365 days of Happiness
I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on happiness subject :) This is a journey of continuous improvement, learning and refinement. That’s why I had an idea for Happiness journal/ workbook that is also going to complement my 365 days of Achievements journal. Because as Albert Schweitzer said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” :)
I’ll add some excerpts in this post from the book I’m currently reading: “The slight edge: Turning simple disciplines to Massive Success and Happiness.” by Jeff Olson. He did a huge research job on the subject and I absolutely love his philosophy.
For most of the last hundred-plus years, the modern study of psychology has focused mainly on what goes wrong with people: emotional disturbances, psychological illness, trauma, neurosis, psychosis, mania, obsession… call it what you will, it’s mainly been about examining humanity’s darker side. There has been startlingly little attention paid to what habits, practices, or influences build up our nobler instincts and better nature. Until the turn of the twenty-first century. In the nineties a Philadelphia psychologist named Martin Seligman had a thought: What if happiness is more than simply the absence of sadness? What if we could have a kind of psychology that focused on the positive, instead of the negative?
…And what the positive psychologists have found is that happiness isn’t some big thing you pursue, not something you chase after. It’s not something “out there” that you have to go way out of your way to hunt down. It’s right in front of our noses.
It’s not something you pursue, it’s something you do. Or to be more accurate, it’s a lot of somethings you do. A lot of little somethings. Simple things you do every day, in fact.
One of the most radical and remarkable things about the happiness research is the discovery that doing things that make you happy doesn’t just make you happier. It also makes your life work better.
The more you raise your own happiness level, the more likely you’ll start achieving all those things you want to achieve.
So I went digging further into the subject and made a list of small things/ actions that can help person to be happier. You can reprogram your brain through some simple exercises that are simple and easy to do. But, to start seeing positive changes, you need to do those exercises EVERY DAY for at least 66 days, better yet for 365 days. :)
To start off, make a list of things that makes you happy. This is the first spread I included in the journal and it’s easily accessible through hyperlinks. Review your list regularly to remind yourself that you have so so many things that can make you happy and to actually do them more often.
Morning pages journal
What is morning pages?
This is a journal where you write everything that comes to your mind, preferably done first thing in the morning. It’s one of these things that sound so simple that you don’t think they could ever work for you. I also believed it, until I’ve tried do morning pages myself. And I can honestly say, that they work.
Some of the benefits of morning pages:
- They center you and clear your mind so you could focus on other things
- They help you to discover your creativity
- They help to silence your biggest enemy - your inner critic
- They make you less anxious. Envy, anger, fear, procrastination… all these emotions when put on paper can be seen for what they are. You realize it’s not so bad.
- They help to become a better idea generator.
There is no wrong way of doing morning pages. The main idea is to wake up and write 2-3 letter-sized, handwritten pages each morning. You can write them while sipping your morning coffee, and it’ll become one of these “self care” morning rituals that help you to start your day positively.
I included a quick link to morning pages journal from daily page for fast navigation.
Your fears page
At first glance Fear journal might look like negative thing, but it’s really not. It allows you to see your fears on paper (in our case on screen), which will help you to cope with stress and anxiety that comes from it.
The first step is to identify your fear. Answer the question: “What are you afraid of?” Once you’ve identified the origin, or the root of the fear, you can work toward letting it go.
Now classify your fear. Most of the times it’s not as bad as we think it is and chances of our fear to actually happen is close to 0%.
The great exercise to overcome our fear is to have a backup plan for the worst case scenario. Ask yourself: “What if it actually happens, what can I do to prevent it or for it to have less impact”? When you’ll have a plan on how to deal with your fear, it’s not going to be so scary anymore.
Now write down positive outcomes or benefits if you face your fear. Don’t be afraid to tackle your fear with courage. I know you can do it! You can do anything you set your mind to and who knows, maybe your fear will turn out to be actually fun. :)
Now, keeping a dream journal is so much fun and it has its benefits. By writing down your dream, you’ll be able to remember them much better. And over time they will start to get more vivid - they will look “alive” with more colors and details.
Some other benefits of dream journal:
- Improving overall memory (it’s a great exercise for your brain)
- Stop nightmares
- Increasing awareness
- Exploring your subconscious (dream journaling can give insight into our mind during sleep) and it allows you to interpret your dreams, which can be super interesting too.
- Improves your creativity (it can potentially increase your imagination, as well as generate new ideas)
The best time to write in your dream journal is right after you wake up, since it’ll fade very quickly after you get out of bed. So keep your Ipad on Flight mode next to your bed.
Write in present tense, because it’ll help you to remember even more details.
Classify the genre of your dream, what was the main emotion?
Write down your interpretation, it’s fun :)
At the beginning of each of 7 days, there is a weekly page. It designed specifically to help you determine your week’s focus and make it more enjoyable. Write down things you’d like to try upcoming week, what you want to focus on? How you’ll achieve it? That’s your brainstorm session. :)
You can access all of 52 weekly pages from Contents page.
Daily page consists of two parts. First page you fill out at the morning and second part at the evening.
Start your day with describing how you feel. You can draw an emoji or describe in 2-3 words. Then, to steer your day in positive direction, write down Why today will be a great day, what’s important to you and what is something that always makes you smile? These are simple 3 questions to answer that will have a huge positive impact on your day.
To focus on positive vibes even more, write down 2-3 affirmations for today.
What is affirmations? It’s a phrases or mantras that you repeat to yourself, which describe a specific outcome or who you want to be. They are simple messages repeated over and over, so they slowly changing your thinking which leads to changing your reality.
Tips for writing affirmations:
- Use “I” and “My”, it’s all about you.
- Stay positive. Don’t focus on the things you want to avoid or get rid off. Instead, focus on the positive side of behaviors.
- Avoid “want” and “need”. Good alternatives are: “I choose”, “i embrace”, “I have”.
- Keep it in the present tense
- Believe yourself
From daily page you can easily access Morning pages journal to write down anything that’s on your mind and what troubles or excites you.
At the evening, review your day and write down 3 things you are grateful for. The great thing is that it’s an easy habit to form and after a while you are left with a great collection of inspiring material to look back on when you are in need of a pick-me-up.
By writing down what you are thankful for it can make you more optimistic because you are choosing to see more of the positivity in your life and give less power to negative emotions. It also means that you are acknowledging the goodness in your life which leads to feeling more positive emotions, relish good experiences and building strong relationships. Perfect recipe for much happier life :)
Also, to feel better about yourself at the end of the day answer these questions: What did you learn today? What made you proud, excited, what inspired you?
If you have trouble sleeping because of all these endless thoughts and to do lists in your head, try evening journaling. The quick link to it is also available from daily page.
Benefits of evening journaling:
- It gives you an opportunity to debrief your day
- It relaxes you and clears your mind
- It helps to transition from hectic day into sleep
I also included different quotes about happiness, life and kindness for each of 365 daily pages for some inspiration. :)
See journal in action, check out video overview below:
Talk to you soon,