My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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A secret to happiness: re-frame something that’s making you unhappy.

FrameOne technique for happiness is to “re-frame” – that is, to change your attitude or your thinking about something that’s making you unhappy.

This sounds Pollyanna-ish, but I’ve been surprised by just how often it’s quite possible, and extremely effective.

For example, I’m writing this post at 4:15 a.m. I woke up at 3:30, and was so wide awake that I knew I’d never get back to sleep. Instead of lying in bed, fuming about the lost hours of sleep (which I really need), I hopped out of bed and headed to my office.

Instead of feeling that I lost that time, I feel like I’ve gained precious time. I cleared out some emails, I took some notes (zoikes, I love to take notes), I cleaned off my desk, and I got a jump on my day by drafting this post.

(Because I knew I’d be up until morning, I’m doing mental work. If it were 1:00 a.m., and I thought I might be able to go back to sleep, I wouldn’t do any thinking – I’d be tidying up the apartment instead, a task that doesn’t roil the brain.)

A friend told me that when his kids were younger, he and his wife would try desperately to sleep late on the weekends, but their kids were up by 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. After months of frustration, he decided to give up the dream of extra sleep. He’d get up, get the kids dressed, and take them to the park so his wife, at least, could stay in bed.

Those mornings turned into a highlight of that time of his life – the early morning light, the quiet streets and empty playground, the time alone with his sons.

I suppose “re-framing” is a more scientific way of saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But just because a piece of advice can be found on a Snoopy poster doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying.

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Another fun thing I’m doing, up in the middle of the night, is cruising around the Internet and stopping at sites I’ve never explored before. I don’t have any particular reason to be reading the Deception Blog, but what a treat to feel like I have the time to explore all the interesting material there.