Say Cheese: How To Be Very Cheerful Indeed

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Indy Lifestyle Online
4.30am. Quiet Time.

It doesn't have to be 4.30am but this is the time favoured by Dr Carlson (after his early-morning yoga session but before anyone else is up and about). "It's absolutely silent outside and I'm in complete solitude," he explains. It certainly is quiet. So quiet you may well fall back to sleep - but! why not get ahead now and get in your random act of kindness for the day?

5am. Random Act Of Kindness.

Anything will do, as long as it's anonymous. Slip out and clean your neighbour's car. If the alarm goes off everyone in the street can get up and Become An Early Riser (too much time asleep is wasted time).

7am. A Happy Spouse Is A Helping Spouse.

Bring them a cup of coffee in bed. While they are happily enjoying it, remind them the gutters need clearing and the loo needs unblocking and no one has vacuumed the living room since April. Motivated by your nurturing Nescafe, perhaps they will leap out of bed and get the lot done before breakfast.

9am. Take Your Breaks.

Excellent notion: start with a coffee break as soon as you arrive at work.

10am. Brighten Up Your Working Environment.

Dr Carlson favours Beanie Babies donated by his kids. His favourite is a purple hippo called Happy.

11am. Make A List Of Your Personal Priorities.

Be honest now. Drag racing, line dancing, macrame ... Work probably isn't even on the list. Fall into a depression as you realise how little time you spend on things you really care about ... no, no, that can't be right. Be positive: plan to change your life to accommodate all these things. Where can they be fitted in? Start to realise why getting up at 4.30am might be useful.

1pm. Let Go Of Battles That Cannot Be Won.

There's no point in wasting energy on struggles we have virtually no chance of winning, says Dr Carlson. So order that sticky toffee pudding with lunch.

2pm. Complete As Many Tasks As Possible.

What, just like that?

2.05pm. Learn To Delegate.

Brilliantly delegate the completion of all your tasks!

5pm. Take Advantage Of Your Commute.

This is your chance to improve your mind with books and tapes. Rejoice in traffic jams, train delays and bus breakdowns. And while you're queueing with your shopping, reflect on the fact that you are part of a privileged minority of the world's population that actually has the opportunity to shop in a supermarket. Be thankful for the opportunity to wait in line.

6pm. Stop Exchanging Horror Stories.

Spouse returns. Don't whinge endlessly to each other about how bad your day was. It only makes you both feel worse. "If we have a difficult day, it doesn't make any sense to recreate it in the evening," warns Dr C. Talk about things that went right! Oh go on, there must have been some.

7pm. Experiment With Your Back Burner.

Actually there's no food involved. This means holding a problem in your mind without actively analysing it - keeping it on a low simmer, as it were.

8pm. When In Doubt About Whose Turn It Is To Take Out The Trash, Go Ahead And Take It Out.

Just don't trample each other in the rush.

10pm. Live This Day As If It Were Your Last. It Might Be!

This is your thought for tomorrow, something to go to sleep with, not an excuse for a last party. "This is not a prescription to be reckless or to abandon your responsibilities, but to remind you of how precious life really is," explains Dr Carlson. Not so foolish, really.

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