Recently I was accused by a friend that I had “ruined their day”. I admit that I said some things that although factual were also unpleasant because I was hurt by some of his actions (I admit that I did not apply the “You Versus I” concepts that I wrote about in one of my earlier blogs). Although I put the person on the defensive, do I really have the power to “ruin their entire day”? Didn’t he have the power to turn his day around? Aren’t we accountable for how we spend our 1440 minutes each day or is it up to others to do that for us? When did we stop being accountable for our own actions?
I recognize that many of us feel a bit out of control with what is going on in our economy and the world. As I discussed in a recent blog, it is a skill to turn around a bad mood. I am taking it a step farther now to suggest an exercise that if done daily, can change your outlook on life.
Get an empty notebook, journal, or pad of paper and each night before you go to sleep, write down five things that you are grateful that happened that day. I admit you may struggle with it at first so I will help you with the first one.
I woke up and was able to get out of bed.
This may seem pretty basic but there are people out there who can’t do that. When I have not slept well, my arthritis acts up and getting out of bed is not that easy. However, once I put my feet on the ground, I feel better and am ready to start my day.
Bon Jovi has a signature song called “Have a Nice Day” which is a sarcastic song with lyrics that imply “don’t mess with me”. How many times have you said to a cashier, friend, etc. “have a nice day” just to say it and not put much meaning behind it? Next time try smiling wholeheartedly and then say “have a great or wonderful day”. While you are doing this, really focus on the other person’s reaction and then your own. Did that action make your day a little brighter? If so, write it down on your grateful list (now you have the second of five).
One thing that needs to be mentioned is that for any of this to work, you have to be present. In other words, dwelling on the past or fretting/worrying about the future doesn’t get you anywhere and more importantly, you lose those minutes/hours/days that could have brought you happiness. A synonym to “present” is “gift” and a “gift” to ourselves is to enjoy and embrace every minute of our lives. So when my friend says for the umpteenth time that he “had a bad day”, isn’t he really taking “gifts” away from himself? Does he not realize he is accountable for himself and that it is up to him solely to find the positives that surround him and are there for the taking?
My third gratitude has been the people in my life who read my blogs and offer suggestions for other topics for me to write about. Please contact me with other ideas and more importantly, please share your thoughts here so that others can benefit from your wisdom. What’s my #4 and #5 today? I am looking forward to finding out.
P.S. If you are still struggling with this, read the book 365 Ways to Live Happy – Simple Ways to Find Joy Every Day by Meera Lester.