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Day 22/07/2014

{ rethinked*annex } Have a Beautiful Day …* – Adopt or Rethink?

{ rethinked*annex } Have a Beautiful Day ...* - Adopt or Rethink? | rethinked.org ( photograph: Elsa Fridman )

{ THE EXERCISE

I assign you (as I do my students) to have a beautiful day. Set aside a free day this month to indulge in your favorite pleasures. Pamper yourself. Design, in writing, what you will do from hour to hour. Use as many of the techniques above as you can. Do not let the bustle of life interfere, and carry out the plan. (111)

Pleasures vs. Gratifications – Understanding & Enhancing the Various Types of Happiness In the Present …*

Source: Seligman, Martin. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology To Realize Your Potential For Lasting Fulfillment. New York: Free Press, 2002. Print.

{ WHAT I LIKED

I have always loved surprises. In fact, I love them so much that when I was younger, I would give a portion of my allowance back to my mother and ask her to buy me a gift. The object mattered little, my immense pleasure in receiving the gift was the delight of discovering what my mother had selected. Now that I am older, I have wondered what it was about this notion of surprise that I loved so dearly. I think what it comes down to is being led on an experience by someone else. It is a tremendous gift–other people’s time and intent– and surprises comprise both of those variables. Someone else has taken the time to plan out a discovery, whether in the form of an object or experience, they believe will delight you. Sadly, it is something which occurs only very rarely in daily life. Perhaps we surprise a loved one on their birthday or a special occasion, but in the course of the everyday when do we lead other people on journeys we have created for them? Obviously, in the case of the Have A Beautiful Day exercise, there was little element of surprise, since I engineered the experience for myself but I found great pleasure and joy in creating, in a very intentional sort of way, a journey for myself.

I also appreciated how the exercise helped me achieve happiness in the past, present and future. Planning out my day allowed me to savor the anticipation of the pleasures, big and small, that I had planned for my beautiful day. I paid particular attention to the details–I planned the colors that would infuse my day–from my dress to my lipstick, to the color of the mug I would drink my coffee in–and reminisced about the memories and feeling tones that I associate with each of these colors. I thought very concretely about ways to bask in and savor the small, often overlooked, pleasures of each moment–I decided to wake up early, watch the sunrise, and enjoy the delicious feeling of getting back in bed. Having thought out in such detail these small variables allowed me to be more aware and appreciative of them as they occurred in the course of my beautiful day. I felt very present and aware of each moment.

My gratitude journaling practice (along with this post reflecting on the experience) helped me relive the best moments of the day and experience once more, retrospectively, the pleasures and happiness of my beautiful day.

{ FRICTION POINTS

None. I only wish I had made a habit of a monthly “Have A Beautiful Day” sooner. I also find it is a great loss we do not assign these types of exercises in schools alongside algebra problems and english essays. As my review of Positive Psychology has taught me, happiness is something to be nurtured and cultivated. There are tangible actions and habits to increase well-being. The Have a Beautiful Day is an easy and impactful way to start doing just that and it is adaptable to all age groups so why are we not teaching our students to do this?

{ NEXT STEPS } 

This is a keeper. I intend on setting aside one day each month to repeat the exercise and I urge you to try it out for yourself, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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