Oracle of Happiness (OOH!)

I made myself a present!

I made it a few weeks ago. It was super easy to make, and it’s super easy to use.

I call it my Oracle of Happiness. The name is awesome because I can leave myself notes that say “Did you OOH today?” and then I smile and pull out the OOH.

The OOH is a little deck of cards. Each card has a simple activity that makes me happy. I made it out of index cards, cut in half to make the cards little and adorable. I used colored pencils to write and/or draw on each card.

I like to start the day by shuffling the deck and pulling out a card. If the activity on the card is something I want to do RIGHT NOW, I do it RIGHT AWAY. If the activity on the card is something I want to do later, I leave the card out where I’ll see it, so I remember. If the activity on the card is something I’m not sure I want to do today, I might pull another card or two to give myself some more options.

When I first got the idea to make the deck, I had a hard time getting started. It can be hard sometimes to do something really nice for myself, especially something that feels so out-of-the-ordinary. To help me think about what I wanted to include in my deck, I started with 4 categories: Body, Brains, Connection, and Soul. I then brainstormed a list of 11 activities for each category. The Body category includes things like “give myself an ear massage”, “cook one of my favorite dishes”, “practice yoga”. Brains activities include “do a crossword puzzle”, “go to the library”, “study a totally unfamiliar topic”. Connection activities are about my connections with other people, so there are things like “offer to help a friend with something” and “write someone a thank-you note” in there. Soul activities include “give myself a Tarot reading”, “draw how I feel right now”, and a bunch of different writing activities since that’s one of the main ways I feed my soul.

Once I’d done this, I had 44 ideas right there to put on my cards, and suddenly I started thinking of all the other things I wanted to put in my deck that hadn’t made it onto the list yet. I’ve added 20 more things since I started! The great thing about a deck of cards is that I can always add more.

I have a couple “rules” for my Oracle of Happiness. They’re all basically the same: The Oracle of Happiness is my way of giving a gift to myself every day. It is never for making me do anything I don’t want to do.
1. Only things I like to do can go in the deck! Activities that I feel like I “should” do, but don’t really want to do, don’t go in this deck. “Clean the kitchen”, for instance, might make me feel happy AFTER I do it, but I don’t LIKE to do it, so it doesn’t go in the deck.
2. If I pull a card and I don’t want to do the activity, I get to try again. I get to try again as many times as I need to, until I find a card with an activity that I want to do. If I look at the card and say “Crap, do I have to do that?”, the answer is always “No, I do not! Try again.”
3. It’s great if I do at least one a day. It’s not “required”, but it’s great, and it totally “counts” as a “to-do list” item.
4. If I’m feeling stressed, anxious, angry, bored, whatever…I can stop what I’m doing, grab a card, and do that activity as a way to shift gears. Most of the activities are variable in time commitment, so whether I need a 5 minute break or a complete extended interdimensional energy shift, I can find something in the deck to help.

I’ve been using my OOH just about every day since I made it about six weeks ago, and I’ve experienced DRAMATIC improvement in literally EVERY area of my life as a result. I’ve been more motivated to work on important tasks. I’ve been more skillful in my interpersonal interactions. I’ve been able to deal more effectively with stressful situations and to pull myself through PTSD episodes with a much quicker recovery time. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself!

I would love to invite you to do something similar, if this seems like something that might work for you! Maybe you’d like to make your own deck of cards, or a book or list or app or some other wild idea that hasn’t occurred to me. If you’d like to share with me about what you choose to do, I’d be thrilled — or, if you’d rather make it your own personal project and not share it with anybody, or if you want to share it with different people who you choose yourself, that’s totally okay too! I don’t “own” this idea in any way and I am happy for it to be yours too.

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14 Responses to Oracle of Happiness (OOH!)

  1. EllieDi says:

    I dig it! Self-care FTW!

  2. Lola says:

    Totally Cool! I love this idea. Can I steal it? Can I pay it forward?
    You rock!

    • choirqueer says:

      Please use it! No stealing necessary!

      • Lola says:

        So I have started to make my list of OOH cards, including:

        write some poetry
        draw a bit
        learn more spanish
        go for a hike
        watch a sunrise or sunset
        take a casual walk
        read something inspiring
        take my bike for a spin
        do one of the exercises in the 3 AM epiphany
        http://www.amazon.com/M-Epiphany-Uncommon-Exercises-Transform/dp/1582973512
        do one of the exercises in A Course in Miracles
        contemplate my navel
        call a friend

        any other suggestions?

        • choirqueer says:

          OOH, great list! And I’m totally going to check out that book. I’ve put a request in at the library.

          A lot of mine are really specific activities that only make sense to me because I made them up. And a lot of them are journaling activities because writing makes me happy. 🙂

          Here’s one…”celebrate a holiday”. When I pull that card, I either invent a holiday, or I go to http://www.holidays.net/dailys.htm and choose a holiday that already exists that day, and I come up with a way to celebrate that holiday.

          Some others: play a game online. cook something totally new (and blog about it if i want). write myself a love letter. offer to help a friend with something. freewrite for 20 minutes. play with my Tarot cards. read a book. meditate with an audio recording. write a prayer. talk to a tree. write a song. hot cocoa pajama party. bake cookies. watch silly videos. invent new words and use them. take a nap. do a crossword puzzle. draw how i feel right now. ear massage. write someone a thank you note. go to the library.

  3. Jeanne says:

    It’s a lovely idea and I enjoyed reading about it.

  4. karencee says:

    OOH! =)
    Love it! Thanks for sharing this idea Oliver Danni. There are some index cards in my drawer that have just found their purpose in life. I know what I’m doing on my day off on Friday. I’m definitely making my own OOH!
    Note to self, it’s time for sleep … no staying up silly late to start making mine now. That’s also good self-care.

  5. Cara says:

    This is such a fabulous idea!! I am so impressed with this–contemplating an OOH of my own 🙂

  6. Simone Seol says:

    How did I discover your blog just now? I am in loooooove.

    I’ve tried to do something similar before but, believe it or not, I couldn’t think of enough things that would feel like a true ‘present’ to myself. I got so many great ideas from this, though. I can tell that committing to this would make every other aspect of my life super awesome. Yay!!!!

    • choirqueer says:

      Hi! Hello! Welcome! I fell in love with your blog this week too…I think I was on one of my “visit all the blogs from one of Havi’s posts” adventures, which is usually how I find the best blogs.

      I often get ideas from other people’s blogs. This list has some good ideas: http://www.steffmetal.com/101-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up/
      I also have a lot of journaling activities in my deck, because I love journaling, so whenever I try a new journaling exercise and really enjoy it, I add a card to the deck.

      Some of the cards in my deck are activities I can’t always do — like, if it’s the middle of the night and I pull “go to the library”, well, the library’s closed, I’ll probably choose a different card for now and go to the library in the morning. Or, some might be activities that I’m not always in the mood to do — like, if I’m in the mood for an energetic activity and I pull “take a nap”, I might laugh and choose a different one, knowing that another time I’ll be very happy to take a nap when I draw that card.

  7. Sue T says:

    I found some 1/3 width index cards, each with a single hole-punch in a corner. They can be “strung together” on a key ring (the easy-open/easy close kind) and would be fun to use for a portable OOH. I will try it!
    Also, I’m thinking, what about using this idea (*separate* batch of cards) for chores I don’t really want to do? They could be “gifts for my future self” instead of horrible chores.
    Thanks for telling us about the fabulous OOH!

  8. This is an amazing idea!
    I’m definitely going to give this a go. 🙂

  9. treeowl says:

    Are you still using your OOH deck?

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