Advice for Happiness: Inspire Yourself!

Dwell in the positive, and you will make positive choices.

by
- Posted on Nov 1, 2006

A young woman writes in her journal.

How often do you think about the positive choices you've made in your life?

If you're like most of us, your mind probably gets stuck on thoughts like I don't spend enough time with the kids and The bills are piling up rather than I'm glad we chose to buy this house, I did a nice job resolving that conflict with my coworker or I've decided that it's more important to be happy than to be right.

Our good decisions end up getting left in the dust as we rush off to tackle our to-do lists. Yet it's all those smart moves in the past that build our confidence to face the new challenges that face us every day.

So why not start a journal dedicated solely to the great decisions you've made—and are making?

From the big ones (marrying the right man, switching careers, starting a family) to the small ones (passing up that brownie after dinner, saying a prayer for rather than blowing up at a rude driver, calling an old friend), you have a whole history of positive choices to record. Think of it as your very own highlight reel.

The next time you find yourself wavering at a fork in the road, you will have at the ready reminders of all the times you chose well in the past. And you'll know you have it in you to do it again!

At University of California, Davis study has shown that writing about positive topics, rather than fears, worries and anger, will promote the release of hormones that relieve stress. As you relive your positive moments, you get a boost in feel-good serotonin and endorphins, instead of the heart-hurting cortisol that comes on when you tense up over your frustrations.

If you already keep a gratitude journal, you're taking note of what's wonderful and positive around you. Your great decisions journal lets you celebrate what's wonderful and positive within you. What lifts your spirits more than that?

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