you hope?
- What triggered you to forgive?
- What made you feel at peace?
- When did you feel awe?
Where do you feel these emotions a lot?
What is your favourite part of your city that you don’t go to regularly? What about in other countries? One of my all time favourite places is Central Park. Seeing just a picture is enough to ignite all kinds of fuzzy goodness in my stomach. Can you make it a priority to go to your place of peace this week? Or at least refuel looking at some images and savouring the emotions and memories that go with it?
When people think about positive emotions our mind often jumps to happy clappy smiles. But there are various positive emotions, all which nourish us in different ways. There is interest, pride and serenity for example. Which positive emotion haven’t you experienced for a while? Any chance you could nudge it along?
Sometimes we have no idea how long it will take to see a change. It might be anything from days to years. If all we focus on is the outcome chances are we won’t stick with the new behaviours long enough to see results. We need to feel a sense of progress or at least movement of some kind. Pride actually helps us to feel good about doing the behaviour in itself, regardless of the results and motivates us, to keep going.
Rainy days really do make us appreciate nice weather and waiting for a week for our favourite show heightens the enjoyment instead of watching seven episodes in one evening. What aspects of your life might be seen as a nuisance but actually help you appreciate something more. Identify these things and be grateful.
Pride has a bad reputation. It’s often closely followed by guilt. Since at least biblical times we are warned of pride’s horrible implications. Yet feeling pride and being a narcissist are not the same thing. Pride has been found to motivate us to keep doing more and better work and even help others. So go ahead and allow yourself to feel good about you. It is likely to make you want to do more stuff to be proud about.
Let’s say your morning routine: what’s the goal of it? To be able to sleep as long as possible and leave home in as little time as possible? To connect with your family and set the day off right? Or to spend some alone time before taking on the world?
The thing is almost everything we do is optimized for something even if we don’t think about it. Usually it’s speed: people want to get from A to B in the shortest amount of time.
One way of building happiness into your daily life without thinking about it is to screen your habits and do small adjustments. What can you do to make the morning a good start for the day? Eat good quality breakfast? Practice being truly in the moment and enjoying the self care you are showing yourself while taking a shower? What happens if you take an extra 10 min on your commute but choose a route that will expose you to more natural beauty? Walk on the other side of the street so you can soak up some extra sun? Leave the house 5 min early so you don’t have to run everywhere?
On their own these things won’t make a huge difference in your life. But they add up.