A while ago I heard Matthieu Ricard, “the happiest man in the world”, speak. I sat beside a woman who made it her personal mission to help me. She saved my seat for me with her beach tote, gave me the names of at least four books I now must read, and shoved her tickets for the rest of the weekend’s events into my hand before I could refuse her. I felt so comfortable with her that I left my purse sitting on the chair beside her when I went to the bathroom. How is it that some people can do that for us?
And then there are others who seem hell-bent on making it difficult ( I won’t mention the large haired woman who sat in front of me and blocked my view the whole time). As an anxiety sufferer, I find that I am often the person who makes it most difficult for me. For example, when the possibility of a friend being angry with me warps my whole mind to the point that I cannot sleep, even as the clock ticks toward midnight.
Why are we our own worst enemies when strangers work hard to be our best friends?
As this lovely woman chatted with me about books on happiness and well-being I found my thoughts drifting (extremely rude, given her considerate nature) to my future, as they often do. I worried about my daughter at daycare, my husband at work, my colleagues at school, my friends. When her voice cut through my anxiety with the phrase, “What went well,” I drifted back into the present. She told me about recent research on how ending your day by listing the positive experiences, no matter how small, can significantly decrease anxiety and depression.
I’ve spent my whole day, my whole life really, plagued with thoughts about what went wrong. It seems so simple, yet so hard, to turn those thoughts around.
So, here goes…
What Went Well Today:
1. I spent time with myself, writing, painting, and reading.
2. I got to watch my daughter laugh and play and live really hard.
3. I laughed so hard my nostrils flared and I made weird noises because of something my husband said.
4. Again, I wrote and read and painted. And my mind has been spinning with words and ideas today. That is a feat, especially since I’ve been in a year and half creative funk.
5. I made a new friend who was kind to me.
That does feel good.
Photo courtesy of Google Images.