Can you really make yourself happy? Unequivocably YES. Many people are faced with the same challenges everyday, yet some allow it to bring them down and others brush through it and move on. Why? My mother always said, “It’s all in the way you frame it.” Used to drive me crazy, but now I get it. You really have to tell yourself things are good–focus on the positive. See the silver lining, or don’t hyper focus on one silly thing. Seriously.
Positive Psychology Exercises
Martin Seligman, PhD., Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that this simple exercise increased people’s happiness levels, even when performed for just one week. People were able to spike their happiness levels just by doing the gratitude visit! Try this and see how your actions affect your thinking.
I love this one. When you focus on the positive, you begin to see more of the positive:
Before you go to bed, write down three good things that happened during the day. Then, write down why each of them happened. They don’t have to be monumental events. You just have to look for the good things. My kids used their manners today. I ran into an old friend. My Starbucks guy remembered my name and my order. My husband asked me how my day was. I saw a rainbow. I helped someone. Frame it right, my friends!
And if you are really in for a energy shifting treat, try this:
Think of someone who has done something important for you whom you have never properly thanked. In a letter, write down exactly what they did for you and the specific consequences that occurred in your life because of their actions. Take care to write specific details.
Polish the letter and make it shine! Concentrate on presentation. Handwrite it. Use your own personal creativity. Meet with the person face-to-face and read the gratitude letter to them.
This is a very powerful activity. Many times they may not even know the profound effect they had on you. Don’t forget to bring the Kleenex, it may get emotional. You will feel so good. AND, you made someone else’s blessing list!
Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. It’s good stuff! Learn more about his fascinating work at http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx