My iPhone could be my best tool for having a happier military life. Not only do I have the fun of checking my email 600 times a day hoping for a message from my husband, the alarm feature alone reminds me to build a whole lot more happiness into my life. Try adding one of these alarms to your smart phone life.
Once a Week: Keep it happy.
We have all heard how gratitude boosts happiness. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I tried that. It bored the heck outta me. So I quit doing it. It turns out that kind of response to a daily demand to be grateful is kind of normal. One study compared people who wrote about gratitude three times a week to those instructed to write about gratitude once a week. They found that participants who counted blessings three times a week got no benefit from it. They just got bored. The counting itself became one more thing to do.
Here is the interesting part: The group that only counted their blessings once a week continued to find the experience fresh and meaningful over time. It actually did boost their happiness. So try setting a weekly alarm on your phone. I have a text message that beeps me right before I go into church (when I am most likely to be annoyed by getting all these people out of the house with their shoes tied). That buzz really does help me take a deep breath and feel a whole lot happier.
Once a Month: Keep it real.
Holly Scherer, coauthor of 1000 Things To Love About Military Life, has an alarm set on her phone to go off on the 10th of every month (the day she got married.) The alarm reads What is it like to be married to me?
“Some months the answer is ‘he is so lucky to be married to me, he has got it so good!’” Holly said in a recent interview. “And then there are other months I find myself cringing and thinking, ‘Oh dear, poor guy, I’ve really been treating him awful lately and taking him for granted’”. No doubt this is a win-win on the happiness factor. But Holly thinks she’s the one who get the biggest benefit from this wake up call, because when she treats her husband like the love of her life that he is, she gets more kindness and love in return.
Once a year: Keep it fresh.
On September 19 a reminder alarm comes up on my phone and computer. This was the day my husband and I met. On this day, I thought that Navy people were always stationed in cool places like Key West. On this day, I thought I could “handle” a deployment. On this day, I thought my husband was the most fascinating human being on the planet. I still think this last one is true. But for all of us who work with young military spouses, it is absolutely necessary to remember how we were just like them once upon a time.