The second important thing you need to know about how to do the 12 happiness boosting activities listed in “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky, is:
Timing and Variety
Humans are the dominant species on the world today because of one thing – our ability to adapt.
This is why changing your life circumstances generally doesn’t lead to lasting happiness, because we adapt to the new circumstances fairly quickly.
Unfortunately, this also means that if you keep doing the activity you choose in the same way day after day, you will adapt to doing it and will probably not receive all of the positive emotions it once gave you.
We combat this by doing the activities with the right timing and changing things up now and then with variety.
So, how do you find the right timing and variety?
Lets take the activity of Acts of Kindness for example and brainstorm different ways we can do this.
- Do 5 acts of kindness every Monday
- Do 1 act of kindness every day
- Plan out one big kind thing you want to do for someone you know every week.
- Do 3 acts of kindness every second day.
- Do 2 acts of kindness on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every second Saturday, while also planning one HUGE thing you do for a friend that year.
- Start a Kindness group that spreads kindness to the community.
- Do a random act of kindness whenever you see someone in need that you have the ability to help.
- Every Sunday think of kind things that were done to you in the past week and plan to do something kind for those people this coming week.
This is just off the top of my head and as you can see there are LOTS of options here.
There are lots of ways to do it and you just need to find the right timing that works for you. So try a few different things, some you will take to more than others, so stick with those and experiment within them if possible to find other timings and ways to do it.
So timing requires a little thinking and work on your part to find what works. Fortunately, variety is pretty much built into most of the activities.
If we still use Kindness as an example. Chances are you aren’t going to be doing the SAME act of kindness for everyone, you’ll be doing different things for different people week by week and as such getting all the positive emotional benefits.
So all you really need to be aware of, when it comes to variety, is: are you starting to lose imagination and doing the same things over and over again, because if so, you’ll start to lose the high from it.
The trick is to keep it new and fresh, which, by the way, with Kindness is REALLY easy to do if you are just doing random acts of kindness, because chances are the random people you meet are not going to need the same thing time after time.
So when you are choosing your activities, remember to experiment a little with timing and keep them always new and imaginative, this way you will maximize the benefits from each activity.
Until the next time, keep laughing, and finding optimal timing and variety to do so.