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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

A Tip for Happiness: Turn Routine into Wonder

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Dec 28th 2011


hand washing There is one thing we can be assured of in life and that is that life becomes routine. The things we do after enough practice and repetition simply become automatic. It’s just the way we’re wired and it has tremendous benefits. I’m happy don’t need to think about how to walk, drive my car, or speak. However, there are things in life that we miss out on that we can bring alive and in doing so feel more alive in the process. 

I’m just going to introduce one of these to you right now that has been helpful to me and for many people I’ve worked with. The trick here is to find something that you do routinely. In this case I’m choosing washing hands and I’ll tell you why. 

We all wash our hands during the day (hopefully). But why do we do this? You could say, “Well to clean myself so I don’t get sick.” You may have reason for you not wanting to get sick; you don’t want to miss out on work or it’s uncomfortable to get sick. But if you go a bit deeper, the process of washing hands sends the message internally that I care about myself to stay healthy. 

Now you may think I’m overanalyzing this at this point, but as best you can cast the judgments aside and let your experience be your best teacher. 

Here’s the practice:

As you go to wash your hands today, take a moment to recognize that you are lifting yourself up to a healthier place and thank yourself for taking the time to take care of yourself. 

Perhaps recognize that you have hands at all and consider all the work they do.

See if you can do this intentionally and with heart and then see what happens. See how you feel after doing this for a short while and allow that to be the judge. 

Try this out today and let us know what comes up.

As always, please share your thoughts stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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