I would like you to think back to an earlier time. One that you can remember clearly. Let’s try for…….this morning. Right when you woke up. The first few moments where probably cozy and delightful. Half asleep and half awake either relishing a few more minutes of calm and quiet or already excited about a new day. Either way that brief time was most likely interrupted and over run by the voice in your head reminding you of a host of unwanted negative thinking.
So go back to this morning and recall how it was for you.
Since most of the negative thoughts and concerns we have never materialize we use up a lot of energy and time that could much better spent.
Therefore I propose the following easy exercise to help you form and practice a new habit you might call The Morning (or anytime) Happy-7up.
Just as in any sport, cooking, selecting investments, cleaning or training a puppy not to pee in the house, the more you practice the better you get at it.
Preparation – make a list of 10 to 20 specific experiences you recall when you were very happy. These can be from childhood up until right now. Actually write this list out. In addition to thinking and recalling these memories writing them and seeing the words brings in additional brain activity and reinforces the memories and their concurrent bodily sensations (feelings). Feel free to write out additional details of these experiences. Time, place, weather, smells, sensations, others present etc. Even imagine watching the experience on an Imax sized screen with Technicolor and Dolby sound.
When you have the list select the best seven experiences.
Practice and memorize these seven so that one after the other they will play in your head. Make up a song or a pneumonic like “Row, row, row your boat” etc.
The goal is to be able to have these seven memories available in full color to play in your mind. And to play these seven to out scream the usual morning (or any other time) blues that automatically and spontaneously seem to be the usual default voice in your head.
Just as the last song you hear on the radio in the morning driving to work plays in your head all day, the usual negative default storyline lingers as well.
As soon as you wake up or start to become aware of any nagging thoughts coming to mind STOP and replace that with your Happy-7up.
By having your memorized list of seven happiness memories ready to go you can set up your day in an enthusiastic positive direction.*
Simple but very effective.
*another great time to recall your Happy-7up is falling asleep or back to sleep when you are bothered by repetitive worrisome thoughts.