Have you heard of The Happiness Detox? Guess what, you haven’t, because I invented it!
This past week, I set myself the task of becoming a happier, more positive person. For seven days, I would think happy thoughts, I would say happy words, I would even take “happy snaps”. I was hoping to emerge from this like a grinning, delightful phoenix, rather than a charred old bird sitting in the ashes mumbling, “I HATE Sydney Trains!”
Why do The Happiness Detox?
No-one believes me when I say this, but I am a huge grump and misanthrope. I’m the sort of person who dislikes parties, and would rather sit at home reading a novel in which everyone dies.
Not many people know how introverted and grumpy I am, because I have “resting smiling-and-laughing-insanely face”.
My grumpiness was starting to have a negative impact on my life. Rather than thinking the best of a situation or person, I would instead feel annoyed, angered and offended. I was becoming judgemental and even a bit nasty, and it was making me feel angry and sad. It was time for a brain makeover.
How did I do it?
I knew that becoming a positive, happy person was more than just smiling all the time, so I did a bit of research. I found three different things that I could do, which could make a positive change to my mindset: thinking and acting in a positive manner, documenting my happy moments, and keeping a gratitude journal. I dedicated myself to these techniques, and took them seriously.
I also spoke to Dr. Suzy Green, clinical and coaching psychologist, and the founder of The Positivity Institute, for her expert opinion.
Technique 1: Think and act in a positive manner.
I looked to people around me, who seemed to be content and joyous in their lives. I noticed that they all seemed to think and say positive things, so I decided to copy them.
On the night before my challenge, I put a Post-It note beside my bed which said, “POSITIVE THOUGHTS”. Honestly, I am such a grumble-bum that I had to remind myself to be positive.
When I woke the next day, I was more conscious of my negative thoughts. There were so many of them. I actively tried to replace them with more positive thoughts.
My first negative thought was, “It’s a horrible day,” because it was raining and grey outside. I quickly thought instead, “The weather is bad, but I could still have a happy day today, because I’m spending it with my daughter.” I felt better already.
As I got dressed, I thought, “I’m so fat.” In my own head, I screamed at myself, “I LOVE MY BODY!” I laughed to myself at my new, extreme body positivity.
It was helpful to be more aware of my thoughts. I was shocked at how I seemed to have a running, negative commentary about my life, inside my own head. The main thing I noticed was that I was undermining my own confidence with negative ideas and thoughts. I resolved to think better of myself.