My year old granddaughter taught me an important lesson this summer. Every time something happened that made her happy, she squealed and clapped with delight. Many things made her happy, so she did this several times that day. After the third or fourth time, I started doing this with her. I felt pure joy. What a great day I had! “If only”, I said to myself, “I could have more days like this.” Then I realized I could. After all, I was an adult. I could choose to be happier. I decided to stop focusing on what was going wrong, what I was unhappy about and what I didn’t have. I began to add more joy and happiness to my life every day. Here’s how I did it and how you can do it, too:
1. Make a list of what you are grateful for in your life.
Keep it on your bedside table to read each morning when you get up and every night before going to bed. Make a copy for your commute and another one to keep at your desk or work station. Every time you find yourself thinking negatively, read your list. Commit to doing this for one month.
Example: I am so grateful that my family and I are healthy and happy.
2. Replace every negative thought or statement with a positive one.
This is harder if you don’t say every thought out loud. Learn to be aware of what you are telling yourself. If you are feeling badly, write down your thoughts just before you started feeling that way. Chances are, your previous thought was a negative one.
Example: Negative: “It is terrible that I have to work late today.” Positive: “At least, I’m working with some good people or I’m so looking forward to being off tomorrow.”
3. Focus on the good things that happen each day, not the bad things.
What we choose to focus on is our choice.
Example: Your cup of coffee was cold this morning, but your sandwich at lunch was delicious. Focus on the sandwich.
By consistently focusing on the positive, your thinking and perspective will change. Sounds simplistic? It is much harder than it seems. Like any other habit it will take time, but your efforts will be so worth it! Doing so will improve your outlook and your life. If my one year old granddaughter can do it so can we. I challenge you to choose to find joy and happiness every day.