happiness.001

4 little Happiness Rituals

A friend recently shared this article about 4 “rituals” to make you happy as seen by a neuroscientist on Facebook.  As I read through it, I was really glad to see how this scientific view supports what I’m doing here together with you guys – as part of the bootcamp and as part of the upcoming “30 Days for…” series.

Let’s see what the scientist said: 4 simple strategies to make you happy:
1. Practice gratitude
2. Label negative feelings
3. Make that decision
4. Touch people

1. Practice gratitude
Day 19 of the bootcamp was all about that. But maybe it is something to pay special attention to. I know from myself, I have a little trick to make me feel good, which is actually exactly the gratitude ritual: Every time I feel a bit low, maybe missing friends from before or something isn’t going quite the way I want it, I remind myself how lucky I am to live in this amazing city. I look outside to see the sunshine, the blue sky… that sort of thing. And BOOM… I feel better. OK, I had no neurological explanation for this. But, I know it works for me. And thanks to the article I now know why, too!

2. Label negative feelings
BOOM… another one of the “déjà-vu”s: Exactly what you do when you acknowledge negative feelings (or indeed all sorts of emotions) in Mindfulness. Examine the feeling, look at the feeling – and letting it go. The exercise on Day 10 is pretty much concerned with this… although it doesn’t explicitly ask you to label the feeling. But maybe that is a good idea to work into the practice.

3. Make that decision
OK… this I have not really done much about. I guess the “big picture” decisions, the one everyone loves putting off are covered in the life choices (Day 17) to some extent… but the smaller decisions are certainly worth remembering, too. So… let’s add that to the list!

4. Touch people
Oh yes… now that goes right to the heart of the last parts of the bootcamp – and is very much at the centre of the urbangay idea. Touch in all its forms: friendly, compassionate, caring, intimate, sexual… tantric…. Touch, hug, kiss, massage, feel, experience… Again, great to see it coming with the scientific explanation as to why this works.

Overall, I think we are on the right track with the urbangay “happiness” idea: A bit more decisive decision making, but three out of four is a pretty good start. And, of course, I’d love to hear what you think about these four rituals – or indeed any of the ideas from the bootcamp and beyond. Please let me know!