It’s been a while since I spoke about my happy thoughts lists, so I wanted to write a bit about it more since I was inspired by watching this TED Talk:
For those of you who missed the earlier experiment, in my happy thoughts list experiment, I took the time to write three happy thoughts each day. It was an incredibly simple experiment, but for the little effort it required, it had a surprisingly large impact. In a single week, I had a big impact on how I think.
The 7-day duration I set for experiments has both advantages and disadvantages. I see results quickly and I get to enjoy a lot of variety. Unfortunately, I also miss out on some of the longer-term perspective on the experiments.
Thankfully, for some of them, I get to speak to people who have been doing the experiments for much longer than I have. When it came to my happy thoughts list experiment, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Reggy (@fragileheart on twitter) had been doing her own project, 3 Smiles, for nearly 2 years.
I’ve mentioned Reggy on this blog before, as she’s a blogging inspiration of mine. However, I only discovered her 3 Smiles project after I finished my own experiment. I got a chance to sit down with her and talk to her about her experiences with 3 Smiles.
It was a long conversation, so I’ll just hit a few of the high points:
Even though we’d started our two projects at entirely different times, we were surprisingly close on our perspectives. We both remarked about how deliberately listing your happier moments in a day helped you remember that you did have happy moments instead of focusing on the negative ones. We both have personalities that gain a lot of satisfaction from solving problems, and that unfortunately means that we can easily take a negative outlook.
Biggest Surprise: The people whom it impacts. While she wasn’t sure that anyone had followed in her steps and started their own 3 Smiles, Reggy said that she gets a lot of positive feedback about how her lists help make people smile. I confess, I’d always been looking at my happy thoughts list as an intensely personal journey, and I hadn’t considered the impact it might have on others.
I love how, despite the people it impacts, Reggy views her 3 Smiles as an obligation to herself first and foremost.
Reggy’s advice: While making a list of your happy thoughts in a day might not work for everyone, it is something that everyone should try.