Sedona Method Blog

Subscribe to Sedona Method RSS  Go to Blog Home

How to Create a Happy Ending in Anything You Pursue

August 14th, 2014 by Hale Dwoskin

Experiences in life are always better if they have a happy ending. No matter what the event from a medical procedure to a boring seminar that you have to attend you will look back on it more fondly if the ending was good (or even slightly less bad than the rest of it). How can this be?

It all goes back to the human memory, which is far from perfect. Or, perhaps it is perfect. Allow me to explain. When remembering things, your memory doesn’t always get things quite right. It forgets bad memories faster than it does good ones, and, when it comes to unpleasant experiences, it will do you a favor, allowing you to look back more fondly on them as long at the last part was happy. This is a proven fact.

Why Longer Colonoscopies Can Sometimes be a Good Thing

Take, for example, the colonoscopy. Clearly not a pleasant procedure by most people’s standards. Yet, a study by University of Toronto researchers found that under certain circumstances people who underwent a longer colonoscopy reported that it was less aversive and that they were more likely to return for a repeat colonoscopy than people whose procedure was shorter.

The circumstance that earned the more favorable reports, regardless of the procedure’s duration, was a less painful ending to the colonoscopy.

A separate study, aptly titled When More Pain is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End, found similar results. Study participants were asked to immerse one hand in very cold water for two trials, one short, the other long. During the long trial, however, the water was warmed during the last 30 seconds, not to a comfortable temperature but enough to be noticeably warmer.

When the participants were asked which trial they’d choose to repeat, the majority chose the longer trial. The results show, the researchers pointed out, that people’s evaluations of bad experiences are often dominated by discomfort during the worst and the final moments of the episode.

Creating Happy Endings in Your Own Life

The take-home message here is to strive to create a happy ending in everything you do, especially for those things you don’t necessarily love to do. Here are some simple examples that you can get started on today:

  • After a tough workout, take a relaxing dip in a hot-tub or spend a few minutes in the sauna.
  • After creating your budget or doing your taxes, take two (or more!) hours to read a book, watch a movie, or walk outside (whatever you enjoy).
  • After spring cleaning your home, invite a couple of friends over for agirls/guys night.
  • After grocery shopping, stop for a cup of tea or coffee at your favorite cafe.
  • After a doctor’s visit (or other appointment you weren’t looking forward to), reward yourself with a bouquet of flowers or a new CD you’ve been wanting.

And finally, if there are times when you’re having a hard time ending your bad times with a smile, check out The Sedona Method. It’s a scientifically proven tool that can help you create not only happy endings but also happy beginnings and middles in much of your daily life.