A few weeks ago I shared that, on a whim, I had responded to an email invite and joined this new site called Happify. Yes, there was some skepticism and I wasn’t sure how long I would stick with it. But I have honestly found that it has ever so gently changed a few things in my already pretty positively leaning mindset.
When you join, you take a little quiz to rate your relative level of happiness. I started out at 75. Like I said, I’m rather skilled already at looking at silver linings. Then, you pick a track to join. The tracks focus on different aspects of how your mind works to engage in a happier way of thinking. Topics include ‘Coping Better With Stress’, ‘Appreciate What I Have’ and ‘Nurture My Body and Soul’. There are many others as well. Once you enter a track, there are tasks to complete over the course of a week. Some are simple little quizzes to take, some are soothing puzzles to do, and every one makes you stop and just THINK for a moment about things happening in your life. They mostly focus on small things, but a few get a bit bigger in scope, though nearly all take no more than a few minutes to document. You might need to read a set of instructions and ponder them for a day or two. That’s pretty cool though because over those days you cannot help but view the day’s events through the lens of the assignment.
Rather miraculously, this different perspective helped me out at work in a big way. I’ve had this ONE co-worker (not in my department) who is HE biggest thorn in my side. Now, my opinion of her has been validated frequently when other employees have experienced her frustrating way of communication (demanding!). She never makes an effort on her own to figure anything out, even when all the information is at her fingertips. Every month when I provide her a schedule for her department, the email barrage begins, I grit my teeth and at least a day and a half of pissy emails are exchanged until she is finally satisfied. This month, I just happened to have a task on my track regarding empathy & disagreement. It encouraged me to try to view a negative situation from an entirely different perspective – hers. I know, that’s basic right? We all KNOW we should put ourselves in other people’s shoes especially when mired in disagreement. But…it’s not so easy. The ego is strong and it is SO MUCH easier to get defensive and stand our ground and push back and be RIGHT because we know we ARE.
I challenged myself to complete the empathy task and hey, whaddya know? Oh, she started off as usual, but rather than letting my blood pressure rise and letting her queries annoy me, I pretended I was in her role and feeling helpless about not quite understanding how I could complete my task without help and I imagined what she expected in return for a response. You know, the also classic “treat others as you would want to be treated” – another basic life lesson that is easily forgotten in our busy lives. It’s so much easier to toss off a quick response than to take an extra five minutes and craft a decently respectful and complete reply, especially when we have let ourselves get wound up.
Other tasks have really helped while 16 had his knee surgery and as I took on the final volunteer job. I’ve managed to juggle these things along with the new writing job and keep up with running and yes, relaxing, as necessary to recharge. I LOVE the Savor and Aspire skill tasks.
I also LOVE that we are strongly encouraged to support the other Happify members. Even if I don’t have time to check into my own tasks on a particular day, I just like browsing other member’s posts and sharing a smile or getting inspired by the ways they are bringing more joy into their lives.
I took an update quiz tonight (you do that every 2 weeks) and my score is now 83! Happify has so far been a surprisingly beneficial part of my days. I try to keep the S.T.A.G.Es in mind all the time, especially when faced with a less than positive task or person.
Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, Empathize.
We can ALL benefit from bringing more of those qualities into our daily life.
**These are my own thoughts, going through my head tonight after I finished another complete track. Not an ad, no one at Happify asked me write this, this is all ME! Get it? Got it? GOOD!**