I have to confess; I'm a bit of a self-improvement junkie. I read tons of articles and books on the topics of happiness, productivity, and general health and well-being. This is what I do for fun.
One concept that has been proven to increase happiness is gratitude. It's very powerful. You can't be angry, resentful or sad AND feel grateful at the same time. Showing gratitude automatically puts you in a better mood.
Yesterday, I listened to a short talk on gratitude on the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. It kind of blew my mind, and I still think about it.
Here is what Sam said: Suppose you are stuck in traffic and get frustrated. Or you feel irritated because your favorite flavor of yogurt is not available in the supermarket. Or you miss a train by 30 seconds and feel like the whole world has something against you. There are literally billions of people in the world who would immediately trade places with you. Who would be so happy to have the kind of problems you have. Those people live in countries torn apart by war. They have to fight every day for enough food to feed their family.
Imagine you are diagnosed with a disease that will profoundly impact your quality of life. Wouldn't you immediately wish yourself back to the moment where you missed the train and had to wait for 5 minutes? You realize that it wasn't that bad after all.
Often, we get all stirred up by silly small things. Instead, let's pause and put those in perspective for a second.