Continued from part 1: 

Here is an example of one of my entries. I typically write in greater detail, but I’ve been getting a bit lazy with that over the past month or so.

April 6th. A Sunday.

5, 8, 10. A crappy start followed by continuous improvement.

photo (29)

The handwriting skills of a 3rd grader: the third star says “Great session” not “great sex,” although both would definitely qualify as A+ star material.

A breakdown of the day:

(-) = when I felt off

(*) = actions taken that had a positive result

  • I woke still sick. Wasted most of my morning trying to recover and was very unproductive in the process. (-)
  • Had a simple lunch of brown rice with steamed kale with pastured butter and soy sauce. It was a satisfying and energizing lunch. (*)
  • Started shedding off the sickness during my pleasant 25 min (probably bumping some ’90s hip hop) drive to Dublin to tutor my econ student. (*)
  • Had a very productive and fun tutoring session (*)
  • Decided to drop by Lowe’s to pick up a plug for the bathtub (the lever in the bathtub was broken (*)
  • Made an awesome korean pork belly feast with grilled veggies and a homemade sauce to use with the collard greens wraps. It was the first time I used steamed collard greens instead of lettuce. A definite upgrade in nutritional value and flavor! (*)
  • Took my first bath in a year or more. Added coconut oil for the first time. Soothing. (*)
  • Watched an inspiring Netflix program on Coach John Wooden and his success philosophies. (*)
  • Meditated for 30 minutes (*)

Creating this happiness journal brought my attention to another reality of life– that everyone experiences off days, sometimes randomly without a logical trigger. Whenever I catch myself in these rare down days, I now try to roll with it by fully exploring the world through that point of view rather than reacting negatively and trying to ignore or surpress the unwanted feeling.

I try to observe the differences in sensation objectively, paying attention to the changes in my perspective, the physical differences in experience, and noticing how it compares to when I am at my positive energy peak.

For example I may notice how on an off day I don’t feel like going anywhere, and how much of a burden it is to have to converse with a stranger or even to go for a walk. It’s interesting to do the same tasks that you normally do and see how much your mind and body resist wanting to take any action when you’re feeling down, and how effortless and energetic you feel when you’re feeling good.

Staying mindful while in the midst of strong emotional states has given me great insight into the importance of maintaining good mental and physical health, and how much unnecessary struggle and energy is drained when living in a fear-based or depressed state of mind.

Observing a down state objectively, and accepting it as the reality of the moment without developing aversions to it, instantly creates separation between the negative feeling experience and yourself. When we have strong negative reactions our mind becomes fully consumed by the situation. Our imagination exacerbates things by crafting projections of the future based almost entirely on the present negative moment, creating an illusion of permanent despair, and in the process adding unnecessary suffering.

However, objectivity and neutrality converts emotional states from an identity into simply a thing (a bundle of fleeting physical sensations and thoughts) by removing this mental fuel.  By responding in this manner, we are able to loosen the formerly overpowering grip our emotions had over ourselves, allowing for healing and restoration back to a balanced state to begin.

Whether it is a positive emotion or a negative one, they are essentially the same. They are experiences. They make up the present moment, and that’s all that life contains. Try to live fully with the awareness that whatever you are currently experience will too pass. An even stronger mindset to start cultivating is to look for the good in all of life’s speed bumps.

If you KNOW that everything can be viewed with a positive meaning, that a valuable lesson is hidden in even the most painful of experiences, you will be able to grow and strengthen an unshakable optimism and faith to continue following your life path with a smile 🙂

Start a happiness journal as a daily reminder to become more conscious of your own life’s events and empower yourself to start choosing how to interpret it in your favor.