Even though I’m still dicking around with coconut oil, I’m well overdue for kicking off my next lifestyle design experiment. While I’ve got a number of potential experiments in queue, I’d like to avoid carrying out consecutive experiments that focus on the same area of my life. So for LSD #3, I’m going start keeping a gratitude journal. Specifically, I’m going to write down a few things I’m thankful for every night before I make sleepy time. Now, unless I’m way off in my hypothesis, I’m not expecting weight loss or improved physical appearance to be a result of keeping this journal, so it fits my criteria of targeting a different area than LSD #2 did.
Some of the happiest people I know are those who want less and appreciate more. While I consider myself a fairly gracious person, in my experience, putting my thoughts on paper magnifies the affect those thoughts have on me. Actually, there are some biological facts that support that notion. That’s right, I’ve got biology on my side. The brain activity that occurs when a person writes is different than the brain activity associated with thinking – even critical thinking. Essentially, your brain considers writing to be a memorable task but considers thinking as insignificant and routine. By putting pen to paper, your brain logs the content in its “remember for later” section. So, by regularly writing about the occurrences/people/feelings/actions/things that I appreciate, those occurrences/people/feelings/actions/things will occupy more of my headspace and I’ll be a happier person because of it. Or at least that’s Markie’s plan.
I’m hoping that starting a gratitude journal will lead to the following:
1. I become more pleasant (or at least tolerable) to be around
2. I become less critical of myself and others
3. I buy less shit (shit = non-necessity)
4. I make new friends
5. Existing relationships become profound
Above all else, it’s my hope that by writing about stuff that either made me happy or is currently making me happy, the magnitude and duration of that happiness will increase.
I’m curious to find out what themes present themselves in my journal. I’m sure I’ll mention the obvious stuff I’m grateful for like my friends, family, and big muscles, but I’m more curious about the things that I don’t currently know I’m appreciate above. Who knows, maybe I’ll find that I have a profound appreciation for my mail carrier or carbonated water. I’m always learning about myself.
Measuring my progress
Part of me is concerned that this experiment is destined to end up like LSD #1 – where I don’t notice any personal changes but I continue to do something simply because I’ve been told it’s good for me. Well that part of me is a bitch. I’m confident that I’ll be able to gauge my progress because at least three of the changes that I listed above are totally measurable. The amount of money I spend on luxuries and the number of friends I make are quantitative so they speak for themselves. And I’ve got a plan for measuring the profoundness of existing relationships. You wanna hear it? Too bad, I’m telling you anyway. I’m going to pick three people and label each of my interactions with them as positive or negative. At the end of the experiment, I’ll communicate the results to those individuals and let them tell me if they think our relationship has improved. Not super scientific but I’ve got limited resources in which to measure qualitative shit like this. Plus I’m the man and my opinion is the law around here. I cannot stress that enough. Denzel gets it.
Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it goes!