- Misbeliefs about happiness
- Focusing on good
- Building gratitude
- Eliminating sources of unhappiness
- Reducing stress
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- I explained earlier in this series that it's a bad idea to get too obsessed with the past. Either with negative emotions like regrets or with apparently positive emotions like nostalgia because actually nostalgia isn't entirely positive, is it? There's an element of if only I could turn the clock back, which you can't, and an implication that you're not as happy now as you once were. Comparing the present with times that may have been better, if you can believe your selective memory, is only going to make you less happy about the present.
And the fact that you can't go back, the past is the only place you can't visit, is an additional sadness. But maybe we can get some happiness from the past. Maybe going back over happy memories and reliving them can give us that happiness all over again, especially if we could just go back and relive the best bits, the happiest bits, that would surely be a good idea. I suppose it depends on what sort of relationship you have with the past.
If you're positive about the past and the present, then why not have both? But if thinking about the past makes you feel unhappy, then don't do this next bit. So I'd like to suggest that you go through your old photos and wallow in the fun that you had back then. Maybe sit with a loved one on the sofa and flick through some old albums. Maybe sit with your children and go through their childhood pictures or your childhood pictures, which I expect your children would find pretty funny.
I recently got my father to take me and my kids through his childhood pictures and his early days in the Royal Navy, and we all learned a lot about what he did, and also what he's really like. Seeing his youth, we got to see a whole other side of him and what an impressive man he was and still is. So family photo shows are great. You could even hook up to a big TV screen or projector and make a show of it. Dim the lights, have some popcorn, and get immersed in it.
Also, you could make a collection of all your favorite pictures. These could be printed out or in a folder on your computer or tablet. Maybe get a photo frame and leave it rotating in your living room or kitchen where you'll see it every day. Or if you have an old PC or laptop, you can use that instead of the photo frame and save the cost. Or you could have it on your main computer as the desktop rotating to a new picture every now and then. So there we are, extra happiness from some family / social time as well as getting the maximum happiness out of the past.
Who are you going to invite to your photo show and which photos are you going to show them?