While doing my home opportunities* from the Happiness 101 class, I have stumbled on some interesting things to be happy about – things that did NOT happen. Many people will point out one bad thing that happened during the day and announce how it ruined their “whole day”. But what about when these things do NOT happen? Think about things in the past that have ruined your day. Now, that you have a short(?) list of such occurances, can you be grateful that those things did NOT happen today? For instance, in the past I have slipped and fallen on the ice, resulting in sore spots that lasted for days. Last night I shoveled the entire driveway and walkway and I did not fall once – so I felt happy about that. Stopping to appreciate the absence of such mishaps, makes me feel just as good as expressing appreciation for good things that do happen.
In Happiness 101*, we do Home Opportunities (not home “work” – because that sounds…. like WORK). This Home Opportunity takes 2-3 minutes out of your busy day. It is simply to write down five positives during your day. It need not be big or an accomplishment per se. It could be something as simple as “The sun came out today” – (can you imagine what a bad day we would be having if the sun did NOT come out?) Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology did a study that demonstrated a 94% improvement rate with clients who were severely depressed – just by doing this one thing! It seems to work best either when starting or ending your day. Give it a try. Maybe you could even make it your New Year’s resolution. HAPPY New Year!