Your happiness checklist
Positive psychology – the study of happiness – is centred on building your strengths, rather than fixing what’s wrong. Here are 10 things you can strive towards…
Thanking others improves relationships and makes people feel valued. Other strategies include keeping a gratitude journal, which studies have proven increases hopefulness, improves overall health and reduces depression.
Positive emotions help you to build resources that lead to a happier and less stressful life. An upbeat outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualising all you want, rather than worrying about what it is that you fear.
The good news is that resilience can be developed. Resilient people view difficulties as challenges, and look at their failures as opportunities for growth. Remember Thomas Edison’s words: ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’. Imagine if he hadn’t persevered for as long as he did!
Put simply, ‘Other people matter,’ says Christopher Peterson, one of the founders of positive psychology. Studies prove that relationships are the basis to greater happiness, providing a sense of belonging, love, meaning and support.
When you do something generous for others, your mood significantly lifts and you release oxytocin, which helps to lower blood pressure, soften arteries and increases your lifespan. Besides, kindness is contagious – it’s the best way for society to flourish.
Having a connection to something bigger than yourself improves wellbeing. A good approach is to consciously think about which hobbies, people and beliefs bring you the strongest sense of purpose and passion.
This needn’t involve reaching out to the person who has hurt or betrayed you. Instead, try to unburden yourself from the anger and pain that prohibits you from moving on.
Having ambitious but realistic goals gives your life direction and brings satisfaction. If you’re struggling to be inspired, start by writing down your key strengths and focusing on those.
Exercise regularly and get plenty of fresh air. Releasing emotions through activities you enjoy is vital for wellbeing.
Buddhist Abbot, Ven. Amaro Bhikkhu, says: ‘There’s a large slice of spiritual growth in learning to find peace with what you have, rather than finding happiness in getting what you want’.