2014: HAPPY NEW YEAR – Blog 1
On New Year’s Eve 2013 I woke to not feeling in a particularly good place, a place of gloomy pessimism, if not actual depression, and as I sat with this place keeping it company I recognised its origins: my father.
The best way to try describe my father’s approach to life is to compare him to Victor Meldrew, the cantankerous old grouch, and anti-hero of the classic BBC British sitcom, One Foot in the Grave, look like a man of positivity and optimism!
Then a gut feeling led me to surf the net and I came across Positive Psychology, something I did know about but had never really explored, but on Tuesday 31st December if felt just right to explore more now. That this is what this place of gloom and pessimism was signalling to me that this what I needed to create an antidote to the part inside that could be so like my father and Victor Meldrew.
That morning I bought a Kindle version of the book written by Miriam Akhtar called “Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression” and could start reading straight away – one of the gifts of technology! And out of this reading I had an “Aha” moment – we all say to each other as once Christmas is over and the last few days of December are upon us “Happy New Year” – but how many of us actually stop and think about what can we do to make the next year “Happy”? So I decided to dedicate 2014 to actively work on creating and cultivating happiness in my life.
And I decided to experiment by using a beautiful little diary I had been given for
Christmas by a good friend as a “feel-good” journal and that each night before I went to sleep I would write down at least three things that had made me feel good, feel happiness, joy, delight that I had encountered and experienced during the day that was just drawing to a close. I saw this process as akin to finding the pearls of positivity out of the grit of daily life.
I have found this already to be an amazing experiment and I first really became aware of how much doing this had changed my perception of my life when in the middle of March a good friend said to me how glad she was that it had finally stopped raining and we were actually having a dry day in 2014. When she said this I noticed inside me a sense of surprise as I had not experienced our weather as having been like this for this year.
So I sat and pondered and recalled we had indeed had a lot of rain – so much that the area in which I live in the UK, Worcestershire, made the international news due to the very severe flooding. What I realised was it was not that I had forgotten all the rain and flooding, rather I had not given it a lot of space inside me.
What I had been doing was every time it had been even only a partially sunny day I had written this down in my feelgood diary and in so doing, what I now realised was how, this had shifted my perception of the weather of 2014 into a much more positive place because I had been merely focusing on and cultivating the good weather experiences.