Having a Bad Day? I Call Bullshit

From: http://serafimabogomolova.com/2012/05/a-bad-day-you-bet/Have you ever been around someone who’s having a “bad day”? For whatever reason, some happenings in their day have not gone as planned, and they are in a bad mood. They’ve labeled the whole day as bad. They are not fun to be around, especially if it’s our significant other.

How we define undesirable happenings in our lives is very important. Sure, these happenings are not what we hoped for and they have negative consequences for us. But the extent of those consequences is up to us. If you are viewing the world through dark-colored glasses because you’re having a “bad day,” I guarantee more bad things will happen to you. The amount of “positive” or “negative” you experience every day is largely up to how you perceive and react to events.

Consider that a negative event doesn’t actually make your day bad. It just means that you’ve had a negative incident. It’s an isolated event that doesn’t have to lead to more negativity. The meaning that we ascribe to an event has a large impact on how we actually experience it.

This is relevant in relationships too. If you or your partner perceive unhappy events as ruining a whole day, it can bring you both down. It’s difficult to thrive together unless you both choose to shift to a broader and more optimistic outlook.

If you’re a person who views days as “good” or “bad,” consider how this is impacting your partner, friends, and coworkers. Next consider how you can choose to accept a bad event for what it is and deal with it, without making it bigger than that. One suggestion, if you find your mental path on a downward spiral, is to identify three things to appreciate that day. Know that it will make you and everyone around you happier.

(This was originally posted as part of Pacific San Diego Magazine's Relationship & Sex Blog series.)

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sex Therapist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker

Grateful160 for Counting Your Blessings

“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” ~Humor Columnist, Harold Coffin

http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/gratitude.htmlWant some help counting your own blessings? I’m a huge proponent of doing “daily gratitudes,” where you write down three to five things you are grateful for in the past day. This activity is a keystone of the burgeoning science of happiness field, and there is mounting evidence that such activities have a profound impact on increasing optimism and improving happiness. (In my field, this is quite related to building happy relationships and fulfilling sex lives.) When reflecting on your day, your appreciations need not be the big things in your life, such as your partner, job, or car, but can be the little things, such as a seeing a spray of wildflowers on the side of the road, cashing in your “10th one for free” on your coffee card, hearing your favorite song on the radio, or eating at a delicious Thai restaurant.

If you struggle with accountability when starting new habits such as this, you can now sign up for an online gratitude journal called grateful160. Reminders are sent to you via email or text to assist in recording your daily gratitude list. When you reply to this correspondence with your gratitudes for the day, they are stored online for you. Every Friday you receive a review email listing all your daily gratitude entries for the past week.

I’ve been using this program for the past three weeks, and I’ve found the gentle nudge to record my gratitudes through email keeps me more accountable. I really enjoy the weekly recap and I’ve been surprised by how much of the week I had already forgotten. This review of what I appreciated was also an experience of savoring my positive experiences, which is another hallmark of the happiness research. I’m not sure what the “160” represents in the title, but grateful160 can support you in appreciating your life, 365 days of the year.

(Originally posted as part of Pacific San Diego Magazine's Love & Sex Blog.)

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sex Therapist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker

Act Happy Week! Should you fake it until you make it?

Is faking it until you make it a good idea regarding your happiness? Actually yes - it's not just an irritating Polyannna approach. Sometimes it is helpful and powerful to put a smile on your face and consciously switch to thinking positively, as a way of transforming your outlook. This can then cascade into greater creativity, health, and relationships.

Rachel Curtis, a journalist in Chicago, writes about "Act Happy Week" and interviewed me about these topics in positive psychology. Read article here.

Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D.

Sex Therapy & Relationship Counseling in San Diego~