I tend to be a joy-seeker. I like to read inspiring stories. I write about fun stuff. I enjoy inspiring quotes. Over the holidays I received two of the most perfect little books: “Think Happy, Be Happy” and “Happiness Is…” (My friends and family know me too well!)
One strategy for improving happiness is to keep a gratitude journal. I started jotting things down on a regular basis a few months ago. It’s definitely a good piece of advice for being happier.
Along with that, I subscribe to an online platform called Happify. This little app is a godsend! There are daily activities to play and inspiring news to help lift your spirits. I started on a meditation track last week and one of my activities was called “A Friend in Me is a Friend Indeed.” This activity invites you “notice when you’ve been a good friend to yourself” and sites that “our harsh self-criticism can increase the stress of an already stressful moment.”
The activity reminded me of a segment on a podcast I listen to called “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. In every segment they talk about giving each other gold stars.
So, as I was ready to jot some things down in my gratitude journal, I started thinking about the Happify activity which reminded me of the Happier gold stars. Instead of writing things I was grateful for, I wrote down things that I thought were basically nice things to do. Essentially, I gave myself some gold stars. And what happened? I felt great! Better than I ever had when recording my gratitude items.
So what were some of my gold stars?
- I re-sent the undeliverable Christmas cards to the right addresses and included additional little notes.
- I bought coffee for the car behind me at the Starbucks drive-through.
- I replaced the water cooler bottle at work.
- I left a sticky note of encouragement for my teenage daughter when she was feeling down.
- I took the dog for a walk even through it was 30 degrees outside and pitch black because she needed to get out.
- I made my daughter’s favorite garbanzo bean and cilantro salad when she was studying because she needed some brain food.
Good stuff, right?
Bottom line: sometimes it’s nice to be nice to you. So go ahead: give yourself a gold star. You deserve it!