Wednesday, January 27, 2010

As I Feared...

I dropped the ball and stopped doing the lists.

But I will say that even though I didn't complete the two weeks, making Anti-Gripe lists really did help me feel more cheerful in general. Perhaps a retaking of the Life Satisfaction Quiz will back up my findings...

Hey! This time I scored a 21- Slightly Satisfied! I still have a lot of things I want to do with my life, and am not exactly where I want to be at the moment, but I remind myself of all the good things I do have, and appreciate them.

Well done, gratitude!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Days 6, 7, & 8

Day 6
  1. People who support me when I'm having a bad day
  2. My car
  3. That my neighborhood makes me happy
  4. Being able to watch my favorite tv shows on the internet when I can't afford cable
  5. That our heating bill was not as bad as we thought it would be.
Day 7
  1. The surprising peace that forcing yourself to just forgive someone and get it over with brings
  2. Rice, for being inexpensive, filling, and versatile! 
  3. Freedom of speech
  4. The caring people in my life
  5. Alternate routes to success
Day 8
  1. That a friend chose me as a confidante
  2. One door closing and another opening
  3. A really cool session followed by lunch with a new (but no less dear) friend
  4. Waking up in the morning and how it makes me feel like part of the world again!
  5. A rapidly filling social calendar! : )

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Days 3, 4 & 5

  1. Over-the-counter expectorants
  2. Chicken ph (delivery!)
  3. Garlic
  4. Friends and friends of friends
  5. The telephone
  6. Dancing, and dancers
  7. Government assistance
  8. Goals
  9. The internet, for helping me get and stay in touch
  10. People who are making their lives what they want them to be.
  11. Prayer
  12. Cheap, filling food
  13. Vitamins
  14. The jumbo packs of toilet paper and paper towels that my parents bought me when they came to town.
  15. Mi familia

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Days 1 and 2

I admit that on the night of Day One I failed to write my first list. But this was because I watched a documentary about yoga and the words of one of the gurus they interviewed were so wonderful I wanted to just let them marinate for a little while and enjoy the happiness they made me feel. So I started the next night.

Day 1
  1. Good friends
  2. My family that cares about me
  3. Phone calls to my parents.
  4. Public libraries.
  5. Delicious, world-class coffee with good friends.

Day 2
  1. My roommate
  2. Baking chocolate chip cookies
  3. Friends who go out of their way to help you.
  4. Mamma calling to say hi when she hadn't heard from me.
  5. Unexpected visitors offering to help with household chores.
Last night I went out and ended up staying out muuuuch later than I intended, and when I came home I fell right asleep. So I'll do two tonight, which will be a nice challenge because I seem to have caught a cold. Clearly, it's a good thing this isn't a proper scientific experiment or I would have ruined it already.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Intro: Why a happiness experiment?

Why indeed?
  1. Tonight I read this article, entitled "Gratitude leads to psychological and physical well-being," by Dr. Steve Wright, after watching this clip which was posted online by a friend. 
  2. I've had an annoying evening rife with frustrating technical issues concerning a printer I just bought and unfulfilled tasks that I wanted to complete today, so I'm primed for needing cheering up. Trying it when I was already feeling pretty good would have been cheating, wouldn't it?
  3. I am prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder and, since this is my first winter in Chicago, I think it would be nice to try something to help boost my slightly flagging spirits during the dark, cold months. 
Dr. Wright's article includes a snippet from a book called Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman about keeping a gratitude journal and seeing if your satisfaction with life increases. The challenge is to do this for two weeks and see if there is a change in your score on the scale provided. 

So, step 1 for me is to take the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Here I go.

My score comes back as 18, which makes me "Slightly Dissatisfied." I think that's pretty accurate. While I do have my major needs in life taken care of, such as food, shelter, clothing, and family, many of my goals have yet to be realized. 

All right, tonight I will begin my first day of keeping a gratitude journal. Calling it a "gratitude journal" makes me cringe, as though I'm a dissatisfied housewife taking suggestions from Oprah. I'll call it... hmm... my "Anti-Gripe List." All I have to do is think of five things for which I am grateful at the end of each day for two weeks. Since I started a whole new blog just for this, I guess it wouldn't hurt to post my list the next day, just to make sure I stick with it to the end.

Until tomorrow!