When the alarm greets another day your first thought sets its tone. Is the thought one of joy or “groan, another day full of this and this and that. ” You hit the snooze button, and blankets shut out the day for a few more moments.
Your thoughts determine how your day goes, regardless of what really happens. A day is just a serious of events. Some are determined by our actions. Some are determined by the actions of others. It is how we view those events that determines if we have a good day or not. Most days are pretty mundane: wake up, drive to work, deal with the typical “catastrophes” that entails business, drive home, eat supper, watch television, and finally sleep. Beauty is found in mundanity if we only look.
Events are not good or bad. All events are neutral. They simply happen. It is how you view them that determines how good or bad they are. Even the most terrible of events, such as death, can have good outcomes. Most days are not world shattering, although media’s exaggerations often make you think otherwise. Having a good day requires you to cut through the exaggerations and appreciate events for what they are.
A good day starts with our waking thought. If you take a breath and listen to the morning, you are alive. That is a good start isn’t it? Listen to your spouse breathing beside you. Listen to the cacophony of your children. Sirens shriek. Trains rumble. Birds greet the dawn. Focus on your breathing and fully listen to how the world greets a new opportunity to live well.
To have a good day you need to stop and focus periodically on the present. At the office take a minute to listen to the whirl of the computers. Think about how many people were involved in their development. Think of how they help grandparents and grandchildren keep in touch despite distance. Think about your co-workers. They have families and love ones that only want them to have a good day too. Breathe and be aware of your breathing. Don’t worry about the usual office politics. It only creates anxiety and division. Material wealth can’t make a day good. Only your thoughts can shift the day. If your boss threatens you, think about the validity of the criticism and the boss’s state of mind. Perhaps you really should do this or that differently. Maybe the boss has a sick son at home and is worried. Breathe and pay attention to how you think. Negative thoughts ruin good days.
On your drive home don’t let the traffic or talk shows ruin your day. Certainly there is trouble in the world, but as you seek to gain a little peace you can change it. Every time you act out of compassion and not anger, you help someone else have a good day. That other person can become inspired to do the same for someone else and so on. Eventually everyone in the world can be touched by your act of compassion. On your drive just breathe and notice the clouds dancing in the sky. Notice the trees and the other drivers. Think about how they too only want to be home with their families. If you really think about it, you are already home as long as you are aware of the moment.
When you make it home, be home. Leave work at work. Embrace your spouse with your full attention. Exercise. Sit down and play with your children. Be present.
How to have a Good Day Checklist:
- Start the day with a mindful outlook. Focus on your breathing and all the wonderful things that greet a new day
- Thoughts determine if you have a good day or bad day: keep them calm and compassionate.
- Take time throughout the day to be present. Focus and count your breathing. Notice the people and things around you without judgment.
- Realize material things don’t make a good life. Thoughts do.
- Notice the beautiful things on the drive home.
- Be considerate toward your fellow drivers. They only want to be home too.
- Leave work at work.
- Embrace your family with your full attention. Spend time with them.
- List the good things that happened as you fall asleep. Don’t leave out the beautifully mundane things.
- Be present and pause before acting.