19 Jul Happiness…from this morning’s eNewsletter
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Happiness comes atleast partly from focusing on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have. Those who are grateful and appreciative tend to be happier and healthier than those who’re not. This week we bring you an article and some tips for bringing more happiness into your life via this simple, but profound concept that’s in some way or other, a part of every major religion, all major schools of philosophical thought, and of course, positive psychology…
Guest contribution by Keith Ready – Inspired by The Worlds Fastest Indian
Going to see a movie has always been a very special treat for me and in more recent years perhaps it is the wide screen, those very comfortable lounge style chairs, the sensational surround sound, the larger than life images of the characters on screen and even the chance to indulge myself in some popcorn and a choc top that makes it even more of a treat.
I also have some wonderful memories of the days when I was a young boy and my mum took me to a Saturday matinee. I will never forget that she would often buy me a packet of chocolate Jaffas to eat during the movie. I would always discretely drop one or two onto the timber floor during the movie and then giggle quietly as they rolled all the way down to the front of the theatre making a clattering noise on the timber floor. I am sure this boyish prank upset many of the older members of the audience, as well as my mum.
Even to this day there has always been a ritual that I go through once I get seated in the theatre which involves looking around to see if I know anyone, then as the lights dim I will dig into the box of popcorn or devour that choc top whilst watching the customary advertisements and trailers of movies that are about to be launched. As the lights fully dim and the screen expands to full viewing size I always settle back into that comfortable seat in anticipation of what is to follow over the next one and a half to two hours.
In the majority of cases I enjoy the movies I go to see and usually have just a hint of chocolate on my mouth and the remains of spilt popcorn, sprinkled all over my lap as the lights come up and the credits roll. I always sit there for just a minute or two reflecting on the movie and its message, often with a hint of a tear in my eye if the movie has had a very sad or touching ending. Then up I get and return to the reality of the outside world where I can further contemplate what I have just seen or discuss it with my family and friends.
I have always liked to watch the movie credits so that I could see the names of all the cast that I don’t know or to find out the name of a particular song that I enjoyed. I have never really stopped to think very deeply about the importance of the movie credits and what they really mean, however, at the end of the last movie I went to see I sat engrossed in the credits which lasted for around two minutes and as I got up to leave, I realised that there was not one person left in the theatre except for my wife and myself. All of those people we had joined to watch the movie had quickly got up and left, some as I recall, even before the credits had started.
Often in life the enjoyment of the moment or the event is all that matters and we can be guilty of quickly moving on and forget to take a minute or two to reflect on and acknowledge those who have made all that enjoyment possible. At that instant, watching those credits meant more than just looking out for that cast members name or song title and the following quote from Samuel Goldwyn had a new meaning for me . . . ‘When someone does something well, applaud! You will make two people happy’
Even though I was not applauding as I watched those movie credits, at least I was taking time to acknowledge and pay my respects in a very small way to all those talented and hard working people both in front and behind the camera, who have given me my two hours of movie enjoyment, as well as a special treat. Hopefully my silent acknowledgement will make them happy, as it did for me.
And a practical tip from me (Dr. Happy)…
One of the simplest but most effective strategies to come out of the Positive Psychology research has come to be known as “The 3 Good Things Exercise”. Try this and we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll boost your happiness…
- Find yourself some paper and a pen
- Set aside 5-10 minutes at the end of each day (or some other time that’s convenient for you)
- Quite simply, list and/or describe three good things that have happened during the course of your day (and note: they can be large or small, all that matters is that in some way or other they were “good”)
- Continue to do this every day for at least 2 weeks or so (after that, if you want to reduce the frequency slightly then that’s fine)
So there it is; the “3 Good Things Exercise”. Remarkably simple but also ridiculously effective!