What You Do When Doing Nothing . . .

What you do when doing nothing . . . may very well make you happy.

There I was, in the garden pulling weeds, and I noticed that my mind was scurrying about with no direction. I currently am between jobs as many a person in our pandemic world and so my thoughts flitted in that direction. They flitted toward the dangers of the Coronavirus, the people I know who are at risk if they contract the virus . . . here the thoughts went, there they went and before you knew it - I felt unsettled.

Has that ever happened to you?

I think most of us have experienced such thoughts. But here's a better question:

Are those thoughts beneficial in any way?

The answer is obviously no. Most thoughts that make us feel bad have no purpose. They don't serve us in any way. And the good news is that eliminating them is actually pretty easy. As I write about in my book Happiness For Practical People - there are three pillars on which happiness is built:

  1. Awareness
  2. Focus
  3. Habits

Fortunately, I became aware of my thoughts pretty quickly. I stopped weeding for a moment and slapped my arm. I then touched my nose and pulled down on an ear lobe while singing, "I'm just a tea pot short and stout." Why did I engage in these strange actions - to interrupt the pattern. Thought paths are just learned patterns and we can easily interrupt them by taking unusual actions.

After the pattern interrupt, I put a big smile on my face and pictured myself in my mind with a huge smile. I asked myself, "What thought would match this smile?" And I thought about my girlfriend and our latest weekend trip to Bend, having fun exploring, riding our bikes and enjoying the trip. I thought about my children coming to stay with me for the weekend and I pictured us having fun, laughing together and playing non-stop.

Before you know it - I felt amazing.

We don't have to let the current of our thoughts take us out into the dangerous sea. We have control. We have a built in jet ski that will whisk us off to joy and happiness with just a few actions. Let's take control now.

With peace and happiness,

Mark

 

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