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Flow Class Activity: What Makes You Happy?

When was the last time you felt a strong positive emotion? Perhaps you felt really grateful, joyful. or excited.

Can you identify the circumstances and the behaviors that sparked the emotion? Perhaps you felt hopeful listening to a TED talk, or loved when your stepson spontaneously threw his arms around you.

Finally, figure out how to make that situation happen again, and–here’s the trick—schedule it. I know that this might sound a little hoaky… scheduling happiness sounds a little like scheduling sex (which is not-so-sexy). But while research shows that trying to be happier tends to backfire, consistently scheduling activities that have made us happy in the past will likely make us feel happier in the future. (How’s that for the science of the blazingly obvious?)

So whip out your calendar, please, and start planning your time around activities that bring you joy. Or inspiration. Or compassion — whatever flavor of positive emotion is lowest hanging fruit for you. Researchers call this activity “prioritizing positivity,” and it’s best done as a way to prioritize those daily activities you most enjoy.

Not sure where your low hanging fruit is? This post provides several research-based suggestions for finding your bliss.

This post is from a series about flourishing from the “Science of Finding Flow,” an online course I created as a companion to my book The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing LessWant to go on to the next class or start the course from the beginning? It’s free! Just go to The Science of Finding Flow course page. Enjoy!