Hi friends! So I have some special people in my life that have gone thru kind of drastic life changes, and it has nothing to do with getting a new job, or getting married, or having babies, or moving…it literally has to do with happiness and making the decision to be happy. I think it’s interesting that happiness can be a goal and you’re chasing it like it’s a job, meanwhile we always always have the choice to be happy right at this moment, we just have to choose it.
So in this installment of Fall Into Good Habits, I’d like to discuss happiness :). I’ve just finished reading this TED book by Nic Marks based on Marks’ TED Talk The Happiness Manifesto and it discusses the importance of happiness in a society and how we should measure happiness similarly to how we measure a GDP.
In Marks’ book he talks about the Foresight Review commissioned in 2008 by the UK government to produce a list of positive actions that is proven to enhance people’s well-being. This is not a hokey pokey kind of talk this is a government funded action to find how people can be happier based on evidence from 300 experts containing over 100 separately commissioned reports and reviews! Don’t you love how seriously they’re taking happiness?!?!
So I wanted to share these 5 positive actions on happiness because I think they are GREAT and more importantly science thinks they are great!!! And I find them really sustainable things, that we can all do no matter our circumstances. So here we go!
Marks classifies relationships in two categories: thick and thin. Our thick relationships are our most intimate family, friends, lovers while our thin relationships are our broader circle of friends, relatives, and colleagues; both of these relationships are important to us.
Connecting with the people around you and developing those relationships can enrich your life! As Marks says, “social relationships being the foundation for our happiness and well-being is irrefutable…” So reach out and make connections, they add more to life than you know!
2. Be Active
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and higher well-being. It’s also proven that exercise can almost immediately improve your mood, so if you’re in a funk go for a run, dance, bike ride…you’re only a workout away from a good mood :).
3. Take Notice…
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Whether you’re walking to work or talking to friends, be aware of the world around you. Marks says research in the area of awareness show significant long-term positive effects and there is also evidence that having open awareness is particularly good for choosing actions and behaviors that fit our interest and values. So to feel happier it’s important to notice the world around us and appreciate it.
4. Keep Learning
Try something new, take on a new responsibility at work, fix your bike yourself, learn to play an instrument or cook your favorite dish. Set a challenge that you’ll have fun achieving! Besides adding a new skill in life learning also builds our confidence and gives us a sense of achievement.
Do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, give a smile to someone, volunteer! Giving is not only good for the receiving party it is also good for us! “Neuroscientists have shown that the reward areas of our brain are stimulated when we engage in mutually cooperative actions.” According to Marks seeing yourself and your happiness linked to a wider community can be incredibly rewarding and it creates connections with the people around you. So go out in the world and be kind and do something nice for someone else! You will feel great.
That is all my friends! Marks goes on to say if you stop and think of people you know who are particularly happy and observe their actions it would be surprising to not see these 5 things being practiced daily in their life. And when I personally stopped to think about this I found it 100% true in my life. So why not try it?