I completed my 21-Day Happiness Projects last week and found the process of self-inquiry to be revealing and supportive. My biggest take-away was that by understanding my tendencies and being able to identify them, I had a choice in how I responded to situations in my life. I’m not always successful in noting my tendencies before I fall into a habitual reaction instead of a thoughtful response, but I do feel more successful and empowered overall.
One seed that has taken root for me over the past month is understanding that happiness doesn’t mean that I will feel happy all the time. I will, and do, experience moments of stress that manifest as emotions I am not comfortable with, and that’s OK. In the Science of Happiness course that I am taking online through EdX, I am exploring tools to manage my discomfort.
One class assignment has made a difference for me. It is to journal, in detail, about three good things that happened during the day. The first day of this assignment was very challenging for me because I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by a series of missteps and miscommunication. My heart was feeling very contracted. The last thing I wanted to do was this assignment!
I forged ahead anyway. What I realized was that in the midst of difficult interactions and my day not going according to plan, I was still able to find three good things that had happened. Making note of those three good things allowed me to let go of my contracted feelings!
Here’s why you might want to try the “Three Good Things” assignment. It’s easy for us to get caught up in things that go wrong and feel like we are living under a cloud. At the same time, we also tend to adapt easily to the good people and things in our lives. We end up taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook the everyday beauty and goodness that is right in front of us.
Even though I am grateful for the abundance of goodness in my life, I do find myself under a cloud from time to time. Making an effort to remember and express my gratitude allows my heart to feel more expansive, and the end result is that I feel happier!
If you try the “Three Good Things” assignment, let me now how it goes for you.
I’ve included a link to a lovely meditation on gratitude by N. Lampert that I found on Jack Kornfield’s web site. May it expand your heart! http://www.jackkornfield.com/meditation-gratitude-joy/
Until next time …
May you be joyful.
May your happiness increase.
May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.