I was close to throwing the 32 inch monitor out the window in the hope that it would crush the yapping jack russell who was driving me batsh*t crazy.
Lizzie is her name- and she’s beautiful, she really is.
But 40 minutes into the precious time I’d scheduled for writing my mini masterpiece, and all I could hear was the most annoying dog in the world barking at a pigeon non stop.
It's fair to say that if I could, I’d like the monitor to crush the pigeon as well because in Lizzie’s defense, I know that pigeon is taunting her on purpose.
But I didn't throw anything. Instead I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and silently asked the same question I always ask myself whenever I feel stressed or annoyed or just in need of a happiness boost.
I close my eyes and ask myself: 'what is so good about this?', and then I bring to mind a few of the good things in my life.
About 3 or 4 images will come to mind. I might see the face of my daughter from breakfast time, then my mind might jump to a good memory from last weekend, then I might think of the upcoming night I’m having in the bar with a friend, or watching a good movie with my wife..
I do this for about 30-60 seconds, then I choose 1 of these images, and I engage with it.
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So for example, I might decide to engage with the image of my daughter from breakfast this morning. I notice her face, her eyes, her smile, how she made us laugh at something silly. And I’ll spend about 30 seconds or so on this image, and then silently tell myself how lucky I am.
I open my eyes.
Lizzie is still barking, the pigeon is still taunting her, but now I simply go down the stairs, get a treat for Lizzie, bring her inside, give her a rub, because she really is a beautiful dog, and go back to writing my masterpiece.
This short exercise, lasting no more than 2 minutes, does more than simply lift my mood. When practiced regularly, this exercise trains your brain to tune into the good in your everyday life.
For most of you reading this article, you already have a lot of good in your life.
The problem is that a lot of us never take the time to appreciate it.
We are so busy, so stressed and stretched, that the good in our lives bypasses us.
Now before you go- yeah, but you’re just one of those naturally happy people, it’s easy for you.
Believe me- I am not that type of person.
My wife is - within 5 minutes of waking up most mornings she’s humming a song. She talks to strangers, she volunteers for everything, she openly and regularly expresses gratitude.
Believe me, I’m not like that.
But by using a few simple exercises like asking yourself the question “what is so good about this”, I have been able to substantially increase my happiness levels.
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You see the very practice of resting your mind on good thoughts, on good memories, as well as silently expressing gratitude, or love or whatever emotion comes to mind, and doing this regularly, not only makes you feel happier at the time, but it also helps to shape your brain.
Yeah, I know it sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true.
The process behind these types of exercises is based on breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience, specifically on something called experience-dependent neuroplasticity.
This refers to the brain's capacity to change in response to experience, repeated stimuli, environmental cues, and learning.
In short, the brain can be shaped by whatever we decide to rest the mind upon.
So if you keep resting your mind upon negative thoughts and worries, your brain becomes more susceptible to anxiety, depression, anger and a host of other negative feelings.
On the flip side, if you practice resting your mind on good things, like appreciating nature, appreciating the sounds and silence that surround you, tuning into your compassion, empathy, appreciating the people around you, setting positive intentions- then your brain will be shaped by these positive emotions.
And believe me, this isn't just a theory- I practice the one question exercise as well as slightly similar morning and evening exercises a few times every week as part of the Lite Mind technique that I created to help busy people have happier and more fulfilled lives.
Now I’m not saying that I’m happy 100% of the time- that’s just not realistic. Also, I'm not saying that I don’t get stressed out- I have 2 young children, 2 dogs (Lizzie is the one that barks all the time, Pip is a gent) and a busy work life- of course I get stressed.
And I don’t think I’ll ever be as naturally happy as my wife.
But what I can say is that I am much happier than I used to be.
I find myself naturally tuning into the good in my life every day.
I find that I take more time to appreciate what I have and this has a very positive impact on my overall happiness.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, or you want a happiness booster, don’t throw the monitor out the window. Simply ask yourself “what is so good about this?”, then savor and enjoy the experience.
Get Lite Mind for free: To show you how amazing the Lite Mind exercises are, simply click here to get a free, breakthrough happiness exercise.
About the author
Caemin O Connor is a business owner, a husband and father to 2 beautiful girls.
After years of practicing and teaching meditation, he got frustrated and a little bored with it.
So he started researching and developing new techniques.
He focused on happiness, as he realized the real reason why people try meditation, or any form of self improvement, is because they simply want to be happier.
Caemin spent years studying happiness and the various techniques involved in harnessing it, from gratitude, to compassion, from mindfulness to savoring nature.
The end result is Lite Mind, a breakthrough technique for developing long term happiness.
Simply click on the button below and get a free Lite Mind exercise.