Life is often stressful and filled with doubt and negativity, but it doesn’t have to be, not for you. All it takes is a little refocus to spy happiness.
How often do you find yourself with a mind full of random, useless, unproductive, stressful, or fearful thoughts? Five minutes here, ten minutes there, it can all add up. Not only can poor thoughts be a waste of time, but they can also suck the energy right out of you! We need to keep our minds from straying toward the negative by training them to stay in the present and focus on the positive. It’s time to allow the world around you to be a source of joy, no matter what.
Do you remember playing games on long car rides to pass the time? There were quite a few: the alphabet game, slug-bug, pididdle, the license plate game, and, my personal favorite, I spy.
If you can’t remember the rules to I Spy, don’t worry. This is an easy twist on that childhood game designed to help you find joy in any given moment.
It can be played anywhere, anytime: in the car, at your desk, on your break, at the doctor’s office, whenever you have a free minute or find your mind wandering. You can play alone or with a partner or in a group.
To play the game, you have to look around you for a thing that pleases you, brings you joy, inspires you, sparks a happy memory, or that you find beautiful.
It could be a powerful word on a billboard, a sum of money listed on a sign, a destination you'd like to travel to, a lovely home, an exquisite view, a gorgeous landscaping job, your dream car, a color that you love. It can even be a word that looks like a different word, a view that reminds you of another view, something that gives you a feeling of something else.
The only rule is that you keep your eyes and mind open while looking for things you like. Don’t be afraid to allow abstract creative thought to take over. (If you are driving, don’t forget to pay close attention to the road!) Then, when you see something that moves you, announce “I Spy…” and explain why it brings you joy. Afterwards, list a few things related to what you saw that also make you happy. Here are a few examples from my drive this morning.
I spy mountains: snowboarding, sledding, fresh air, hot cocoa, Jacuzzis, snowball fights and quality time with friends and family.
I spy the word Cove: sea life, warm water, vacation, glassy waves, relaxation, soothing breeze.
I spy dawn: a good time for a surf adventure.
The point is to stay in a constant state of joy by finding joy in everyday moments and things, not just the “special” ones. The goal is to train your mind to always reach for a happy thought, a positive feeling, a good memory, no matter where you find yourself.
If you see something you don’t like, just let it pass by, don’t focus on it. If you are struggling to let it go, then think of its inverse. See a sign that says “Stressed out?” Then it’s your job to shout to the world: “I spy Stress Free!” (If you’re at work, you may want to just shout it in your mind or whisper it quietly).
Why limit your happiness to the things you see? Use all of your senses: listen, feel, smell, taste. Let your mind wander to all of the good things that surface when you focus on things that bring you joy. Then let your soul revel in happiness at all times!