Today I am going to focus on seeking out the funny things in life.
There are two parts to this.
The first is knowing those times when you need a laugh and then purposefully seeking out some thing or activity that you know will provide that laugh. For myself I have several funny books, there is a web-comic I read, and there are certain shows I tape that I know will usually be good for a laugh.
This is the easier part and fairly simple to do, all you need to know is, what makes you laugh and make sure you always have something handy that you can turn to when you need a laugh.
The second part is looking at life itself and seeing all of the times that it is laughable. Whether it is something you do, or that you see someone else do, or that just happens in your general vicinity. For example, yesterday on the way to the grocery store, some guy in an SUV was driving crazy and cut in front of me to get around the “slower” car in the next lane. Now a lot of people might get upset about this, they might honk their horn or swear or make an obscene gesture or so on. Myself I laugh. It’s more of an ironic “Wow, I can’t believe he did that – Some people are in too much of hurry” kind of laugh, but it’s still a laugh, and the body can’t tell the difference, so I still get all of the benefits from it.
Now please understand I did not always have this reaction to crazy drivers. I had to cultivate this reaction. How did I do this? I had to go through the Four steps of behaviour change:
- Identify and acknowledge the existing behaviour: First I had to realize what I was doing: getting angry and upset and stressed.
- Identify WHY you no longer wish to be doing this: It took me a little while to see, but the reaction of anger was not productive. Why was I getting upset at someone who doesn’t care at all about me. Unless I snap and follow them home and become a statistic, then chances are I’ll never see their face, never know who they are, never get any resolution to my anger by confronting it’s source, etc. All I was doing was stressing myself out and why would anyone want to do that?
- Identify the behaviour you wish to put in place of the existing behaviour: In my case it was laughing. Laughing feels good and if I could laugh every time I encountered a bad driver, I figured I’d be ahead of the game.
- Practice and perform the new behaviour until it become a habit: I mentally prepared some things I could say to myself when I encountered bad drivers. When someone did cut me off I’d hear something like “wow that guy is in a hurry” or some silly voice saying “Craaaaazy driver” or something like that that would make me give a little laugh instead of getting angry.
Essentially I had to change my perspective on what it meant to be cut off in traffic. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow.