So often we focus on ‘when things go wrong’ but we need to equally focus on ‘when things go right’. Our emotions provide an important function by breaking into our conscious awareness so we pay attention. Mindfulness is paying attention- and that means to the good too. When we feel positive emotions like joy, happiness, delight and we are unselfconscious or care free, our emotions are there to help us learn what makes us feel good. Being mindful (giving things our attention) ensures that we become aware of the magic ingredients that give us those positive feelings so we repeat them. They are what we in my family call “do again moments”.
- Savour the joys. Relish the good by giving your wonderful experiences your full attention as this builds a rich memory trace that you can ‘replay’ or re-experiencing all those positive feelings again and again. Be mindful of the who, what, where, how, and the full sensory / physical experience.
- Build a positive list. Keep track of the things that make you happy. So often when life gets tricky, or stress and depression come knocking, people cannot remember who / what / where gives them positive emotional experiences. Keep a list so you always know what to do when you feel blue.
- Schedule fun days. A great family day (or one with friends) that breaks the routine and has everyone sharing an adventure is priceless for building positive relationships. Get each family member to write down a few activities / adventures that interest them, such as ice skating, horse riding, theme park, museum trip, ferry rides, yum cha, and then schedule one per month for the year.
- Establish a play date. I do not mean play-dates for children but those for yourself. Rather than catching up with friends at the pub, club or restaurant, arrange a fun activity to do with friends such as tenpin bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, bush walking, or even volunteering as a group at the soup kitchen or other charity that needs your support.
- Let your inner child out to play. Be spontaneous and playful and do the things you enjoyed as a child such as going roller- blading, climbing a tree, dolphin diving in the waves, having a skipping race, learning to juggle, having a big kids pyjama party and watching old movies, playing board games, or building sandcastles. Enjoy the delight, laughter and smiles.