Leading a happy life has proven to be a challenge and statistics show we are no happier now than we were sixty years ago.
So as it’s International Day of Happiness today, perhaps it's time to take matters into our own hands..
Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society and they’ve put together a list of 10 key steps to happier living - Great Dream is the acronym to remember.
Giving helps create a stronger bond or connection between people which makes us happier and can improve our health. But don’t be mistaken, it’s not all about money - giving your time to help someone or ideas to better them can be just as effective. It can be as simple as giving someone a call when they need it most or even paying them a compliment, the possibilities are endless.
Building relationships with people is the most important thing for our wellbeing and happiness as it gives us a sense of belonging. Those close relationships provide us with the love and support we need which essentially boosts our self confidence. Making the effort to get to know your neighbour or spending more time with loved ones can make more of a difference than you think.
Admit it - keeping fit can be a bit of a chore but we can’t ignore the fact that staying active is good for our physical health and makes us happier. As you exercise your body releases endorphins which can trigger positive feeling in the body and also relieve stress. Eating healthily is also a big factor in the way we feel, and don't forget to get enough sleep - you’re not happy when you’re tired.
Taking time to be aware and mindful of what’s around you can do you a world of good. Doing this helps you to get in tune with your feelings and live in the moment rather than worrying about what has happened and what is to come. To get more out of your day be sure to appreciate the small things around you.
5. Trying Out
Doing something you've never done before can be scary but it helps expose us to new ideas and maintain our curiosity. That sense of accomplishment helps boost self confidence and resilience. Trying something for the first time means you get to learn a new skill whether it be cooking or reading a different newspaper.
Setting goals for the future can be exciting - but making sure they are realistic is all the more important. Planning towards something that is impossible to achieve creates unnecessary stress - realistic goals give you direction and a sense of satisfaction once you’ve accomplished them. Having someone who can hold you accountable to your set goals means you're more likely to make them a reality
How we respond to failure, stress or negative moments in life has a big impact on our wellbeing. Choosing to react positively makes all the difference. Though it’s not easy, resilience can be learned like most things in life. Be proactive in doing things you enjoy or something that will help bring a new perspective to the problem.
Stay positive because emotions like joy, contentment and many more help us feel good and as a result we perform much better and improve our physical health. Focusing on the positive aspect of any situation means you’re able to enjoy life more.
Accepting yourself and the person you are means you’re less likely to compare yourself to others. Not being happy with what you’ve got ultimately makes you unhappy - being kinder to yourself increases your enjoyment of life. See mistakes as opportunities to learn and dwell on your strengths by noticing things you do well.
Those who find meaning in what they do feel much happier and therefore get more out of their actions. Meaning is different for each of us but it involves being connected to something bigger than ourselves. Being more charitable or volunteering makes a difference to other’s lives and makes us feel more fulfilled.