After noticing that our evening conversation usually ended up in a muddle of work-related details that neither of us really wanted to rehash, Hart and I changed the daily conversation by changing the question we ask each other. Instead of asking how each other’s day was or what happened that day, we ask what was good about the day.
We noticed a change immediately. Instead of digging into the nitty gritty of the day or focusing on frustrations, we’re both cheered by talking about the good parts of the day. If either of us encountered a major frustration in the day, we still talk about it, but the small irritations rarely get air time. The whole tone of the evening feels different when we start by sharing the good parts of our day.
Although we made this change years ago, it’s been particularly valuable in the last year. When daily life has a constant high-stress undercurrent (with spikes of even higher stress), it can be hard to see the bright spots. Sometimes we have to look extra hard, but we always find them.
I’ve taken to asking friends this same question, usually by text, and it’s been a great way to connect. I started with a friend who has chronic migraine and was going through a particularly rough spell with depression and anxiety on top of it. I know how hard it is to see the good in times like that and was worried she was bogged down by the grief. She appreciated the prompt to look for something positive in the day and now regularly texts me the same question. Sometimes it’s hard to answer, but I’m always grateful for the reminder to look for the good. And now I regularly ask the question of even more friends. It’s a great way to connect and usually provokes a smile.
Why am I telling you this today? Yesterday was a hard day for both Hart and me and we forgot to ask this question. Talking about what was good about our days wouldn’t have negated the bad parts, but we both could have used the levity. I missed it and I felt the heaviness even as I went to sleep. I can’t know for sure if I would have felt lighter if we’d remembered to tell each other the positive parts of our day, but experience shows I probably would have.
What’s been good about your day today?