Habits for happiness: tips for looking on the bright side of life

Habits for happiness: tips for looking on the bright side of life.

At bedtime, in order to avoid a nightly litany of complaints, I ask my glass-is-half-empty-and-I-hate-the-pirate-glass-and-there’s-a-bug-in-it tween to list three good things, two neutral things, and one sad thing about her day.

Sometimes if she needs to share more than one sad thing, I let her buy the privilege by asking her to list extra good things. And, of course, if the sad thing she wants to share really is a problem — like the time a boy wouldn’t stop pinching her in the butt, or the time a girl kept taking her art supplies — I will spend more time talking about it.

Here is one person’s story about how focusing on happy things can change your whole outlook.

20130709-195012.jpgI remember being unhappy most days, at one point in my life. It wasn’t because I hated the people in my life—I had a lovely wife, great kids, other wonderful family members and friends. It was because I was unhappy with myself, and that caused growing debt problems, unhappiness with my job, health problems, and more. I felt like I couldn’t change any of that.

Then one day I sat down and made a list. I make a lot of lists—it’s one of my favorite habits— but this list seemed to have a magical power. It was a list of the things I was grateful for. Amazingly, there were a lot of things on the list, from things about my wife, kids, relatives, and friends, to things about my job, about nature around me, about my life. This list was magical because I went from feeling a bit depressed about everything, and hopeless and helpless, to much happier.

My mindset shifted from the things I didn’t like or didn’t have, to the things I was really happy I had. And I was in control. —Lifehacker

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