With everything going on in the world right now, there is no better time to try and focus on the positive aspects of life. At our age, we have a certain amount of life perspective and realize that anxiety and depression (although certainly appropriate at this time) are not necessarily helpful to our mental and physical health. There’s a lovely little practice that’s easy to do, requires no outlay of money or additional resources, and can change your life in profound ways.
Dr. Martin Seligman is a world-renowned author and the founder of Positive Psychology. His work at the University of Pennsylvania provides an innovative approach to the practice of psychology as it focuses on all things positive. Seligman’s research has demonstrated that it is “possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances.”
You can join “Authentic Happiness,” a free service, and take a variety of scientifically tested questionnaires, surveys, and scales that measure your satisfaction with life and your “happiness quotient.” However, my favorite technique is so simple that there is nothing required other than a few moments of your time.
Seligman suggests taking a minute at the end of your day to reflect upon three things for which you are grateful. These could be events, people in your life, your own character traits and strengths, the weather, or what you had for dinner. The goal is just to acknowledge three aspects of your day that brought you pleasure.
As you do this, you will start to notice that more and more experiences in your day are positive. And, all of a sudden, these happy moments will increase dramatically because that is where you are placing your focus. You’ll begin to get far greater enjoyment out of your life and will start to appreciate those around you much more.
Even if you’re a “Doubting Thomas,” just give it a try. Happiness is a state of mind and this simple daily exercise will go a long way towards helping you find abundant joy and meaning in your life.