When I was in high school, one of my English teachers used to say: “If you take a walk to hunt blueberries, blueberries are what you’ll find.” He was trying to explain why there are so many interpretations of certain Bible passages, but I didn’t get the point he was making until I was in college years later: Our search for meaning is prejudiced by our preconceived notions. If we’ve already decided that we’re looking for blueberries, we will miss the huckleberries along the side of the road.
His argument was that we need to keep an open mind, but for the purposes of this exercise, I want you to do the exact opposite. For at least one week, restrict your media diet to nothing but positive, heart-warming, optimistic stories. I am not suggesting you settle for news that you would consider meaningless drivel. If your cousin posts sappy, sentimental links on Facebook that drive you crazy, ignore them. On the contrary, I recommend you ferret out stories about things that genuinely inspire you: perhaps the next life-changing scientific study, a profile about superhuman volunteers at the other end of the world, or exciting feats of derring-do. You get extra credit if you forward the article to friends or relatives who could use some sunshine in their life. The goal is to mindfully hunt for happiness and light, even if you’re more at home on the dark side!