The past few months have been a struggle - shifting routines; big, new changes; lack of sleep; daily challenges... essentially a rocky, few months. I grieved the loss of my eternal optimism and happy-go-lucky spirit.
By practicing and writing down our positive experiences instead, we are shaping our habits and brains to scan our environments for the good. Tuning into these experiences more regularly, not only makes it easier to find the positive experiences, but it actually makes us feel better - happier! Again, I wasn't so sure about this fairly basic and simple strategy, but after 7 days I felt the doom cloud lifting. The positive and happier moments surfaced more readily and felt just a little more vibrant.
Now this doesn't mean the rain clouds vanished completely. Even while I completed this challenge, I faced bad news and the same stressors that ate at me the past couple of months. But each day as I experienced something that lifted me, made me smile, or gave me a little nugget of joy, I noted it. And then at the end of each day when I sat down to record my 3 positive things, I was forced to reflect momentarily on those positive experiences. This practice helped put the hardships in perspective, and I ended each of my nights on a positive note.
I believe that the way through change and towards growth is through building on our strengths and all the assets and skills we bring to the party. Imagine what this could do for us at work when we supervise people, lead change initiatives, collaborate with colleagues and other teams. How can we balance the problem-solving, corrective actions, and deficit-based conversations we have at work with these asset-focused, strengths-based, and positive-oriented dialogues? Achor suggests that these tools are definitely essential in the workplace - leading to more productive, effective, and higher-performing employees... Happy employees!
Please note that I am not suggesting that the strategy of recording 3 positive things on a daily basis can or should be a substitute for other modes of treatment for chronic conditions like depression. What I am suggesting is that it could be a simple, daily practice anyone can do to help lead happier lives.