Sunday, February 27, 2011

Decide To Be Happy

Some days I think we just have to decide to be happy. I somehow view happy and less happy days as something that just happens to me, rather than something I control. I blame it on whatever is happening that day like a lousy meeting or an anticipated confrontation on an issue. Or on the fact that I did not eat right or exercise that day or the one prior. Or that I had one too many cocktails the day prior. Or that it is part of my physiological cycles. I see myself as dealing with it when it happens and not controlling it's existence.

But over the last few weeks I have tried a few well publicized but rather trite techniques for being happy. And they resulted, more often than not, in a complete change in the quality of my day, no matter what was happening to me or around me in my environment. I experienced what I call intentional happiness. What a cool concept. It implies the reverse is also true. That I create my less happy days as well. I am responsible for the quality of my days. I like that. On one hand that is positive actionable knowledge, and on the other hand it makes me immensely accountable for each days moods.

Even as I refer to the term 'moods' I realize that i have typically disowned my moods, whether they were positive or negative. This new knowledge implies that those moods do not just happen but that I have control over them....

So here is a list of the things that I have practised to increase my daily dose of happy:

1. When you wake up in the morning remind yourself that you are trying this new tactic for creating a happy day. Do this before you have started the tape in your brain that lists all the less desirable things you have to do that day. The one that moans about getting up in the first place, that curses the job that forces you to get up. You know that tape. Yours may say different things but we all have one.

2. Replace the terrible tape with a list of things that are right with your world. The kids are all okay. You have a job or if you don't then you can be grateful for a day to yourself. You are warm and there is food in the kitchen and maybe a really good cup of coffee. We are not looking for the big things here. A long list of small things is more powerful than a short list of good things. Sometimes before I open my eyes I think of all the good things in my life and then I get up and start my day.

3. While you think through this list and work to make it longer, smile. Tough one some days. But it is really hard to feel physically bad when you smile. Trust me and try it. I read somewhere that Steve Martin starts his day by laughing in the mirror for one full minute. Works for him!

4. Feel peaceful and grounded and let that feeling take over your physical self. Sometimes, in order to feel grounded, it helps to feel the physical feeling of having roots which connect into the ground, like a tree does. It is easier to do after you have done the first three steps. Just trust me and try it. Someone else told me about it and for a while it meant nothing and then it just took hold. And I got it.

5. Now go out and take on your day. Have your coffee and stay with the good thoughts and ping the bad ones. Gaze peacefully at those who may harsh your mellow (love that term) and move on with your day without engaging.

I like that I can decide to be happy and then I am. A little magic in my day.

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