Boost Your Mood: Find More Happiness
Flip Your "Script"
What makes you happy? A new pair of shoes? A profound understanding of your life's purpose? The first one? We thought so. Problem is, if you rely too heavily on momentary mood boosters, you could be robbing yourself of real, feel-it-in-your-soul satisfaction. "Truly content people understand what energizes them and what they believe in," explains Dan Baker, PhD, director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch spa and author of What Happy People Know.
Luckily, you don't have to take a mystical trek into the desert to arrive at this point. In fact, all it requires is a shift in your point of view. These simple yet powerful exercises will help you see your life in a whole new light.
The way you view daily events can profoundly affect your mood. Happy people don't live in bubbles of perfection: They get caught in the rain, they lose their keys, and their relationships falter just like everyone else. What sets them apart is the way they choose to characterize these situations. Was it a disaster or a mere inconvenience, a sign of a pervasive problem or a temporary setback? By changing the way you portray your circumstances to yourself and others, you change their emotional effect.
For this exercise, pretend that you're telling a story about a big work project. Think of this as the first draft. Next, craft a story from the other side of the fence -- don't change the facts, just your interpretation of them. Rather than say you're stressed out by tight deadlines, talk about how the fast pace keeps your mind limber. If office politics are causing you grief, instead of carping about gossipy colleagues, mention how working with so many interesting characters has enriched your knowledge of people.
Then ask yourself which version would be more fun to tell at a cocktail party, the one that's all "woe is me" or the one where you're pretty fortunate? Which would you rather hear? "It's human nature to automatically tell ourselves the bad version, but that doesn't mean you have to accept that as the official story of your life," Baker explains. To get started, jot down one negative thought, then rewrite it to give it a more positive spin.
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