I think of my journey here as one similar to the “Lean” philosophy of continuous improvement. You keep making small changes every day and, every once a while, these small lessons cluster into a theme that can be synthesized and shared.
One such theme that has emerged over the years is being mindful about stimuli that are negative energy triggers. Negative energy triggers are actions that result in me feeling consistently worse. Now, some of these could just be one-offs. But, when they are regular occurrences, they push me to change behavior. An example of a few negative energy triggers that resulted in changed behavior are –
– Checking my phone first thing in the morning while in bed (keep the phone out of the room)
– Spending time on my Facebook feed (use – and love – Facebook without the feed)
– Reading the news and repeatedly getting exposed to negative headlines (eventually resulted in consuming news with just 2 excellent emails in the morning – Quartz and The Economic Espresso)
– People who made me feel worse about myself (avoid them once I understand what is going on)
Of late, I’ve found two negative energy triggers –
– Going multiple days without “deep work” or buckling down and focusing on a task that matters
– Any online debate or discussion around Donald Trump – except for data driven articles on FiveThirtyEight
The “deep work” trigger is one I am very happy about. It has pushed me to make lifestyle changes I’d love to make. The second has resulted in me being careful about places where there are online discussions around American politics. Part of this is because of the amount of hate that is inherent in these discussions and part of it is just disappointment of sorts at the situation.
A big part of defaulting to happiness is eliminating negative energy triggers. As with all important changes, that process begins with awareness and acceptance. And, with these intentional changes comes growth.