In light of the gloomy atmosphere that seems to permeate our culture (of late), I will be devoting the next eight Tuesdays to sharing stories and strategies that focus on positivity. If you have any good stories or strategies you would like to share, please feel free to email me or tweet me.
6 Strategies For Living Happier... for free!
- Every morning, write a list of 5 new things you are thankful for. Do it first thing in the morning (with you first cup of coffee?). Start with the basics - two legs, 10 fingers, a good friend/spouse, your internet connection is working, you don't have bad allergies, the feeling of freshly laundered towels etc. Keep this list running.
- Every night, write down 5 things you have accomplished that day. Save this list.
- Say thank you to a stranger at least once a day. Do it with a smile, they will smile back. And you will feel better for it.
- Do something for someone you care about without being asked. This can be doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, bringing home a single red balloon or bringing your office-mate a cup of coffee in the morning. Don't ask for credit or recognition. Do it for them, and you will be proud of yourself.
- Set up 15 minutes everyday for being. Don't write. Don't talk. Don't type. Don't read. Just reflect. We are human beings, not human doings.
- Smile. Right now. Just smile. If you don't feel like smiling, push the corners of your mouth up with your fingers for a minute and try again. It works. Smile. Fake it for now if you don't feel it. It works. (As a bonus, ask a friend to smile for you. They will love you for it)
Anytime you feel down, you feel bad, worried, stressed, overwhelmed, scared or alone, pick up your lists. Look at all you have to be thankful for. Look at everything you have accomplished. It just may change your day. It changed my life.
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This post was inspired by the wonderful Rabbi Noach Weinberg (may he rest in peace) who taught me the importance of formally recognizing the blessings we have in life, and Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman (my eighth grade teacher), a man who can only be described as an angel walking on earth. He taught me to live for humanity, to love someone as you love yourself and to give for the sake of giving.