By David Joel Miller.
Is today a good day?
Would you recognize a great day if you had one? We humans frequently have a mental bias that results in us seeing the bad and missing the good. If all you look for are the things that went wrong today, over time you will come to think that all days are bad ones and that your life is destined to become unhappy.
If you start looking for the positive experiences in life you will find that every day there are random positive events going on in your life largely unnoticed. Try doing some investigative work and finding these positive events for a more positive life. Here is my list of things you may have missed that could point to your having more good days than you are recognizing.
1. Someone was glad to see you today.
Did your child, partner or pet greet you this morning? Did they say something to you when you got home? When we are rushing from place to place and person to person we can miss those in our day who were glad to see us.
Did you get a smile or a good morning from a coworker? Did you return that greeting? Work can be stressful at times but watch for those who are positive and glad to see you. Recognizing this greeting can set the tone for the rest of your day.
What about pets? Was there a dog that waged his tale for you today? Did you stop to pet that creature? Did you get a cat purr? Purring for cats is the equivalent of an audible smile. Make sure you acknowledge that pet of yours. They are wishing you a great day if only you could stop to notice.
2. You like the work you do.
Earning a living can be stressful and make you anxious sometimes. If you have a job you like make sure you notice this and be thankful for it. If you love what you do it can bring joy and happiness to your life. Don’t like what you do? Think about how you can change jobs, start a new career or look for ways to change your attitude towards the job you do have.
3. You look forward to getting home.
Are there things at home you like to do? People you enjoy being with? Why or why not? You work for a living, coming home should not be a chore. If it is take another look at what you are doing and why. There is no point in putting off being happy to earn a living so you can go home and be unhappy.
Work on your relationships. Get professional help if need be. Look at some blog posts. There have been several on counselorssoapbox on improving your relationships. Do you put the same effort into making your relationships work that you put into building a career? Unhappiness at home carries over into the world of work.
4. You learned something new today.
If you enjoy learning then every day is a chance to learn something new. Those new ideas can go unnoticed in the pile of things we call our “to do” lists. Make it a rule to learn something new each day. Ask your partner or children what they learned today. Share what you learned. See how you can grow and become a better person each and every day.
5. If you solved a problem it was a good day.
Problems crop up all the time. You spend most of your day moving from issue to issue. The end result of all this problem solving is to develop a “problem saturated” story of your life. Before long you can think that you whole life is one problem after another.
Did you forget all the problems you have solved? Most of us overcome a host of problems each and every day. What we may fail to do is to think back over the day and recognize those successes. Give yourself credit for things that you accomplished. Give yourself a mental round of applause. See you may be a fantastic problems solver, but if all you are remembering is that you faced problems today rather than remembering the ones you solved, life can look like one giant problem.
6. You were of service to someone else.
It is easy to drift into the habit of measuring the day based on what we have and what we receive rather than on the time we were able to be of service. Research has found that doing for others can result in significantly more happiness than being selfish and doing only for yourself.
Have you ever done anything in your life for a child or someone who really needed help? How did that make you feel? Did that child “get over on you” or did it feel good to help someone who needed your help?
If feeling good is so happy-making, why do we all resist being of service to others? Try looking for ways you can do for others and that doing will result in a happier you. Why not be really selfish and do all you can to be of service to others today?
Now that you look at it, was today a better day than you originally thought? What other ways might daily happiness be going unnoticed and unrecorded?
For more on this topic see the other counselors soapbox post under Happiness.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books