We consulted the experts on the secret to happiness
Happiness can be a tricky business. It’s safe to say for most people that ultimately it’s the goal. But attaining it can be somewhat problematic.
Juggling your needs along with everybody elses, combined with the inevitable stresses of everyday life often lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, frustration and even depression.
But while you may not be able to control the problems you have to face, there are some practical things you can do to boost your mood.
We consulted a range of mental health experts on the things that you can do today to feel happier tomorrow, and this is what they had to say.
We’re not suggesting that these are a quick fix for more serious mental issues, but if you are struggling, they might just help a little…
You are what you eat
Amazingly, the colour of the food we eat has an impact on our state of mind. According to a study by The Happy Egg Company, eating yellow foods releases significant levels of happy hormones because we associate bright colour with joy. Apparently 70% of the population link sunny-coloured foods to feeling happy. So, indulge in that comforting mid-week macaroni cheese! Or perhaps enjoy breakfast in bed for a change – with eggs served sunny side up of course. 😉
Look for the best in others and the world around you
“Become an optimist. Optimists live longer, are healthier and more successful in sports, studies, business and friendship. Optimists are open people, they connect with others, live an active life, take notice of the world, keep learning and are able to give and to forgive.”
Leo Bormans Author or the international bestseller The World Book of Happiness
Make some time to make space in your mind
“Meditation is one simple way, as this allows us to clear the mental clutter that leads to stress and fear, and create space in our heads and hearts for joy, love, and gratitude. As the Buddha said, ‘The mind is everything. What we think, we become.'”
Lori Deschene Founder of Tiny Buddha and author of Tiny Wisdom, On Happiness: Simple Tips for Creating Joy
Cut the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary right now
“When we use the word ‘should,’ it’s like this big, judgemental finger wagging at yourself. ‘I should work out more, I should be happier, I should be more grateful.’ It causes us to feel guilt and shame. It depletes our happiness. It causes us to engage in behaviors that are completely against what we want.
“Instead, replace ‘should’ with ‘I would like.’ For example, ‘I’d like to lose weight, because I want to have more energy and be a role model.’ That is more motivational, it’s more based on passion rather than the fear and judgment of ourselves that prevents us from being the people that we want to be.”
Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love
Never stop being curious
“Living life with deliberate curiosity is more likely to bring you happiness than living life with accidental certainty.”
Lindsay Spencer-Matthews, Psychologist
STOP worrying, as hard as it might be. Just push the thoughts out of you head as they do more harm than good.
“Worrying is mental rehearsal for failure – but all worrying does is rehearse things that haven’t happened yet and may never happen. Instead of imagining all of the things that could go wrong, try considering what it would be like if they went well – or even not disastrously! Worrying doesn’t protect us from bad things happening but it makes things that are only potentials real in our heads. Try shifting your focus to the potential of good happening instead and you’ll notice an instant ability to see the possibilities in situations and in life.”
Jo Casey, Coach and founder of JoCasey.com, Emotionally Resilience for the Real World
Exercise every day
“Exercise is one of the most commonly used, and one of the most effective stress busters and antidepressants as well as being one of the simplest, cheapest and most powerful happiness boosters.” Dr Timothy Sharp, from the Happiness Institute.
Leave work at work
“Be present when you’re present, this means dropping the guilt. Guilt has no benefits for anyone. When you’re at work, stay focussed. When you’re at home, make sure you relax.”
Samantha Ettus, Work-Life Balance Expert
Teach yourself to be thankful, every day
“Focusing on what do you have, instead of worrying about what you don’t have, is one of the greatest keys to happiness. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of joy every day. And that’s without having to go out and buy or acquire anything new. It makes sense. You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for what you already have.”
Marc and Angel, authors of 1,000+ Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently
Don’t pay attention to anyone who makes you feel anything but happy
“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful, your life will become.”
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