Here’s an exercise I’ve become a big fan of:
When something lovely happens, savor it by telling someone about it or writing about it or reliving it in your mind.
I went to a terrific big band show with my father. We snapped some pictures with the lead trombonist. I texted the photos to my mother, telling her how snazzy the evening was. She texted back wanting to hear all about it.
I got a sweet email from someone. I read it a few times. Before I went to bed, I jotted down some things I was grateful for about the day and wrote for a good long while on that email.
A friend whose time is pulled in 27 directions once waited 15 or 20 minutes to share some kind words with me. I played that over and over again in my mind, her patience and her sweet, warm face.
What all this does, for me at least, is extend the lifespan of that good feeling.
I’ve got a keen eye and long memory for the not-so-lovely. But this exercise – which I came to by way of positive psychology, lived experience, and wise souls – helps to amplify and extend the lovely moments, vistas, points of connection that fill our ordinary days.
And if I do tell, write, relive these good things, if I give them even a fraction of the attention I give the negative things, my days don’t feel so ordinary.