Change Your Habits and Cheer Up

I’ve been feeling down the last couple of months. Dissatisfaction with work, the stress of a new baby, etc, etc. Nothing horrible – just a general feeling of depression that has lasted a bit longer than my up and down cycles typically do. A few weeks ago, once I was able to rationalize what I was feeling and identify the problem, I began looking for ways to combat it. I came up with two new daily habits which have had a nice, uplifting effect.

To start with, I’ve been using a different parking lot at the office. I used to park as close to the main entrance as possible. But now I’m purposefully parking a little further away in a secondary lot near the back door. This lengthens my walk into work from 20 seconds or so to about a minute. But, more importantly, I’m now walking through a nicely kept green space to reach the back door. Shade trees, grass, and hedges I can run my hand over as I walk past.

I sit in a brick room (with windows) staring a computer for eight hours a day. This extra bit of outdoor time, no matter how brief, gives me a bit of a high each of the four times I enter or leave the building during the day.

On top of my new route to work, I’ve also changed the password on my office computer. For going on twenty years now, I’ve used the same, simple password for low-risk situations like logging into my machine. I’m sure I’ve typed those eight characters tens of thousands of times. I’m so used to typing my password that I no longer think about it – all eight keystrokes are pure muscle memory.

But, after reading this article, I decided to change my password. It’s now love your life.

I realize that sounds incredible cheesy, but it’s really quite powerful. Forcing myself to type that phrase ten to twenty times a day is a constant reminder to cheer up. I’m fully aware and grateful that my place in this big universe is 99.9% more fortunate than anything or anybody else out there. I know that I essentially won the cosmic lottery when I was born. But knowing that and remembering that throughout the day are different things. And, by changing my password to a simple, useful little phrase, I’m much more likely to keep that idea in the front of my head. It’s had a noticeable effect on my mood – a short, daily affirmation that reminds me of how lucky I am.

If there’s a takeaway from this short post, it’s to take a moment and identify the simple habits in your life. Then look for a subtle change that can make a positive difference.