How to be happier? That’s a pretty big and potentially complicated question. But fortunately there are some simple little tricks we can employ for grand results. This post is about one such trick I discovered recently.
The other morning, I found myself in a really grumpy mood. I was going over my mental to-do list for the day and found myself wallowing in one specific complaint: too many things I want to do, not enough time.
And that morning was not an anomaly. It seemed that Too Many Things I Want To Do, Not Enough Time was quickly becoming the theme song of my life.
Except that particular morning I did one thing differently: I hit pause.
I decided to change the record.
I reminded myself that I used to be so depressed that I wanted to do nothing. Absolutely nothing was appealing to me. So not having enough time to do all the things I wanted to do was actually a problem to celebrate.
I also reminded myself that many of the things that I did have time to do would be pretty enjoyable. I had several things to look forward to that day:
- Eating breakfast (my favorite meal of the day)
- Reading out loud to the twins
- Listening to my latest Audible audiobook, while doing my cleaning chores for the day
- Eating lunch, while browsing blog posts on Pinterest
- Working on a new blog post, while the twins were at pre-school
- Reading a book at the dance studio, while my girls were attending their class
Suddenly I felt a lot better about the day ahead. 🙂
Doing this one simple thing – deliberately listing the things I was looking forward to that day – not only totally shifted my mindset that particular day, but then it also made me think of some additional ways this little listing exercise could be used. Details below. 🙂
How To Be Happier: Three Ways To Benefit From A Simple Happiness Hack
1. Remind Yourself To Enjoy What Is Already There To Enjoy
Just like it did for me the other day, listing the things you are looking forward to every morning can steer your brain into a more positive direction.
For people like me who live for growth and change, it’s sometimes good to stop for a moment and appreciate what is already there. Smell the roses that are already there before proceeding to plant the tulips. 😉
I also realized that listing enjoyable moments in the morning as opposed to at night – after the fact – has some benefits. There’s that anticipation factor. Kinda like when you plan a trip, the planning can be as much fun as the trip itself. It’s also a way of reminding yourself to appreciate things in the moment. Rather than at night going, oh, I should have remembered to appreciate that more.
2. Get Clues About The Best Life Path For You
If you are looking for more big picture direction for your life, this exercise might give you some extra clarity.
Have another look at my list above. Do you notice a theme? Hmmm… Most of the items I look forward to involve reading or writing. So if I want to enjoy my career, something that allows me to do lots of reading and/or writing seems like a good bet. Unless someone is hiring a professional eater, in which case please let me know!
You might notice similar patters emerging if you do this listing exercise for a few days.
3. Alert Yourself That Something Needs To Change
I realize that some of you might have nada, nothing, zilch to look forward to in a typical day. Other than maybe falling on the couch at the end of a long day to watch some reality TV. I realize that this is a possibility because I’ve been there.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to just think positive and try to find something to look forward to where there isn’t anything.
If you have nothing or next to nothing to look forward to, that’s a problem. A BIG problem.
But it’s not an insurmountable problem. It’s simply a sign that something needs to change.
So instead of telling you to just think positive, I will suggest you ask yourself these questions:
- What would you look forward to? What might you look forward to?
- What would need to happen in order to add more of those moments to your day?
- What’s the first little baby step you can take to make a change?
In conclusion, the simple trick is to start deliberately listing the moments you look forward to every day. And if you are not able to list very many such moments, work on finding some and adding them to your routine.
What do you think? Are you going to try it? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂