ReadOasis Step 1
Jim sat into a soft, red chair. He looked down, and then he started to cry. “Am I asking too much?” he said. “I just want to be happy.”
Dr. Jones gave Jim a box of paper tissues. “Thank you,” said Jim as he took the paper tissue and blew his nose.
The room fell silent for a moment, and then Dr. Jones spoke. “You can be happy,” she said. Her voice was round and soft. “It’s not that hard.”
“What can I do?” asked Jim.
“Actually, there are many things you can do,” said Dr. Jones. “And the good news is this. By working on your happiness, you can become more successful. You see, happiness doesn’t just come from success. Happiness causes success.”
Jim was listening now. He wanted to learn ways to become happier. Dr. Jones told Jim about a book by Dr. Richard Wiseman. The book is called “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot.”
“The idea is simple,” said Dr. Jones. “You can change your life in 59 seconds. You just need to do a few things that will change your way of thinking.”
Now Jim was really listening. “What kind of things can I do?” he asked in a much bigger voice.
“Well, for one, you can work on being more thankful. And there is an easy way to do it. Every day this week, spend a few minutes writing. Write about the things for which you are thankful.”
“I think I understand,” said Jim. “But could you give me some examples?”
“Yes, sure I can,” said Dr. Jones. “Today’s lunch was delicious. That coffee tasted great. Those flowers are beautiful. My friends are nice to me.”
“I see,” said Jim. “There are many good things in my life. And it’s easy for me to forget, so when I’m thankful, I remember the good things.”
“That’s right,” said Dr. Jones. “So this week, every day write down 5 things for which you are thankful. Then come back next week, and let’s talk again.”
Jim jumped up from the red chair, and he said, “Let’s do it! I’ll see you next week!”
The next week, Jim came to meet Dr. Jones. He walked into her office with a bounce in his step, and he was smiling. He sat down in the red chair, and he looked up at Dr. Jones.
“How was your week?” asked the doctor.
Jim didn’t say anything. He just smiled for a long time. Then he spoke. “It was good. No, actually it was amazing! It really helps to be thankful!”
“That’s great news,” said Dr. Jones. “You know, there are actually many small actions that you can do. And they will make you happier. Do you want to learn a few more?”
“Of course!” said Jim.
“Okay,” said the doctor. “For one, people often buy things when they are sad. Then they feel happier. But the things get old, and the people may feel sad again. And then they buy more things.”
Jim looked at Dr. Jones and asked: “So when I buy things to become happy, my happiness doesn’t last very long?”
“That’s right. But if you buy experiences, your happiness will last longer. Buy a good experience with a friend. And this will make you feel better than buying things.”
“But what do you mean ‘buy experience?’”
“It’s simple. You go out to dinner with friends. You go to a concert. You go on a nice vacation. You go to a movie with friends. You take a drive to the beach.”
“I see,” said Jim. “So I buy experiences with people. And these experiences bring me more happiness.”
“That’s right! And here are a couple more ideas. Let’s talk about smiling. People think that happy people smile a lot. But the opposite is true, too. Smiling can make you happier.”
“That’s interesting,” said Jim. “But is it true?”
“Yes, it is true,” said the doctor. “All these ideas are based on research. Here’s the point. Smile more! The science says that you should try to smile for 15 to 30 seconds. Try to remember a happy memory or event. And try to make the smile real.”
“It’s like an exercise,” said Jim.
“Exactly,” said the doctor. “It’s a smiling exercise, and it works!”
Jim and Dr. Jones talked about many things that day. And Jim learned many simple actions. And these actions increased his happiness. You can read about these ideas in Richard Wiseman’s book. It is called “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot.”