As Annie Dillard writes in her book, The Writing Life, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Eric Zimmer understands this better than anyone. For his podcasted titled The One You Feed, Zimmer talked to more than 100 psychologists, mindfulness teachers and life coaches about how to overcome fear and foster happiness.
He found out there are 3 simple strategies that everyone can immediately deploy to become happier today.
As Zimmer says: “We have a choice in our lives, in our behavior, and in our thoughts, as to what we want to focus on and what type of people we want to be.”
Here are the 3 strategies you can get started with immediately become happier.
Even if it’s just for two or three minutes a day, a daily meditation practice helps you to be more present and aware of your own thoughts. By meditating consistently, it will help to prevent your mind from working in autopilot.
“Happiness is predicated on being aware. It’s important to start training that muscle.”
If you’re a beginner and want to learn how to meditate, here’s an article that will get you started:
2. Set phone alarms to fight automatic scrolling
Did you know that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms design their feeds to keep you scrolling? YouTube, Netflix and Facebook set up autoplay of videos when you’ve finished watching one to keep you in the app.
“We have a natural desire to distract ourselves with our phones, which is not always a bad thing, but you should be consuming something you care about,” Zimmer says. “The more we are conscious about how we spend our time and do things that matter to us, the more content we will be.”
You can become happier by setting alarms that limit how long you use Facebook and other apps for. Studies have shown that when people limit the amount of time they use Facebook, they become happier.
3. Play the alphabet game to derail ruminating thoughts
Zimmer recommends the alphabet game for people who find themselves with lots of negative and ruminating thoughts.
Start with the letter A, and name something you appreciate that begins with this letter. Then move to B, and keep going until you get to Z.
The game takes a while and it will help you break free from unhealthy thought patterns.
“It brings your brain back and can be more effective than just positive thinking. The puzzle aspect helps gratitude stick more,” he says.
Here are some more articles on how to use mindfulness to be happy:
- Here are 5 things Buddhism says will make you happy. And they’re backed by science.
- A mindfulness expert reveals 10 ways to cultivate a positive mindset and change your life
- 20 Quotes on Mindfulness That Will Inspire You to Make Every Second Count