The Guide to a Happy Life: Reframing the Little Stuff


If you can't change it, change how you feel about it. 


I've had a getting my shit together kind of day. You know the ones: actually getting around to those neglected tasks that cause you to groan on your to do list. Maybe it's laundry, or cleaning, or reorganising. For me it was many simple life admin tasks, including paying two fines that had been hanging over me for months.

Now these weren't big fines, but I'm a forgetful person and between loosing a room key and leaving a book behind in Nepal I owed about $30. It was just enough to be irritating, and aren't fines the worst? You haven't got anything for your money except the uncomfortable reminder of how forgetful/good at losing things you are which, let's face it, no one likes to be reminded of.

But for some reason today I decided enough was enough. It was time to pay them once and for all so I gathered together the money and made sure it went to the right place. The irritation of spending money for nothing soon drifted away as it occurred to me how great it felt to be taking responsibility for this. Something that could have left me feeling resentful turned into a positive sign about the way I was treating my life. 

A friend of mine once told me about the way her boyfriend viewed the washing up (if this sounds strange, just stick with me). He, she told me, always embraced menial tasks as being a joyful thing to do because they were inevitable. By his logic, feeling good about household chores would mean that he would both get them done and be happy about it, a winning combination if you ask me. This is a classic example of reframing: nothing about the situation changes but everything about your mood does.

Now I'm not talking about the big stuff, although I've written a lot about that on here before. I do think reframing with big events is an incredibly positive step to take, don't get me wrong, but that's usually my focus. Instead today I wanted to think about other ways to incorporate reframing into my life. 

I'm coming to believe that it's how we feel about everyday activities that can have such a significant impact upon our life. When lots of small rituals become sources of enjoyment, our day will seem so much happier compared to a groaning and getting on with it technique.

I've started to combine cleaning with an episode of Jane the Virgin (anyone else utterly in love with that show?) because it's so much more fun when I'm gasping at the drama. The motivation of the feeling of clean sheets makes washing them so much more enjoyable, and I get to add another point to my mental "feeling like a great adult" piggybank. Even essay writing is being fuelled by an excitement at my opportunities to learn. But it's important to remember that these weren't my first thoughts: cleaning, eurgh, laundry, groan, essays, no thank you. The key to reframing is pushing past the negativity and finding whatever silver lining exists in the cloud. 

So who's with me? What will you reframe in your life today?  

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