Why is grandma so happy? Research shows that as we age, we remember the good and forget the bad.
Older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.
This isn’t just speculation — research shows thinking about the good things actually does make you happier.
Leaving yourself reminders- a simple post-it note- is very powerful.
Studies show simple reminders help people act more ethically, quit smoking, and save more money.
A few well placed post-it notes can have a major impact for you too. Try leaving these notes somewhere you’ll see them every day- write them on your bathroom mirror in dry erase marker, leave a post it on your coffee pot.
Here are three ways reminders can help you create big changes in your happiness, confidence, and optimism:
Make note of three things you’re thankful for.
We think of happiness as something deep and profound but it’s often as simple as keeping the good things “top of mind.”
This technique has been proven multiple times. University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains:
Write down three things that went well today and why they went well…Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now. – Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
Make a note of a couple accomplishments you’re most proud of.
University of Chicago psychology professor, Sian Beilock recommends looking at your resume. Reviewing your credentials can remind you of how talented you are and boost your confidence levels.
“I immediately think about my research credentials, a trick I developed after discovering that getting people to think about aspects of themselves that are conducive to success can actually be enough to propel them to a top performance and prevent choking.”- Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To
Your resume is designed to make you sound impressive to others — and it can have the same effect on you.
Scribble down something you’re looking forward to.
Having something each day (or even week) keeps us powerfully optimistic. Anticipation for these events can actually be better for us than the event itself.
Some research has shown that people viewed vacation in a more positive light before the experience than during. This suggests that anticipation may sometimes provide more pleasure than consumption simply because it is unsullied by reality.
The trick here is finding things to look forward to if you don’t necessarily have any plans. Make plans, then write those down to look forward to.