Lately, strategies for happiness have been in the news, and I’ve adopted them to my benefit. Two prominent ideas have a common theme. The first is to stop complaining. Completely. No exceptions. You train yourself to do this by wearing a band on your wrist. Every time you complain, you have to move it to the other wrist. The goal is to go 21 days without complaining—or moving the band. I’ve never made it 21 days (because some whining is cathartic!), and I stopped wearing the band (it’s summer!). But I keep doing the mental checks. It’s very productive in controlling negative thought cycles.
A second secret to happiness, which has been promoted recently in articles by psychologists and counselors, is to be grateful everyday. They say the strategy is most effective when you write down, everyday, the things you are grateful for (more listmaking!). The theory is that feeling grateful is a clear path to happiness. And it works by keeping your thought processes in a positive mode.
Then if you throw in the concept from the popular self-help book, The Secret, the formula for happiness is this: Stop complaining, express gratitude every day, and ask the universe for what you want.
The universe has not yet given me everything I want, but I have everything I need and I’m happy in my effort to go out and get the rest for myself.
PS Here is my gratitude list for the day: great family (husband especially), good health, flexible lifestyle, readers who love my work. What are you grateful for? What keeps you happy (and sane)?