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I began the 100 Day Happiness Challenge on 15th December 2014 and finished it on 24th March 2015. I am a generally happy person and appreciate things most of the time, but the challenge was to find something different to appreciate every day, without fail. And that was what interested me.
It’s easy for me to appreciate the same things day after day, such as my relationship with my husband and my kids, or this wonderful place where we live in the Dublin mountains, or my cat. Finding something different forced me to notice things more, to pay extra attention to my feelings and to actively look for things to be happy about and appreciate. That has to have a positive effect on anyone’s life.
Some days it was difficult to find something to photograph, other days it was difficult to choose just one thing. My phone is full of photographs that I didn't post. There's a collage at the end of this article of just a few.
There were times when I was just too tired at the end of the day and wanted to go to bed instead of uploading photographs and writing captions. But I noticed as I went along that I had begun to build up a following on this blog and that motivated me to continue.
Other times, there was stuff going on that was bringing me down, and that was when I found it most challenging. But just looking for something to appreciate often lifted my humour right there and then.
And there was one day I really couldn't find anything because I was feeling so negative, (My late mother would have said that I got out of bed on the wrong side) so I made that "Yes" poster and hung it behind my computer screen. This worked far better than I expected. Not only that, every time I raise my eyes and see it, it still lifts my spirit and motivates me.
There are other days that stand out in my memory for being particularly special, such as the day we first met our newborn Granddaughter. That was also the day I began the challenge so it was a good beginning!
Ever since I was a child, I've loved Christmas Day and this year was particularly special because my youngest daughter was home from the US with her boyfriend, and of course we were joined by my eldest daughter and her fiancé.
And while the sisters were together, we took the opportunity to go wedding dress hunting. That was a lovely day out. I was such a proud mum with my two beautiful daughters!
The real advantage of taking the challenge is that I have the habit now of looking for more things to appreciate every day. One of the lessons of mindfulness is that there is more right with us than wrong with us. We are wired to notice the negative but that’s not very conducive to a happy and successful life. Appreciation re-wires that negative bias so that we notice the positive first. And it’s not just the obvious stuff, like our loved ones and our home; there is positive stuff happening all the time. Taking part in this challenge demonstrated that to me in a very powerful way.
I said at the end of the challenge that I’d continue with in on Instagram. But already laziness has set in. Or maybe it’s just that it’s no longer necessary for to me to photograph everything. I can appreciate it without sharing. But it’s not that I can’t find things to appreciate every day. That bit comes easy now.
|A collage of just some of the photographs I didn't post. Sometimes it was a difficult choice.|
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Enrol in my Mindfulness Meditation course here for just €12 (US$10) for a LIMITED TIME.