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30 days to a happier you: day two ~ exploring your thoughts

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Many professionals use journaling as a tool to help patients discover what may be hidden from the conscious mind. You are going to use journaling over the next 29 days as a tool to help you reinforce good thoughts and break down the negative thoughts that keep weighing your happiness factor down.

Your conscious mind may know the difference between a good thought or a bad thought; but your subconscious mind does not. Your subconscious mind simply stores the information to help your conscious mind map how you should or should not feel about a certain situation. It follows along the theory of hypnotherapy (using the subconscious mind to reprogram the conscious mind’s reaction to certain stimuli). Other therapys focus on the same tactics by discussing your feelings around a certain event and reprogramming your reaction when faced with similar events. Are you starting to see a pattern?

If you missed day one's assignments you can check it out here.

Day Two is about ‘Exploring your Thoughts’. In later days you will learn tips to reprogram your reactions to certain stimuli, but for now, it is important you get into the habit of writing down your thoughts daily. For assignment one you will need the notebook you used on day one.

Open to the next clean page, put the date on top, and draw a line down the middle (horizontally or vertically it doesn’t matter as long as the page is broken up into two sections. Label the two sections ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’. In each section explore what happened during your day and write the event and the feelings associated with the event in the appropriate half of the page (see example below).

Positive:

  1. I read my affirmations today and started off the day right. I find that each time I read these to myself it seems to put a smile on my face. Today I noticed this because I read them in front of the mirror.
  2. I gave my husband a steamy kiss this morning (instead of a peck on the cheek) because I was feeling pretty confident about myself. I think I shocked him, but I know he liked it.

Negative:

  1. My boss called me into the office this afternoon. It should have been a positive meeting instead I was criticized for the formatting on the powerpoint presentation. This made me extremely upset since it was Jackson who created the powerpoint presentation. It wasn’t my fault and yet I was the one who got yelled at. It just isn’t fair.
  2. I was late getting home and rushed through dinner. Burnt the meal. I should be happy my husband grinned and bared the meal but instead I found myself irritated that I had to take the fall for my co-worker regarding the presentation.

In the example above, the individual went from happy to angry, to irritated, to sad in a total of ten hours. That single event soured her day and made it difficult for everyone else around her. First it is important to understand those feelings should be felt, those responses should be faced head on. But it is never good to dwell on the negative for too long.

A happy person has ups and downs. The difference between a happy person and a unhappy person is how they deal with those feelings. In this example she chose to harbor upset feelings. But assignment two is designed to help that individual work through the emotional response and find a solution.

After you have explored your feelings for the day on page one, turn to the next page of your journal. Date it and draw a line down the center of the page like you did the page before. This time the labels should read ‘MY RESPONSIBILIY’ and ‘SOLUTIONS’.

This page is about finding solutions; part of finding a solution is exploring what you could have done to avoid the problem (responsibility) and the other part is creating a plan to avoid problems like this from happening in the future (solution). Take a look at the example below.

My Responsibility:

  1. In regards to the power point presentation I should have reviewed it before I gave the presentation with enough time to fix any errors. I am the one presenting the work and it shines positively or negatively on me.
  2. Just because I was in a bad mood from work I shouldn’t have taken it out on my husband at dinner. If I burnt the meal I shouldn’t have served it.

Solutions:

  1. From now on, regardless of who is helping me create my presentations I will request the materials and powerpoint file a day before the actual presentation. This will give me time to fix any errors. I will also circle back and coach my peer who made the mistake on how to do it better next time, saving me time in the future.
  2. Next time I ruin dinner because my mind is on other things I will suggest take out. If take out is not an option I will make sure I let my husband know before I start dinner about my day so we can work together on dinner (avoiding the ruined meal).

Now look at your Responsibility and Solution column. Did you take responsibility or move the blame onto someone else? In the example above she could have said it was Jackson’s fault. If she did this her solution would have been completely different. If you want to truly affect change you need to make that change within yourself. Be sure that you take responsibility for your actions and find solutions you have control over.

Only after you have completed today’s assignment one and two should you read your affirmations (and going forward also read the previous day’s journal entry and plan as well before you go to bed). Today’s assignments should put you in a more receptive mood.

You will need to complete these assignments every day (at least for the next 30 days). The journaling will get easier, as will taking responsibility and finding solutions. You will find less of the negative happening and more positive over time. Learning from your mistakes and changing behavior take time but the results are well worth it.

More articles on becoming a happier you in 30 days here.

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As always, thank you for reading, feel free to comment below. Have a wonderful day!

*Please note, I am a NOT a licensed psychologist, the tips enclosed in these articles are to help you find your own slice of happiness. Sometimes the problems we face internally within ourselves require clinical attention. Please seek the help of a licensed psychologist or medical professional if things are getting out of your control. Here is a list to help you find a local psychologist that may suit your needs in Colorado.

All articles by Jami McDonald are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent from the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, comments, questions or to submit topic ideas email me at relationshipsarefun@gmail.com

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