Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Make happiness your habit….

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This is a photograph of my bedside table.

Lamp

I like to keep a notebook next to me when I sleep.

Since I was a teenager I’ve kept a dream diary. Not all the time and not consistently, but I do dream all night every night and so when I have particularly interesting or pertinent dream, dreams that are curious or disturbing or really, really wonderful, I like to write them down. I’m also a ‘frequent flyer’….my favourite!

I also like to make a note of ideas and things to remember, so when they come to me, a handy notebook by the bed is always a good idea. It’s amazing how often you have a great idea in that wonderful place between dozing and deep sleep isn’t it?

The notebook you see here however, is not used for these things…that’s a different little book altogether (you may remember, I have a notebook addiction!).  The notebook you see here is the book I write in every night just before I go to sleep.  It is where I list 3 things that I am thankful for or have enjoyed that day.

You may of heard of these kinds of journals before?  Some people call them ‘gratitude journals’, or a’ journal of thanks’.

But why am I telling you about this?  Its because I’ve noticed a difference since I’ve been keeping one.

There are some days that feel really awful.  I’m tired, I’ve been working hard.  I’ve been sick or taking care of a loved one who is ill and I struggle when I first open up to the pages in front of me to see anything from the day that feels ‘happy’.  It’s then that I breathe, close my eyes and think back across my day, remembering the littlest of things that may have happened.  A little snuggle from one of my cats…a phone call with my mum that made me laugh…a cup of tea outside in the sun…feeling that I can stretch that teensiest bit further in my yoga class.

I know that keeping this kind of record can seem contrite or silly or even a little weird to some.  What I can tell you though, is that happiness is a habit!  Being thankful and seeing the best in life is a habit.  I’m sure you know people who just always see that the ‘glass is half empty’.  How you view the world, how you view your own life starts with how you think, feel and relate to what is happening. This ultimately comes from your own desire of what you want your life to be or look like.

I encourage you to try this.  Buy a little book for yourself.  Start to jot down a couple of things from your day that you’ve enjoyed, feel happy or thankful for.  After a short while you too might notice a slight shift in your mood.  You might even notice that you want to seek out doing or experiencing more things during the day, that you can write down as positive things later.  A positive cycle of thinking so to speak.

I’m going to be sharing more about what I’ve enjoyed during my week with you here on these pages.  It may take the form of words or pictures…whatever takes my fancy.  I don’t know what it will look like at the moment, I’m just going to play, so let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about has made you happy lately?  Also, maybe you too keep a journal or gratitude diary. If you do, do tell us about it and share what it has done for you.  I’d love to know if you’ve found that it’s changed anything in your life.

Till next week!

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