Being happy isn't just something you achieve by ticking off certain boxes (or else we'd all do it). It's a mental state that you have to practice over time. To get better at it, use the AIM method.
Photo by Eric E Castro.
As tips site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, the AIM method is designed less to help you achieve something that will make you happy, and more to help you learn how to be happy no matter what. It consists of three basic concepts:
- Attention: Where you focus your attention is where your emotional energy goes. If you're constantly seeking out things that stress you out — like hate-reading bad reviews for a movie you like or negatives news stories about a person you can't stand — then you'll train yourself to be unhappy. Instead, spend your time and attention on the things that make you happy.
- Interpretation: Contrary to how we think, most things are really up for interpretation. Maybe your partner left the dishes out because they don't value you enough to care, or maybe they just forgot. You can't choose what happens, but you can choose your interpretations.
- Memory: You can also choose which memories you focus on most. Many unhappy people choose to relive the bad memories over and over, constantly thinking about what they'd say to the person that hurt them or relishing how bad their life is now. If you want to be happy instead, focus on the positive memories you have and let the bad ones go.
Of course, none of these strategies are solutions to actual problems you have. If someone is actively harming you, reinterpreting how they behave is just going to enable them. If you're in a bad situation, a good attitude is only going to go so far. You still need to get out. However, you can still make things easier on yourself by not seeking out more unhappiness when you don't have to.
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