Happiness in 30 days or Less (and it's free)!

By Paula Kibbe

Some colleagues and I were recently discussing success, the book "The Power of the Subconscious Mind" and how the subconscious can impact one's success. I was reminded of this when I was bombarded by negative, attention grabbing headlines in the news. For example:

  • "Doctor's Plea for Bomb Suspect's Brain (ABC News' website)"
  • "Probe eyes slain Canadian jihadist (CNN.com)"
  • "Ugly Stuff to Come in MJ Death Trial (CNN.com)"
  • "Doomed Factories Raced to Fill Orders (WSJ.com)"

As you read those, how do you feel? Sad? Tense? Short of breath? Nervous? Now how would you feel if you came across a headline that mentioned happiness -- yes, happiness! Somehow, buried under all those heavy headlines I found the one that doesn't belong (remember the days of Sesame Street and "one of these things is not like the other"?). The headline article read, "You Can Buy Happiness, but Not with Money" and the subhead teased, "An investment in gratitude pays valuable dividends, especially when times are tough." WOW, I'm already feeling intrigued, hopeful and eager - I can get something that makes me happy and it's free? The article appeared on MSN.com, written by Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, Rodale.com, and highlights the work of Martin Seligman, PhD, and his use of gratitude in helping people with depression.

I'm grateful to have seen a glimmer of happiness amongst all the negative noise of those headlines! The big takeaway for me is that if you reflect on the things for which you are grateful you can improve symptoms of depression! The article discussed a 50-person study conducted by Dr. Seligman; participants who described themselves as severely depressed were instructed to keep a gratitude journal, listing daily three things for which they were grateful. After 15 days, 94% of the study participants reported feeling significantly less depressed. Individuals participating in a placebo-controlled group were instructed to list three childhood memories each day and did not experience an improvement in their depressive symptoms.

If reading news headlines can be depressing and if your subconscious mind is processing all the negative, is it any surprised people feel sad or depressed? Add to that our friends and family who have been laid off, who have had to give layoff notices, are overworked, overwhelmed by family pressures, financial challenges, physical ailments, etc. So how do we counter that and fill our subconscious mind with good? Invest in yourself, your future and your happiness by keeping a gratitude journal. I'm sure you've all heard of "The Secret." If you haven't read, watched or heard about it, it's about the Law of Attraction and includes many references to gratitude. So how do you begin to see your way to that job promotion, new career opportunity, landing new prospects or shaking a general feeling of malaise? Keep a gratitude journal for the next 30 days! Over time, your subconscious gets the message that there are good things going on in the world and you begin to feel differently - happy! Each day jot down three things you're grateful for. As I type this article, I'm grateful for:

  1. Dr. Rossman's coverage of Dr. Seligman's study
  2. the sunny days and warmer weather that come this time of year
  3. the beauty of a new hanging plant at the walkway of my home

The small investment of taking a few moments to end the day on a positive note will pay off big in feelings of happiness, whether you're feeling depressed by more than just the news headlines or not!

Please visit our facebook page and share with us what you're grateful for or let us know how your feelings change as you move through your 30 days of journaling! Now that's "Breakthrough Thinking for Your Real World!"