The Greater Good Science Center has collected many happiness practices.
- Acknowledge the good! Focus your attention of the goodness around you. Recall how they made you feel. Scientists prove that practicing for a week significantly made people feel less depressed and were able to maintain their happiness 6 months later.
- Add happiness through subtraction. After acknowledging the good repeatedly we will take it for granted! This why, sometimes, it’s a good idea to introduce a little deprivation. Imagine an alternate reality where a certain positive event could have turned out differently. Suddenly our life looks quite good.
- There is also the Give It Up practice. Spend a week abstaining from a pleasure in order to appreciate it more fully. This should be something that is relatively abundant in your life now. When you come back to ‘it’ focus on how it feels.
- Find meaning and purpose. Create and recall positive events from your life in the form of pictures or journaling and spend an hour once a week reflecting on them. This will remind you of what’s important in your life and give you strength to fight life’s stresses.
- Use your strengths. Consider what is your strength of character and put them into practice. Don’t obsess over flaws but more time and attention into your strengths and positive attitude. Each week select a ‘strength’ and make a plan to use it in a different way. At the end of a week reflect on the experience and how it made you feel and what you learned!
- Connect with others! 1-5 makes us turn inward and it’s easy to become more introverted. Practice a random act of kindness every day! It can be as simple as helping a friend or co-worker with a chore of buying a coffee for the car behind you at the drive thru. Vary your acts of kindness and act!
We all know it can’t be smiles all the time. Sometimes we can’t just ignore our crabby boss or nosy mother-in-law but these practices will give you a reservoir of practices where we can see, appreciate and mobilize the good in us!