It seems as though most individuals have a “default setting” with regard to their level of day-to-day happiness. Without any specific situations propelling their moods upward or down ward, some people seem to be typically cheerful, some feel typically neutral, and some seem to feel typically a little low or “bummed out.” Regardless of what your personal default setting may be, you will probably benefit from giving your mood a little boost several times per day.
Take a moment for each of the following:
- Use the relaxation method we created in session to bring down your level of tension or enhance your feeling of relaxation.
- Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature (for example, the shape or color of clouds, the look of the bare branches of trees against the winter sky, the shapes of shrubs, the colors of flowers, et cetera).
- Take a moment to enjoy humor. You may keep copies of your favorite cartoon book nearby, and to read a few until one gives you a laugh. Or, you can think of humorous situations you have witnessed or in which you have participated.
- Take a moment to enjoy music. Sometimes you will enjoy music that is sprightly or driving. Sometimes you will enjoy music that is more flowing or melodic. Regardless of what type of music is available, do more than just recognize the music as something you like. Rather, really allow yourself to feel the effect of the music.
- A moment of bliss (use one of your favorite Principles for Happiness).
- Perform a random act of kindness. For example, hold a door for someone, pause to allow another driver to get into the line of traffic, et cetera.If you can train yourself to review this short list of boosts for happiness, and to consciously and purposefully perform them, you will find yourself feeling better and happier. This will give you a sense of control over your own mental state and your life experience.
Michael R. Slavit, Psychologist, Ph.D., ABPP, is Board Certified in Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. This column is not intended to be a substitute for help from a qualified professional.