It’s Friday: time to think about YOUR Happiness Project. This week: Sing in the morning.

It’s Friday: time to think about YOUR Happiness Project. This week: Sing in the morning.

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

One of my resolutions is to “Sing in the morning.” It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone in my family — particularly in my case, because I’m tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.

The idea to “Sing in the morning” came from the Big Girl, a few years ago.

“What did you do at school today?” I asked the Big Girl.

“Well, we all talked about how our parents wake us up in the morning.”

“What did you say?” I prodded, with curiosity and trepidation.

“With a good-morning song.”

Why she said this, I don’t know, because I’d only done that a few times. After hearing her comment, though, I began singing a good-morning song every day.

What a nice habit, to start the day with a good-morning song!

One of the most powerful happiness-project lessons, and the Third of my Twelve Commandments, is to “Act the way I want to feel.” We think that actions follow feelings, but often, feelings follow actions. By deliberately starting the day by singing – that is, by acting cheerful, light-hearted, and energetic – I can help generate those feelings.

Also, because of the psychological phenomenon of “emotional contagion,” we “catch” the emotions of other people. If I can manage to act light-hearted and energetic, I can infect the other members of my family with good cheer.

The morning sets the tone for the whole day, so I’ve found that it’s worth making a special effort to make mornings run smoothly – whether that means organizing everyone’s stuff the night before, doing the “evening tidy-up” before going to bed so the apartment isn’t too messy when we emerge in the morning, or singing a garbled version of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” as I get the Little Girl up from her crib.

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One of the greatest challenges to happiness is pain. It's very, very hard to be happy when you're in pain, and managing pain is very difficult. I was fascinated to read this story on Gimundo, about a virtual reality game called SnowWorld that's used to help burn victims manage their pain. It turns out that just as pain affects happiness, happiness (which can take the form of an engaging distraction) also affects pain.

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