The other day someone said to me, “How do I know what I want?” Man, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question in the last 5 years I could pay off all my student loans. If I had a nickel for every time I used to ask myself that question, I never would have had to take loans to begin with!

How do we know what we want? The answer is actually right in front of us: pay attention to the five minutes.

It was only five minutes when my personal party of 5 all gathered in the kitchen for a snack break after a day of being stuck together in the house for more weeks than we expected. It was 5 minutes in the midst of high stress that turned into 5 solid minutes of laughter.

I don’t remember the details, just the feeling of relief that came from joking and teasing like only family can do.

It was the 5 minutes that I stored away to get me through the hours of monotony of lockdown then and now I come back to it often. Sometimes, I return to those five minutes for some relief from grief. I’ll come back to those five minutes to help move through overwhelm. I’ll step back into the feelings of those five minutes to help pause the anxious tossing and turning that sometimes creeps into night.

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Would you believe me if I told you pleasant experiences in life, on average outnumber unpleasant experiences, 3 to 1?

There has been research to prove it. But I bet you wouldn’t believe me.The problem is, our brains are wired to remember the unpleasant stuff so that we can avoid future pain. They’re good little caveman brains, always looking out for our safety.

So, our minds dwell on danger, on negative comments, and bad times, so that they can be on the lookout to prevent any of it from happening again. So, we have to focus, purposefully focus, our energy on the good. We have to remember the five minutes of laughter. We have to intentionally feel, deep in our bones, the joy that comes from… you fill in the blank.

I started by using a journal. It can be paper or notes on your phone, whatever is easiest for you to remember to do. Just write , at the end of every day or beginning of each morning for the day before, 3 good things.

You can choose the feeling. Are you grateful, or calm, or joyful or content? Whatever you want to feel, try to recall times during the day when you felt it-even if it’s only for five minutes.

Then, practice savoring those moments. Tune in so that you’re not just catching them when they happen, but you’re really filling yourself up with the juicy warmth and buzz that comes from those moments.

I learned over the years that I am most at peace when I am with people I love and we are laughing. I adjusted a lot of things to make those moments happen more and 99% of the time I soak them in like I may never get them again.

Now, on days when I am decidedly not laughing, I can concentrate my focus on the time that felt good, and warm, and fun. Even if it was only 5 random minutes in the kitchen in the middle of Blursday the 214th of Marpril, I’ve got the feelings locked in and can use them as a tool whenever I need.

Current minutes might get me down, but soaking in the laughter to remember it when I need it most? That gets me through because it’s what I want the most. I know, because I paid attention until I found it, then focused on it every time I could.

~ Cristie XOXO

If you’re feeling lost and you’re looking for support, I offer personal coaching. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a complimentary 15 minute consultation.