How to Use Your Camera to Refocus Yourself Toward HappinessBy David Boudreau
We’ve all been there. That midafternoon energy slump or that low-mood day. Maybe we’re not getting anywhere with a work project, or maybe we find ourselves worrying or ruminating about something and can’t seem to let it go.
I’m certainly no stranger to that feeling.
I’m not exactly sure how or why this happened on one particular sunny autumn day, but I managed to change my usual do-the-same-thing-and-expect-something-different pattern and actually stumbled on happiness by doing something different. It was a watershed moment, but I really wouldn’t recognize the full impact until months later.
Here’s what happened.
I was at the desk of my home office, struggling to stay focused on a project with a deadline while the clock was ticking away, reminding me of other time-sensitive priorities. I was quickly getting more stressed, aware that as my stress levels were increasing, my brain power resources were heading in the other direction. Even though it was still early in the day, I felt brain-weary.
However, rather than my usual response of noncompassionately forcing myself to buckle down and plough through my low mood and low energy, I pushed myself away from the desk, grabbed my phone and jacket, and headed out the door.
I had no idea what I was going to do. My brain was simply barking out to me, “Get out of the house and get out of your head,” while another voice was protesting, “You don’t have time for this.” As my feet touched down on the sidewalk on my street, I compromised and decided that I’d get out of the house, and hopefully out of my head, for ten to fifteen minutes with a walk around the block. Surely that would appease both of my needs.
I had the sense that this was an experiment. That was what I was telling myself. If getting out of the house and walking for ten to fifteen minutes did nothing for me, I would cross that off my imagined list of stress busters.
I had learned, but hadn’t really successfully practiced, the idea of taking a break from brain-draining activities and interrupting self-talk by doing something different. Also, I expected the physical activity of going for a walk to give me a mood lift and maybe even relieve some of the anxiety and stress.
I didn’t want to walk around the block and continue to ruminate about my project and my other unmet priorities on the horizon. Instead, I took out my