Two Activities for Being Happy Now
Try this exercise, parents. The next time take a shower, keep track of your thoughts for its duration. You will be amazed at the busy highway of thoughts that hijack your mind. Upon closer inspection, witness how many of them are about the past-reliving conversations and scenarios- and how many are about the future- rehearsing or imagining an outcome. Try, in this shower, to keep coming back to what is happening “now”, for example- the sensations of the soap, the temperature and feel of the water, or the treasure of a few relaxing minutes. Are you thinking PAST the shower to what comes next? Ahhhh, caught you! It’s a challenge. Most of us spend our lives in realms other than “now”.
When we can get a grasp on “now”, it is surprising how much happier we can be. A woman came into one of my workshops in tears, with many fears about the ramifications of losing a job opportunity she sorely needed. When I checked in with her throughout the session, and asked, “Are you OK at this very moment?” she always replied, “Yes”. If she stayed present, the past and the future did not exist and they were not scary. She said she would remind herself as many times as needed through the day to prove to herself that she was OK. She would try not let the past or the imaginary future take over. It’s a practice to keep coming back to “now”.
A second activity is fun for the whole family over a span of time. It keeps a record of many “now” moments. Have you heard of a Happiness Jar? A Happiness Jar is kept in a prominent place for family access. Everyone is welcome to record on a slip of paper (or more) a happy moment or feeling from the day, fold it, and put it in the jar. After a prescribed amount of time, say months or even a year, the family gathers to reveal and celebrate all the good, happy “now” moments that helped to build today.
Take the challenge of living more in the NOW. Parents, practice being present in the shower each day to prove that “now” is just fine. And families, fill a Happiness Jar with “now” moments. What you put your attention on grows.