Oct 18, 2019

Happiness Journal

The video version of this article if you prefer to listen :-)

 

A few days back, I had mentioned that I maintain a happiness journal in one of my posts on Instagram. I got a DM asking me to share more about it. I'm sure you would have heard of the "gratitude journal" and how the habit of maintaining a gratitude journal keeps us more at peace. This happiness journal is similar but slightly different from a gratitude journal.

I was reading an article written by Mark Manson titled "The disease of more" on his blog. In this article, he mentions about a survey conducted by psychologists. One of the survey question was "On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you at this moment?" Most of them gave a response of 7, which implies that no one is fully happy or fully unhappy all the time. Things are pretty much fine but they could always be better. So our minds always tell us to chase towards a perfect 10. This constant chasing is what he describes as a "hedonic treadmill". I highly recommend that you take the time to read the complete article.

So coming back to this happiness journal, what I have found is that this journal helps us to recognize and value the moments of happiness that we experience on a daily basis.

The basic idea is pretty simple - 
Every day, I note down a list of events/people/things that brought a little happiness. For eg, my journal entries for today are -
"the methi seeds that I sowed have now sprouted and I see tiny plants coming up. It felt so good, seeing them this morning"
"So many colorful lamps and candles lined up in the grocery store, my favorite festival is here. Yay!"

What to write - Any tiny feeling that made you feel a little happier and cheerful. Write it down in sentences.

How much to write - There isn't a definite number - somedays it could be 1, some days, it could be 3-4. Let's not attach any number and constrain ourselves. There will be days when we don't feel like writing down anything. That's fine too.

When to write - Best to write down as and when you feel it. If that's not feasible, you could do this exercise at the end of your day.

How is this helping me?
  1. First and foremost, it helps me to identify aspects of my life that make me happy. It is more of an inward-looking exercise.
  2. I feel more mindful and being aware of my thoughts and feelings
  3. It feels good to go through my journal entries on days when I'm feeling dull.
Do give it a try. My suggestion would be to use a pen and paper. No digital devices/apps. Hope you found this idea helpful.

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