Thursday, Aug 10th

Three Good Things

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

I did just a few happiness exercises while I was on vacation, including this one. It is such a useful tool for focusing my attention on the good.

My three good things for today:

  • I took the kids to the library today, and ended up reading three of the graphic novels I got for them. It was great fun; I should read fiction more often.
  • I played my viola for the first time in almost two weeks, which felt strange and familiar and good.
  • My two-year-old and I spent a long time reading new books from the library together.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, Aug 9th

Loving Kindness Meditation

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

After a long, full vacation, I’ve noticed a couple of things. The first was that getting away from my normal routine cleared some space for me to focus on the few things I took with me — most notably, I got a lot more reading done. The second was that elements of my normal routine are apparently really useful. I usually do ten minutes of barre3 in the morning, for example, and that seems to noticeably protect my back from stiffness.

I also noticed a difference in my interaction with the children. At home I often find myself drifting into a subtly antagonistic relationship with them over time: time to do my own things is in direct conflict with time spent with children. This mentality encourages me to feel resentful of interruptions, of any time that is demanded of me unexpectedly. (Needless to say, this is not a great perspective when young children are around.) On vacation, working from the sense of sharing an adventure together, I found myself to be much more flexible.

Today during my loving kindness meditation I tried to focus on that sense I had of my children and of myself while on vacation — of being more open to possibility.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, Jul 26th

Reflect On Social Connections

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

I tend to always want to write about interactions with people outside my immediate family for this exercise. I think it’s because those are the people that tend to trigger social anxiety in me, so those interactions loom large for me. But I think I underestimate the value of focusing on interactions with those closest to me. Those are, after all, a much bigger part of my life.

Today’s three interactions:

  • I spent hours chatting with two other parents yesterday when we got our kids together for a (long-desired) playdate.
  • My two-year-old and I had some lovely evening alone time where we blew bubbles and read books together.
  • My oldest son helped me start cleaning out our woodpile/tool storage area.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, Jul 25th

Loving Kindness Meditation

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

My second son has asked me repeatedly to do loving kindness meditation with him, which is wonderful but also a pretty funny experience. Silence has never been in his nature, and he cannot, cannot participate without providing cheerful commentary on each thing that he thinks and feels.

I keep such sessions short — I think it’s better for both of us — but I love that he keeps asking.

Today I did loving kindness for myself, and was reminded yet again how good this meditation feels. I think this is another exercise that I should do more often; it just leaves me happy.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, Jul 24th

Gratitude Journal

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

I am not athletic. I fortunately don’t tend to gain lots of weight, but I’ve never been in particularly good physical shape. But a while ago, inspired by the realization that going outside can have a major impact on my happiness, I started a habit of going outside for a short run in the morning. (By “short,” I mean six blocks, and by “run,” I mean a combination of jogging and walking, which is the best I can do.)

This has been a great habit to start. I love getting outside in the morning; it feels like it opens the world up. I love having a small objective to complete, something that is challenging for me but doable. I give myself lots of slack to do whatever I need to do on those six blocks; one morning when I wasn’t feeling well I walked the entire way. And I love doing something that doesn’t feel like “me,” that isn’t part of my normal sense of myself.

Today in my gratitude journal I wrote about all the things that combine to make that habit possible, like having a healthy body, and about the gratitude I often feel when I’m out on my run, for the wide open sky and the world at large.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, Jul 22nd

Repeat and Recharge

I’m choosing Most Moments Are Positive to repeat today — one of my favorites. It will be a busy day of cleaning to prepare for a busy week, so this seems like a good principle to keep in mind.

And because it’s such a busy day, I’ve decided to make a serious effort to be done with all that cleaning before dinner. After dinner I want to sit outside on my (newly cleaned) patio and read a book I just started.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, Jul 21st

Three Good Things

Today has been a weird, sluggish day — I can’t help but wonder if I’m coming down with a cold or something. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good things to write about. My three for the day:

  • I finished my (very short) morning run today without needing to walk even once, for the first time!
  • My two-year-old has been making me “dinner” at her play kitchen outside, with rocks and dirt. She then insists that I sit and “eat” it at length.
  • I have finally, for the first time all season, managed to complete both the mowing and the trimming of the yard within days of each other. It looks very tidy.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, Jul 20th

Guided Meditation

I really thought I had this meditation thing down, or at least was making great progress. For a while I felt I could keep my focus for minutes at a time. And now… not so much. Which is fine, it’s part of the process, and just means that I need to find another way to shift how I approach my meditations.

For today’s happiness exercise I chose a meditation on self-love, intentionally looking for one that isn’t too long. I can’t say that my focus was much better for this guided meditation than it had been for my morning un-guided one, but that’s ok. Small steps…

Happy Thursday!