Have you ever noticed how the past keeps appearing in the present? Often without even knowing we’re doing it, we’re ruminating and/or daydreaming about things gone past. If we’re ruminating, the past is probably making us miserable and if we’re daydreaming, the past is probably making us happier. We all want to be happier. So here’s two ways you can put the past to work for your happiness.
1. At the end of each day, just before you go to bed, think back over your day and remember three things that went right for you. Think about how they came about and how they evolved. Relish the memories of how you felt when those things were going right earlier in the day. And now, tell yourself, “It might have been otherwise. It’s so easy for things to go wrong. I was lucky today because three things went right. I feel graced and grateful”. You’ll be surprised how getting into a gratitude mind-space at the end of the day makes for a more pleasant sleep and a happier tomorrow.
2. This weekend set aside thirty minutes to reflect on your days and years gone past. Ask yourself was there ever someone who was unselfishly kind and supportive of me? The person could have been a distant relative, a co-worker, a friend of a friend, a teacher, a postal person, a clerk at the corner store, you’ll remember someone. Now take another thirty minutes and write that kind, supportive person a letter of gratitude. Be specific. Describe to them how they were kind and supportive to you and how it made you feel at the time. Clearly express your gratitude and thanks to them and let them know how they affected your life. Tell them how you’re different today because of their kindness and support. It feels great to let someone know that you noticed and cherish that they dared to care. Put the letter in a special envelop, pick up the phone and make an appointment with the person for a friendly chat. Don’t let them know exactly why you’re visiting them. Use the power of surprise to have an experience of gratitude together. When you’re together read your gratitude letter out loud to them, carefully observing their reactions. Now open up, go with the flow, have a good talk about kindness, support and gratitude. You’ll both leave feeling happier.
Giving gratitude is a transformative technique for building life satisfaction because it amplifies your good memories about the past. Giving gratitude is graciously gratifying. Gratitude is contagious, be a carrier. If you want to find out where you score on the gratitude scale and happiness index then visit the authentic happiness website and complete the surveys. And, if you want to chat about your authentic happiness, I’m here, Dan.
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