Dr. Martin Seligman, father of the positive psychology movement and author of more than a dozen books (including Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life), says that "happiness-building exercises" can increase contentment because they can change a person's memory and perception of the past. To boost your own happiness factor, consider these three thanks-giving techniques:Exercise One
Try this every night, either in written form or as a mental exercise. Ask yourself what three things happened in your day for which you feel blessed, thankful and grateful. Then (this part is crucial) ask yourself what you did to make each good thing happen. Do this faithfully, and you’ll discover a shift in the way you go through your day, as well as the things that you choose to notice and amplify. When lying in bed at night if unfinished business pulls at your thoughts, ask yourself, “When was I at my best today?” or "What three things went right today and what did I do to make those good things happen?"Results: Often people are unaware of their own role in good fortune. For example, someone cannot make a beautiful sunset, but they can choose to take it in (or not). This exercise is so simple it may feel a bit silly to many. However, what we find is that when people do the exercise, they are LESS depressed and much happier one month later, three months later and six months later. Dr. Seligman adds, "I now find myself during the day looking for things I can think about before I go to sleep. So I go around processing the day for things that will be fun to call up to mind at It seems to change memory, attention and the way you go through the day."
Set aside a block of time-an hour, a half-day or a full day, to indulge in your favorite activities. Block that time on your calendar and do not let anything interfere. Next, carry out the activities just as you had planned. Savor each activity by deliberately concentrating on each moment and being thankful for it, by taking mental pictures or collecting physical souvenirs, by focusing on sharpening your perceptions and by attaining complete absorption in the activity, then sharing those moments later with others.
Results: This exercise is a pleasure/mindfulnes
Pass along the happiness ... think about the various aspects of life beyond yourself that would be thankful or benefit from the gift of your time and talents. Develop a plan for intentionally using one or more of your strengths in the service of this institution, group of people or idea.
Results: Meaning is defined as 'being attached to something that you believe is larger than yourself' ... like groups of underprivileged people, or ideals that you believe are worth fighting for. While it might be powerful to analyze service which you are already engaged in, the point of this exercise is to go beyond that to the intentional creation and execution of a new plan of strengths-based service.