I ran a workshop at the Foreign Office the day before yesterday. It was interesting for me to go back to a place where I had worked for so many years. I’ve done the journey so often I switch into autopilot mode on my way there. I had mixed feelings – nostalgia for being in the heart of Whitehall working on fascinating issues, but confidence that I’d picked a path that suited me better.
One of the first exercises we did was Three Good Things – think of three good things that have happened in the past 24 hours. It never fails to amaze me the power of this simple exercise. We are so programmed to look for the problems in our lives that taking time to notice the good things really changes our perspective. As often happens, some people in the room couldn’t think of a single good thing. I tried asking questions and probing a bit. Two people had come together and were clearly supportive friends. I pointed this out to them – that’s a good thing! Smiles started to appear.
So easy! Well…not quite. I started trying to keep a gratitude journal last year, because I’d read about how effective it was at increasing happiness. But I couldn’t maintain the practice. I kept forgetting to write it. So, I decided to make an app to help me, because like most of us, I’m afraid my phone is the last thing I look at at night. I’ve been working on it for a few months now, and hope to release it very soon – some screenshots below. If you are interested in being notified when it’s out, just sign up here. It will hopefully look pretty because I’m using my dear friend Nev’s artwork. His website is here if you want to see more. I’ve also used it to snazz up my site. Hope you like it!
Anyway, I’m bound to write more on gratitude over the coming weeks and months so I’ll sign off now. But before I do, can I recommend writing Three Good Things down that have happened over the past 24 hours? You have to write them down or it doesn’t count… So in that vein, I got a nice email from someone who enjoyed the talk I gave at the Foreign Office, I had fun Whatsapp banter with my family, and I saw my dear friend Jenny last night and watched the truly talented and brilliant Sarah-Louise Young perform in a very fun show at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.