Here are some ‘Happiness Enhancing’ techniques for you to try. As with all the tools you find on this site, some will work better for you than others, so just be open to experiment. Keep the ones that work for you and let the rest go.
Natural Happiness Exercise:
If you’d like to find out some of what intrinsically makes you happy, complete the following sentences.
1) When I was little, I used to love to _______________.
2) One of the tastes I love best is __________________.
3) Doing ____________always makes me grin.
4) If I weren’t worried about money, I’d do more ____________________.
5) What really delights me is _________________.
6) I love to hear the sound of __________________.
7) I am happiest when I’m _________________.
8) If I didn’t care what other people thought, I’d ____________________.
9) I laugh a lot when I ____________________.
10) What makes my heart sing (even a little) is ____________________
‘Snap Out Of It’ Exercise:
This tool can be surprisingly effective for retraining yourself. It’s simple too. Put a elastic band around your wrist and whenever you find yourself complaining or thinking negatively, snap the band.
The Memory-graph Exercise:
When you are experiencing something pleasant, take a “memory-graph” or “energy photograph” of how the event feels in your body. For example, this morning when I was in the shower, I snapped ‘memory-graphs’ of the sound of the water pounding hitting my shower cap, the feel of the warm water sluicing down my back and arms, the dribble of it as it moved along my hands and fingers.
Give this a try. When you think you have the experience sharply in the lens of your awareness, ‘snap’ the picture by taking in a long deep breath and pulling it all into your body. I imagine I have a ‘save’ button in my heart and pretend I can press that.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to ‘get’ the sensations into your memory right away–it gets easier with practice.
The Happiness Question:
If you want your life to be different, you have to THINK differently. This can be a challenge because, as recent studies have shown, the brain is neurologically programmed to notice what isn’t working. In terms of our evolution, this has been a good thing. When you’re in a jungle, you have to look for what’s wrong in order to survive.
Now that we don’t have to keep an eye out for tigers and charging lions, we can step forward into a new way of thinking. This way involves scanning your environment not for what’s wrong, but for what’s right.
If you want to start “inclining the mind” as the Buddhists say, towards what is positive, here is a great tool. Ask yourself this question:
“How might this situation be a good thing?”
As psychologist Martin Seligman, the godfather of the positive psychology moment, has shown, we can learn to be optimists. Optimists consistently talk about what they are rather than what they are not, or what they have instead of what they don’t have. Pessimists talk about why things are not the way they should be and what they don’t have. This question will get you searching for the positive. It will start training your mind to work the world differently than how it’s been programmed to do.