…the first cup of tea for the day
…catching up with an old dear friend
…a spectacular sunset
…hiking up a hill to be rewarded with a view at the top
…walking barefoot in nature
…Yorkshire puddings with gravy
…running when it doesn’t hurt
…super-fast waterslide especially when you lose your swimmers up your bum
…a street library
…gratitude’s, they are everywhere you care to look
…unicorns, rainbows, fairies and butterflies
…colouring inside the lines
…scoring a goal
…meeting your baby for the first time
…singing your favourite tune
…wearing no make-up, like you just don’t care.
…sitting down and eating a hot meal
…ticking stuff off my to do list
…laughing for no particular reason
…singing in the shower
So if this is what makes me happy then I should do one of these every day. Surely I would then be happy all the time. Research shows us otherwise…
The sciencey bit
The dictionary defines happy as “a feeling of showing pleasure or contentment”. People have been debating happiness and how to obtain it for centuries. More recently it appears that, according to Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness, that we are very poor at predicting happiness as result of our environment or circumstance. A famous study carried out in 1978, conducted by Brickman, and a bunch of other researchers, found that after a measured amount of time lottery winners or accident victims were similar in happiness states compared to before and after such an event. Giving us insight that while we are predisposed to a certain level of happiness, it is not necessarily our situation which dictates our level of contentment but rather our ability to process, our thoughts, our behaviours and actions which will affect how happy we are. So from here is it easy to see that, according to some psychologists, Dr. Martin Seligman, Positive Psychologist author of Authentic Happiness, we use a number of skills and techniques to rewire our brains and become happier. This is of course balanced with the fact that we cannot be happy 100% of the time. Other emotions we feel are integral to our survival, if we can foresee a disastrous situation we can avoid it by deciding on another set of actions. Here are a few of my personal techniques I use to try and shift my happiness dial due north.
My 5 steps to happiness:
1.Happiness is a state of mind folks.
In some ways this is such an obvious statement but it can be so difficult to put into action. This is where daily gratitudes can really help to shift your mindset. It is much harder to stay angry or down when you are looking for the good in your day. To know that you are brilliant just the way you are and that you have everything you need to be fulfilled is truly liberating. Self-doubt, fear, jealousy have no place in happy town. If you are doing the best you can, with the skills you have, and the resources to hand, then what more can you do? Strive to be better than before and believe in yourself.
2.Let go of the things you cannot change
Recently I received a letter and I knew before I read it that it was going to upset me. So before I opened it, I put it somewhere visible in the house and told myself that whatever is written inside does not change how I feel or what I think, the words could not have power over me and I would let any emotion wash over me and then let it go. I could not control the contents of the letter, but I could certainly choose how I responded to it. By not holding onto my reaction I was immediately at peace with it.
3.Eat well, sleep well and exercise well
If I am honest I find this a hard one. It is so easy to slip into bad habits, use “indulgent” food to reward myself or find an excuse to not exercise. Yet when I put all of these in place I know that I feel better. So this is a focus area for me this year: To develop some healthy sustainable habits that I can incorporate and eventually enjoy as part of my everyday life. Maybe I need an accountability partner here. Any volunteers?
4.Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you
There are many types of relationships you can have, each with a purpose and a lesson to learn. Sometimes you meet people where the chemistry is off, maybe you feel the need to compete, or that you are not good enough, or any number of less desirable emotions. Each of which, can easily affect how your feel about yourself and spiral into self-doubt and negative talk, not to mention sapping all of your energy. Being able to identify these unhelpful emotions, recognising who you are around this person and accepting that this is the dynamic between you two can be really powerful. Become clear on how you want to feel around someone. Maybe you can shift it, maybe you cannot, but knowing when to walk away can remove this toxicity in your life.
This is so important and is an encouraged therapy technique to ensure your health and wellbeing. Years ago I used to feel this was an indulgence but it is not selfish to spend time recharging your batteries. If you are depleted in energy levels then it is much harder to care for others around you, perform at your best at work, or for you to fulfil your desired role. Just a few minutes every day can make all the difference, and in my case, any of the above will do the trick.
Remember be kind to yourself, you are amazing!
Complete this sentence: “Happiness is……” Tell us, we would love to hear from you.
P.S: We have added to the Boadicea jewellery collection. One of our favourites is the Dawn earrings. Just beautiful.