Last year, I came across a TED Talk by Shawn Anchor, the CEO of Good Think Inc., in which he talks about “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” According to Anchor, if you change the lens through which you view your world, you can change your happiness. Through this approach, he says you can rewire your brain to be more positive and enhance your happiness—in only 21 days. There are five tasks you must complete every day that will make a positive, permanent change. I couldn’t wait to try it for myself, so here’s what I discovered!
1. Three Gratitudes: I wrote down three things I was thankful for each day, giving me the chance to not only focus on all the people and opportunities I was grateful for in my life, but also the little things that are easily forgotten. For example, I’m grateful for the nice shade that a tree provided me as I sat in the park, or the satisfaction of indulging in a ripe piece of fruit for an afternoon snack.
2. Journaling: I have kept journals on and off for years, and I find that too often it becomes tedious. But instead of committing to pages upon pages each day, tell yourself that it’s okay to write just one sentence or even a word. There are some days when I write something as short as, “Had the best day catching up with old friends; a reminder of all the wonderful people in my life.” That would be enough.
3. Exercise: This doesn’t mean you have to live at the gym. An intense cardio workout every day isn’t necessary; you can choose to walk to work instead of taking the subway, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. Meditation: Finding a couple minutes to just breathe is easier said than done. I found that varying my practice worked the best. Some days I dedicate 10 minutes to breathing with intention, or some nights I listen to a guided meditation before bed. Whatever works for you!
5. Random Acts of kindness: This one was my favorite. By intentionally looking for opportunities to help people, I found that it doesn’t take that much to brighten up someone else’s day. Just send a quick text to a friend to say that you’re thinking about them, or pay for the next person in line for coffee! They don’t need to be grand gestures but not only do you get to make someone’s day a little better, you also get a warm and fuzzy feeling of your own too!
While I haven’t continued with all of these practices, the past 21 days have given me the tools to think more positively. I always try to remind myself to look for an opportunity to make someone’s day a little better and to remember how powerful meditation or journaling can be.
Photo via SoulSchoolOnline.com