Science tells us that having a positive attitude has a direct connection with happiness and success.
Meditation is my ‘go-to’ tool for cultivating clarity, creativity, joy and happiness
But there are times when life can get so busy, and move so fast, that we forget the many simple and momentous happy moments that really do occur on a daily basis.
Sometimes, we get to the end of a year (or it could be the end of the day, week or month) and incorrectly cling to the idea that we have not been successful, or had any wins, happiness or good tidings. This is due in part to negativity bias … which refers to how our brain is built, and that is with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. And this bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing.
So learning to notice (mindfulness) and celebrate our successes is tremendously important to our overall sense of happiness and attitude to life.
When we celebrate success, or anticipate achieving success, we feel good and this is due to the release of dopamine (neurohappy chemical in our brain) and when we feel good, we want more of it, which leads us to making those positive changes in our lives to ensure more wellbeing, happiness and health.
Keeping a Gratitude Journal is one mindfulness practice that has been shown to have a profound impact on our level of happiness, along with protecting us from stress, anxiety and negativity. As we are on the cusp of a bright New Year, I wanted to share two other simple, but profound practices that you might like to explore in 2017.
The Joy Jar
In 2013 I shared with my Monday Meditation Musing ‘tribe’ the wonderful New Year practice of starting a Joy Jar .. cultivating a daily practice of writing a note of events, occasions, successes, that you are grateful for on that day .. and popping them into a jar.
While it takes a little commitment to remember to make your notes .. there is so much joy opening that jar at the end of the year and reliving all the happy occasions, the personal and professional ‘wins’, the moments of deep reflection and times of thankfulness. At the end of the year you have a full jar of wonderful memories to uncover and reflect on.
The Win Calendar
In 2016 I made myself a ‘WIN’ Calendar which has been hanging in front of my work desk all year. I believe this has been hugely successful in shifting my own state of mind to one of “Yes I am WINNING” (whatever that might mean for each of us).
We know from research that a large part of success is actually tied up with your state of mind – so it’s about having a success mindset – and this success mindset needs to be regularly cultivated and nourished.
I designed a WIN Calendar that had twelve monthly circles and each time I had a ‘WIN” I would mark it down on the calendar with my favourite turquoise sharpie pen. And then, every day that I sat at my desk, I would naturally take a moment to look at the ever growing list of amazing and wonderful collaborations, projects, events and dreams that were unfolding right in front of my eyes.
Keeping The Positive Front of Mind
These practices teach us to acknowledge and honour all the many small and large moments of joyfulness that happen as part of daily life .. and provide us with a unique opportunity to witness the true wonders and magic of life across a busy year (when we often forget due to the race of time). They are also wonderful antidotes for those times when negativity threatens or when we need a gentle reminder that there is much in life to be grateful for.
STARTING A JOY JAR
1.Start with an empty Mason jar, bottle or small box .. you could also decorate with positive quotes, stickers or ribbons
2.Keep the jar on your desk or bedside table, along with some pretty notepaper or sticky notes and pen
3.Starting on January 1st by making a note every time something inspiring, positive, happy or awesome happens ~ and place it in the jar
4.Try to build the habit of adding at least one note every day, a gratitude practice that nourishes our awareness of all that we have to be thankful for in life
5.Include a date with each entry so you can remember the smaller events across the year
6.On December 31st celebrate the year by opening the jar and reading through all the awesome events, occasions and ‘wins’ that presented themselves
WIN CALENDAR DOWNLOAD
1.Print the downloadable PDF (click image)
2.Laminate or simply hang somewhere you can easily access
3.Find a special pen to use only for this practice
4.Celebrate every win by marking the calendar with a simple word to remind you.
5.Regularly reflect on your WIN calendar and celebrate all of your successes