1. Don’t be Your Own Worst Enemy
2. Practice Gratitude
3. Savor Pleasant Experiences
4. Exercise Optimism
Taken from 4 Ways of Choosing Happiness – Time
Here are some of my own reflections on the above:
1. Don’t be your own worst enemy:
We all have a critical voice inside us that is rooted in a one word philosophy: “can’t”. It’s a critical voice that makes us pause when we are pursuing something we like, or make us doubt the things we know. Learning to listen to this voice, without letting it interfere is a skill that can take months to years to form. One way I’ve learned to deal with this voice is to recognize that anything that generates a reaction from that voice of critical self, is probably worth my time. The things that we are most scared of doing, often end up being the most rewarding. The next time you hear the inner voice of ‘cant’, realize that you’re onto something worthwhile…and then give it your all.
2. Practice Gratitude
It’s easy to look at the things we don’t have. But to take a pause from that and focus on the things that we do have is one of the most rewarding skills a person can have. People try to define their happiness by accumulating the things that they have, when happiness can come from the things they already have. Take a moment every day (I like to do it at the beginning and end of every day), to appreciate the things you have. Maybe it’s the fact that you had some free time to pursue a hobby. Maybe it’s the fact that you had a good day. Maybe it’s simply looking forward to the cool crisp sheets you’re about to sleep in. Whatever it is, find something to be extremely grateful for, and let it fill you up with happiness, appreciation, and gratitude.
3. Savour pleasant experiences
This one is very similar to practicing gratitude. Whereas gratitude may be backwards or forward reflecting, savouring pleasant experiences is something that has to be done in the moment. Stop right now. Take a minute to do absolutely nothing. Focus on the air around you, your breathing, the sounds, your body etc. What about this very moment is pleasant? Now, try this same exercise the next time something pleasant happens to you. Pause and really soak in the moment to appreciate it.
4. Exercise optimism
This one is perhaps the hardest of them all. Optimism is not something you just do. It is a philosophy and way of life that can take years to fully form. The next time something neutral or bad happens, try to see the glass half full. What about that experience can be beneficial to you? What about that experience has taught you something new? The expression “there is always a silver lining” is almost always true. The trick is looking to find that silver lining. Take every opportunity to find the silver lining, and you will be one step closer to an optimistic attitude.