A Happiness Practice That Seems to Work

I wish I could remember where I just read about it, but there was a study. It’s similar to something I already do. At the end of the day I write down three things that made me happy. It’s almost never BIG things, but smaller things, like the clouds, or Finney on my lap, or a good tv show. In this study people were asked to dwell on these things a little bit. I forget for how long. 30 seconds maybe? The study theorized something about brain chemistry, or plasticity, I forget! But this tiny bit of dwelling seemed to create a lasting effect on overall happiness.

So at least three times a day I do that. I’ve only been doing it for about 4 days and I swear I notice a difference. Try it! Here’s one of the moments I dwelled on yesterday.

I got caught in a terrific rain and thunderstorm in the early evening. I’d been swimming and I walked out of the pool and right into the rain. I just went with it. Since I’d just spent the previous 45 minutes relishing being complete immersed in water it seemed wrong to shrink from it now, just because it had been presented to me in a different way.

As I walked home, without an umbrella, not rushing, people huddled under awnings just looked at me. I wanted to explain. “I was mostly wet anyway, I was swimming.”

Anyway, it felt good to surrender to it.

The sun sets on One World Trade Center. I love the subtle beauty of these colors. The universe give us those colors, for free.

Sunset on One World Trade Center

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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