What makes you happy?
Happiness means so many different things to different people.
‘When the sun shines I’m happy’
‘If my husband understood me I would be happy’
‘When I have work I’m happy’
‘If I could buy this sports car I would be happy’
We get the gist…
Well, here I mean happiness in the sense of ‘being well inside’ having a feeling of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement in the world. Of course having possessions, praise and accomplishments may give us comfort and pleasure but do they make us feel happy?
It seems that mental wellbeing could be closer to happiness, which does not mean never experiencing difficult emotions and situations but it means to have enough positive ways to cope when times are tough.
When I started reflecting on this, one of my childhood heroes popped into my mind. Popeye. He would reach for a can of spinach before facing his obstacles head on. I’m not suggesting that we eat cake to overcome our difficulties but perhaps to use Popeye’s spinach as a metaphor for growing our resilience and happiness.
According to research doing these 5 things can boost mental wellbeing:
- Become mindful of the sensations in your body, your thoughts and feelings. There are a number of mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily life even for 10 minutes a day to help you feel present and vitalised in yourself and the world around you.
- Connect with family, friends and people around you even if you are rushing. A simple hello or a smile to a stranger on the street can boost your sense of wellbeing. Sharing what’s going on and listening to someone else can develop sustaining and nurturing relationships.
- Be active with your body! We tend to use our heads and look at screen a lot of the time. It doesn’t need to be at the gym but could be a walk in fresh air, going up the stairs, yoga stretches or an activity you enjoy.
- Give to others in any way you can. It can take many different forms, in time or kindness and generosity. This tip often can be very rewarding and can help you grow your social networks.
- Keep an open mind by trying new things. It can be a delicious new recipe or going to work with different colour socks or even taking up a course and learning a new skill.
Let me know how you get on with boosting your happiness!