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8 Minutes For 21 Days

Train Your Brain to Think Happier Thoughts and See the Positives

I started my journey towards feeling a deep sense of happiness in November 2018, but it took another 4 months for me to take real action.

I had been speaking with a coach, counselor, basically, an all-round superstar who constantly challenged me to look inside myself.  I came up with excuses that I’m doing well, and I don’t have time.  Then, in April 2019, I received a bonus, which was generous and ever so gratefully received.  But something inside me didn’t feel right.  I was happy with it, felt I deserved it, I even briefly thought I wanted more. However, the overriding feeling was one of a huge sense of emptiness.  I realized I felt uncentered.  I had become untethered from my core, and it was affecting my personal life, and leaving me disappointed in myself professionally.  

I decided to listen to my coach and take action.  I started by just doing three of the things I list below, then I soon added the fourth.  I quickly started to feel really happy.  A feeling of inner peace.  I also started to feel calmer, and more positive – optimistic even.  I became more excited about each day. Others noticed a difference with people actually saying that I seemed really different.  I started seeing things in a different way, the wipers had been turned on and I could see clearly around me.

Each of the 4 daily exercises should take no longer than two minutes each.  Start by committing to try it for 21 days in a row.  Harvard researcher, Shawn Achor, says that “something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months.  The research is Amazing”.  Personally, I did see noticeable benefits quickly.  It is like the compound effect of daily interest.

Here are 4 daily habits to a happier and more positive life.  Every morning, for the next 21 days, spend 2 minutes on each of the actions below:

  • Express gratitude

Write down 3 acts of gratitude.  Just 3.  Try to be specific about your gratitude.

  • Journal 

Write about 1 positive experience you had in the last 24 hours.  Use bullet points to keep it short and focused.

  • Meditate

It’s just for 2 minutes.  Find somewhere comfortable to sit.  Close your eyes.  Focus on your breath as you inhale deeply, and follow the breath as it fills your lungs.  Pause for a moment.  Then slowly and with control exhale.  Keep your mind focused on following the breath in and out.  If your mind wanders, that is ok.  Just return to your breath.  Meditating will help you become present in the moment and you will feel happier.  By the end of 21 days, you may even find that you naturally are meditating longer than 2 minutes.

  • Express Thanks

Send a note, SMS, whatsapp, email to someone in your network to thank them.  Be specific with your thanks.

I can attest doing those four things each day for 21 days, had a profound positive impact on me.  When I started to throw in some other activities, such as running, the wellbeing and mental benefits were profound. 

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