Sometimes we need a few new tricks to try out for our own happiness, mindfulness and well-being. Here are my latest favourite tricks to be in the present, and be happy.
1 THE “REAL OR NOT REAL” TRICK For everyone who doesn’t recognize this term, I have a simple three step approach: 1) Go away. 2) Read the Hunger Games. 3) Report back. All my fellow YA novel enthusiasts can stay.
In the Hunger Games trilogy Peeta goes a little nuts at the end: He can’t tell reality from manipulation. Katniss comes up with a game to help him, asking him “real or not real?” whenever he’s presented with a fact or a fib. It helps him distinguish the truth from the lies.
I started doing this with my negative thinking. I look at the different thoughts I have during the day, and ask myself: “Is this real or not real?” And even if it’s possibly real…Do I want this to be real? Or not?
This question gives you power over your mindset, and consequently your behavior.
Next time you beat yourself up over a mistake, call yourself lazy or fat, a bad mom, a bad friend, think to yourself: “Real or not real?”
Decide for yourself what’s real and what you want to be real. Discard every other thought that is unreal or should be unreal.
2 “WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE THIS DAY A SUCCESS?” Sometimes we’re so preoccupied with the future and long-term goals that we forget how to create short term success that makes us happy about the present.
An easy thing to cure this is turn off your future perspective and just focus on today. What would you have to do today to make it count as a success?
Would you have to do some studying, call your grandmother and finally cancel that magazine subscription? Would you have to have a green juice, go for a run and write an article for your blog? Would you have to prepare half your presentation, do some weight lifting and then spend some time with your kids?
You decide. What you need from this day to make it a successful day. (Note: Don’t forget to take into account that a day has only about 12 hours and you’re not a superhuman. Check your delusions about what you can accomplish in 24 hours at the door please. )
The greatness of this technique is two fold.
One, anyone can do this. The super happy lah-lah-lah goal-oriented people among us can use this idea and rock today, but so can those of us who are struggling. The people among us who are having a hard time.
This works for them too. Why? Even if it’s just washing your hair and sending an email to your friend, you’ve made today a good day. You feel like you can do something today that makes today a success.
Two, although you take your eyes off the future, you still work for your long term goals.
So ask yourself: What can I do today to make this day a success?
Go for somewhere between 3-5 things you feel need to happen today and work to get these done. Next thing you know you can check off this day as a success. Excellent mood and motivation booster.
3 TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF I put myself under tons of pressure (hey, high pressure makes diamonds, right?)
To a certain point, this is a good quality. Beyond that point, it becomes stressful and totally counter productive. Because I’m totally human. I get tired or unfocused, I procrastinate, I make mistakes and sometimes I just don’t fucking want to go hard or go home.
So I occasionally just take the pressure off. On those days, I don’t have to sit at my desk at 8:30 AM; I arrive at 9:00. With a latte. On those days, I don’t have to finish EVERY task on my to-do list. If I get to half of the items on that list, I’m still doing good. On those days, I don’t have to write 4,500 words after dinner. I just watch a movie or play a computer game.
On these days, you don’t do nothing, but you don’t force yourself to do everything either. You’ll be surprised how relaxing that can be.
TO SUM UP three tricks to be in the present, be aware of yourself and what you’re doing, and make yourself happier. Ask yourself: do I want this to be real or not? Think on how you can make today a successful day. Finally don’t be hugely demanding of yourself all the time. Sometimes it’s better to just do a few things and be okay with that, instead of doing ALL the things.
And that’s that, babies. See you later.