What is happiness and how can you create a happier you.

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may also reflect judgement’s made by a person about their overall well-being.  Follow this guide for, Five steps to a happier you.

When we think of what makes us happy it is far easier to think of when we were young before society and its set of rules took control of us.  When you ask a child what makes them happy its simple answers they enjoy playing, being with friends it is often the simple things in life that bring the most happiness and joy.  When you watch a child play with no cares the happiness is plain to see, there is a famous saying by George Bernard Shaw.

Following on from that quote number one in my list of steps to being happier is:

Play.

This can range from throwing a stick for your dog to riding a bike with friends.  There is documented evidence of the benefits of play on your well-being.  As we grow and stop playing our levels of anxiety, stress and feelings of helplessness increase.  When we look at the leisure time of adults it is generally spent in front of the TV, on a computer or smart phone.  When we look at adults that play they tend to be happier.  Play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured, creative way. Focus your play on the actual experience, there does not have to be a goal just enjoy it for what it is.  Play can be what you make it, telling jokes with work colleagues, throwing a frisbee for the dog, going for a bike ride with no destination in mind.  While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is also beneficial for people of all ages. Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.

 

Give Gratitude.

Until recently I had not given much thought to the act of giving gratitude.  Teaching yourself to give gratitude can have huge benefits to your overall happiness.  Research shows that gratitude helps you experience more positive emotions, decrease depression, feel better about yourself, improve your relationships.

There are a number of simple steps to help you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Keep a Gratitude Journal.

Keeping a gratitude journal may sound cheesy but the act of spending just a few minutes writing down the simple things that through the day you are grateful for, things as simple as having a warm bed, clean water and food.  Research shows that keeping a gratitude journals is a powerful technique that instantly makes you feel happier, more connected to others, and genuinely appreciative.

Write a letter of gratitude.

Has there been something that you meant to thank someone for maybe a gift or present, we have forgotten the art of letter writing and find it all to easy to send a text or email, sending an actual letter shows that you have taken out the time to show your gratitude.

Give thanks to others.

How often during your day do you tank someone for something they have done, often things are taken for granted as part and parcel of day-to-day life.  When you thank someone for an act they have done for you not only does it lift their happiness it boosts yours as well.

Keep Learning.

Not only does learning a new skill have benefits that are of use research has shown that it improves mental well-being.  Learning does not have to mean school or college education and gaining qualifications.  Evidence shows that learning new skills not only boost confidence and self-esteem it improves our sense of well-being and happiness.  Mental well-being means feeling good about yourself and the world around you and being able to get on with life in the way you want.

People who carry on learning after childhood be it a dance class, a new language, cookery lessons or any other thing that YOU want to learn report a high level of well-being and a greater ability to cope with stress.  They also reported more self-esteem, hope and sense of purpose.

Be Mindful.

In today’s hectic life it is far to easy to rush through life without paying much notice too much.  To start a mindful practice really is very easy and contrary to belief everyone has time, when you begin a mindfulness practice it actually creates time, gives clarity and focus.  Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on being in the present.   Follow the link to a recent post on mindfulness and some simple mindful meditation exercises.  Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre says:

“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.

“Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen a moment to moment.

“It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”

Give to others.

Even the smallest act of giving to others can help whether it is a thank you a kind word or a smile.  Most people would agree that giving or contributing is a good thing.  On top of this it also improves mental well-being.  When we volunteer and contribute it can give us a sense of purpose.  Make you feel happier and more contented with life.

Giving can take lots of different forms, from small everyday acts to larger commitments.

Today, you could:

  • Say thank you to someone, for something they’ve done for you.
  • Phone a relative or friend who needs support or company.
  • Ask a colleague how they are and really listen to the answer.
  • Offer to lend a hand if you see a stranger struggling with bags or a pushchair.

This week, you could:

  • Arrange a day out for you and a friend or relative.
  • Offer to help a relative with DIY or a colleague with a work project.
  • Sign up to a mentoring project, in which you give time and support to someone who will benefit from it.

These five steps are evidence based to improve happiness and mental health well-being.  None of them need take up lots of your time or cost you much if anything.  Living your life in a happy state is that it is a state of mind that you have control over.

Choose your life choose to be happy and to live a life of happiness.

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