How often do you say to someone or someone says to you, “Have a good day?” How often do you actually consider what that entails beyond a conversational courtesy? Whether it is in the middle of a pandemic or normal times having a good day can affect our happiness. Following is an exercise, should you choose to try it out, that can boost your happiness, increase the good days and improve overall well being.
For example, days when I have conversations with family and/or friends, get out for my morning walk, get to do a kindness for another, get chores done in a timely fashion, having opportunities for spontaneity, are components for a good day. All of these don’t need to happen each day for it to be a good day, but you get the idea. I can say that days when I do not have any of those conversations with others, are on the crummy side. Each of you will have your own unique activities that make for your good days.
The first part of the exercise is to evaluate what makes up your positive days. You might make some notes on what activities, what events, what interactions with others were parts of a good day. You might also want to assess what did or did not happen that made for bad days. This exercise should be done for at least two weeks, preferably a month. Use the following scale each day as a gauge:
10 = it was one of the best days of my life
9 = it was an outstanding day
8 = it was an excellent day
7 = it was a very good day
6 = it was a good day
5 = it was an average or typical day
4 = it was a sub par day
3 = it was a bad day
2 = it was a terrible day
1 = it was one of the worst days of my life
Do not review your record until you are done, but then go back and look for the pattern across the days and weeks. Compare the good days with the bad days in terms of what you were doing (or not) on these days. Everyone who has done this exercise reports that a pattern is readily apparent, and in some cases, it was one that surprised them.
The point of this exercise, to find your own formula and to devise your own strategy based on it. Once you find these, change your typical day, tempered of course by common sense. A glass of wine with dinner may contribute positively to your assessment of a good day, but there is no reason to think that two bottles in one sitting will make future days proportionately better. Similarly, a good night’s sleep might make for a good day, but that does not mean you should resolve to sleep your life away.
Now, you all have a good day!
*Based on a strategy found in A Primer In Positive Psychology by Christopher Peterson
Comments are welcomed.