Action for happiness: Some tips for happier living
Policing has it’s moments but overall can be a challenging and stressful occupation dealing as it does for the greater part with people not exactly on their best behaviour. All the more reason to look ahead to the year and make a concerted effort to ensure a degree of balance in your life from the forces that play themselves out in our daily lives. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book ‘The How of Happiness’ offers readers more than a dozen everyday activities they can practice to become happier in the short and long term.
Lyubomirsky compiled the list of activities after conducting and reviewing years of research about what distinguishes happy from unhappy people. Her research shows that our circumstances account for only ten percent of our perceived happiness. Fifty percent is the ‘set point’, which according to Ms Lyubomirsky is what we are born with – an inherited happiness closely connected to the happiness of our biological mother.
Forty percent of our happiness is a result of our intentionality. If living intentionally could increase our happiness by 10, 20, 30 or even 40% why don’t we? It is actually rather diffi cult because living intentionally tests our priorities and challenges us to live them out.
ACTION FOR HAPPINES
Below are some keys for happier living. It is all about our priorities. When we feel down, depressed or frustrated the best medicine is to take some time to reflect and realise which of our life priorities we have overlooked or forgotten. It is amazing how uplifting, energising and healing it is to make the choice to define our priorities for well-being and live them out.
DO MORE ACTIVITIES THAT TRULY ENGAGE YOU
At home and at work, seek out more challenging and absorbing experiences in which you “lose yourself,” experiencing what researchers call “flow.”
SAVOUR LIFE’S JOYS
Pay close attention to life’s momentary pleasures and wonders through thinking, writing, or drawing, or by sharing them with others. Download instructions for the “three good things” exercise – a way to help you savour the good in your life.
LEARN TO FORGIVE
Keep a journal or write a letter in which you work on letting go of anger and resentment toward someone who has hurt or wronged you.
PRACTICE ACTS Of KINDNESS
Do good things for others – whether friends or strangers, directly or anonymously, spontaneously or planned.
Pick a relationship in need of strengthening, and invest time and energy in healing, cultivating, affirming, and enjoying it.
Keep a journal in which you imagine and write about the best possible future for yourself, or practice looking at the bright side of every situation.
AVOID OVER- THINKING AND SOCIAL COMPARISON
Use strategies (such as distraction) to cut down on how often you dwell on your problems, and guard against comparing yourself to others.
DEVELOP STRATEGIES FOR COPING
Practice ways to endure or surmount a recent stress, hardship, or trauma.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Express gratitude for what you have – either privately, through contemplation or journaling, or to someone else – or convey your appreciation to people whom you’ve never properly thanked.
STRENGTHEN YOUR SPITITUAL CONNECTIONS
Religious and spiritual people are happier, perhaps because of the social connections they get through their community.
COMMIT TO YOUR GOALS
Pick one, two, or three significant goals that are meaningful to you, and devote time and effort to pursuing them.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
This could mean exercise, of course, but also getting out in the fresh air, smiling, or laughing.