I am convinced that the cultivation of a cheerful demeanour is one of the great clues to a more consistent happiness in life, and that is why I am making 2015 my Year of Cheer. I am going to attempt to cultivate new habits, do new things and to renew some old mental, psychological and moral behaviours.
And I know what you’re going to say: Oh, allow yourself to be angry, Walter! Let it all out. Don’t tamp down those negative states of mind. To which I answer: Who said I was going to? In the privacy of my own home I am very much in touch with my shadow side. I just happen to believe – really quite strongly – that our society is best served when people make the effort to smile at one another.
I think there is an element, too, of resilience and fortitude. The cheerful person is, in fact, a strong one. I am a delicate flower, and feel things quite deeply. But what I have discovered, after 44 years on this earth, is that spending a lot of my time complaining about my misfortunes or discussing them with others does me no good at all. Quite the opposite.
So this year I am going to become cheery Charlie. I am turning that frown upside down and exploring the possibilities of keeping my sunny side up.
Every Thursday I am going to let you know about a new plan, habit or scheme I am putting into place in order to increase my nest-egg of good cheer. I would love to share the journey with you, so if you have any ideas for things you think would make me feel just that much better, do make your suggestions.
Cheerful habit #1
Daily Journal Writing
I have kept a journal, on and off, for about twenty years or more. I record many things - the albums I buy, the books I read, the films I see. I also record my goals and dreams, the attempts I make at self-improvement, and just general observations about life, whenever I remember it. I always keep a journal scrupulously when I travel, and these have been the basis for my two books.
Journal writing has long been championed as a way to stay in t ouch with your emotions and deal with private thoughts and worries in a practical way. My friend and mentor Stephanie Dowrick is a great believer in journaling, and I have also done the famous Progoff Journal Workshop many times.
But I have never, ever been able to keep a daily journal. Even when doing the Artist’s Way program, which requires 3 pages daily of freewriting, I always manage to regularly skip a day for one reason or another. But now I am consciously trying to create a more cheerful self, so I will do my level best to keep a daily journal.
I’ll let you know how I go.