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Keep a Full Life Diary
How do you avoid the trap of the "focusing illusion?" One way is to employ a system that helps broaden your attention beyond money, weight, relationship troubles or whatever concerns you. The simplest way to do this is by keeping a "full life diary." Where, in a traditional diary, you write about whatever daily events come to mind, a full life diary includes sections specifically earmarked for health, relationships, meaningful work, enjoyable recreation, spirituality and personal goals. This broader structure will remind you about other areas of your life where you might be experiencing success.

Choose one day a week to review the diary entries in an effort to remind yourself that although you might be struggling in some areas, you are a winner in others! This does not mean, of course, that you turn a blind eye to troubles and setbacks. A full life diary is simply a means of remembering to appreciate what goes well even as it highlights problems.

How to find happiness in difficult economic times

Dr. Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener are the authors of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, which won the 2008 PROSE award for best book in psychology. The father-and-son team has published, collectively, nearly 300 scholarly articles on happiness.

Your Happiness Plan