Reflecting for Happiness
Let’s talk about the power of reflecting on past experiences. We use reflecting, or drawing upon past experiences, each and every day. Some common examples include learning from our past mistakes, decision making, and even who we choose to spend our time with.
There are many different ways to reflect. What I am sharing below is a quick exercise that you can do in fifteen minutes or less. It is a reflection exercise that draws on past positive experiences to learn what brought you joy and how you can add that to your life today.
What’s great about it is that by adding these positive experiences back into your life, you will notice an increase in your happiness, especially the more times you go through the process.
Before the Exercise
First, make sure you are in a quiet place, free of distractions where you can let your mind wander.
This exercise usually takes about fifteen minutes, but can be as long or as short as you would like.
Grab a notebook and a pen as, after the reflection, you will want to take notes.
Much like a physical exercise, you will get out of this what you put into it. So go ahead, allow yourself to really go for it, and make the most of it!
Think about a time in the past when you were most happy. This could be a vacation, a major life event like a wedding, a child being born, a major accomplishment, or really anything that brought you immense joy.
Allow yourself to really visualize and feel the moment. Spend some time living in and exploring what you were doing and how you were feeling.
When you are ready, you can break from your reflection. With the memory still fresh in your mind create a list:
- What was I doing that contributed to my happiness?
- Who was I with?
- Where was I?
- How did I show up?
Now create a list of your present reality:
- What is contributing to my happiness?
- Who do I spend my time with?
- Where do I spend my time?
- How do I show up?
Lastly, take a look at both lists. What’s one specific thing that you experienced in the past that you can bring to your present?
- Can you make more time to experience the things that bring you joy?
- Can you add a positive person back to your life?
- Can you visit a place that you enjoy?
Remember, it’s not about replicating the experience, it’s about extracting bits and pieces from a past experience that brought you joy and incorporating it into your current life.
Whatever it may be, I challenge you to take one action to help you reconnect with the things that contributed to your happiness.
Things may never be the same as they once were, but that doesn’t prevent them from being better in their own way.