At a time of immense global upheaval, what’s to dislike about the idea of happiness for all? Action for Happiness, the wonderful people behind International Day of Happiness, have some excellent materials based around these 10 keys to happier living. I’ve added my own brief thoughts underneath each.
1. If you want to feel good, do go
Remember that fuzzy feeling when you did some volunteering or called up a friend? That was you benefitting too.
2. When we’re together, everything’s better
We don’t always feel like it, but sharing and companionship really are much better for us than holding it all inside.
3. Be active, relax, rest. Repeat daily
If you hate going to the gym, don’t get down about it; try something else. I love riding my bike in the early morning calm. And I’m the worst footballer you’ve ever met, but I love to play, and laugh, for fun.
4. There’s more to life when you stop and notice
Where is your mind right now? Have you spotted that tree in bud? What does that tightness in your shoulder represent? Can you feel your breathing?
5. Find time to lose yourself in what you love
In the kitchen, with music on, time has no meaning for me. Where’s your “lose yourself” place?
6. It helps to know what you’re looking forward to
You don’t need to book a £10,000 cruise, but you could catch up with an old friend next weekend.
7. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it
Dr Seligman is right: it’s not the potential stressor but how you perceive and handle it that determines whether it leads to stress. How can you reframe your thoughts to lessen the blow?
8. See life as it is, but focus on the good bits
Life will never be perfect all the time, but there’s usually still beauty in the darkest of corners. Have you tried listing five good things from today, however small they seem?
9. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides
Feel like you haven’t got your shit together? Don’t worry, most of us feel like that a little or a lot. But we’re really good at hiding it – you included.
10. The meaning of life is a life with meaning
What gives you energy in the morning? What drives you? Maybe it’s your career. Maybe it’s the little doodles you draw when you’re bored. Perhaps it’s walking the dog. It’s OK if you don’t know yet. It’ll come.
You can find out more about International Day of Happiness at www.dayofhappiness.net.
DISCUSS: What makes you happy?