A Money Coach in Canada

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It took an app, of course, to get me to do it. God forbid I use cursive and a book, even if its a moleskine book, to note the pieces of my life for which I am grateful. It took an app and a challenge to mark up to 1000 items for which I am thankful (I’m at 236 FTR) because I didn’t believe in it, not really, that gratitude journals were worth the effort, the minuscule effort, to lift up my eyes, take note and *make* note of the this and thats which make my life, well, make it also wonderful in the midst of less-than-wonderful.

What we focus on grows, it’s said, and I’m not sure that’s true. It defies my logic (or perhaps signifies my lack of imagination?) to believe my thoughts, my shambling thoughts, have much direct influence on my outer world. But what I have become sure is true is this: As I increasingly orient towards the things that are good in my life – that which is true, that which is quality, that which brings life, that which brings contentment, that which brings delight, that which endures – this new app-enabled-praxis is generative of a gentle, permeating easiness with life, even the less than wonderful parts.

What is that worth?

This shouldn’t have to be said, really, what the elderly voice says, at about the 5 minute mark. It shouldn’t have to be said. But it does need to be said to me, and probably to you too. Our little busynesses, our self-absorbed attention devoted to our various hurts and holes in our hearts that we all carry, our blinkeredness –we need reminding. And then, reminded, we rediscover time, we feel a little more whole and our vision expands, if only our peripheral vision, and if only for a day.

BTW, I’m pretty certain the voice is that of Jean Vanier.

Your new car. Your new relationship. Your new Fleuvogs. Your amazing vacay. Your promotion.

If you’re like everyone else, cold, hard science says these things will bring you a boost in your well-being for a length of time between a few weeks to a few months, then it’s right back to however happy you felt (or didn’t) before these entered your life. (As a point of interest, a study in Germany found getting married provided a boost for 2 years on average, before the individuals reverted to their baseline experience of happiness). Why does this happen? We are hard-wired to adapt to, as in get used to new and good things in our life and take them for granted. Kinda sucks, but there you have it.

Want to get the most happiness for your buck?

A recent study gives two clear ways we can significantly slow down the adaptation process.

1. Active appreciation of the new item or experience. Appreciation is the psychological opposite of adaptation say the authors of the study. It amplifies the various good components of the new item thereby regenerating the feel good responses. It turns out those gratitude journals are probably extending your happiness and lowering your need to buy the next bright, shiny object.

2. Variations of the new item maintain the feel good responses as well. For example, new apps on your iPhone bring back its original sexiness and thrill. Or using your new car for different purposes – road trip, carpool, volunteering – will sustain your sense of pleasure in your new vehicle.

photo credit: hurricainemaine