We all probably think we know what happiness is – but how do you measure it? Some scientists have tried to quantify it, but of course, happiness is a very individual emotion. Take some time to think about what happiness means for you. Perhaps it’s good relationships with your family and friends? It could also be healthy wellbeing, creating a positive mood that in turn protects your health. Think about the unique hopes and aspirations that can give a personal, positive focus to your life. You can create an attitude and environment that means happiness isn’t the exception – it can be every day.
Here’s a simple idea to try: be affirmative. Not just in your thoughts – how about making an out loud commitment to yourself to reinforce a positive mindset? Something short and simple like, 'I will be positive today,' - or a little resolution: 'I will learn something new today.' It might sound a little cheesy, but try it. By saying it out loud, you will introduce the possibility into the world. People who voice a positive thought or intention out loud – even when alone – often show themselves more resilient in the face of stress or pressure. 'Feeding' your mind a diet of positive affirmations means you can’t help but become more optimistic about yourself, no matter what each day brings.
You may have kept a diary before, but this is something quite different. It’s easy – simply keep a record for yourself of those challenging moments in a day, jot down a note about what you believe might have caused them, plus a positive way you might consider reacting next time. Over a period of time you may start to recognise common patterns and be able to think about why they occur. Best of all, you’ll form a habit of being objective about the challenges you face, and finding new ways to deal with what life throws at you. Try it, you may be surprised at the result!
'Calm down.' Easy to say, not always easy to do. But there are some ways of relaxing that will suit the busiest lifestyles. Controlling your breathing through simple exercises helps reduce stress by focusing on the moment, and placing it in context. Try relaxing all the body’s muscle groups in turn, from head to toe - you’ll ‘feel’ the relaxation spreading through you, as you attune to your body and blot out the noise. Relaxation is a key element in the overall balancing of mind and body, and regaining control of how you respond to daily life.
For centuries, meditation has been used as a way of restoring calm and inner peace to encourage a sense of self-understanding and positive thought. There is no need for expensive equipment, just a quiet, confortable setting – and an open mind. By concentrating on a single focus, either the body’s breathing, one bodily sensation, or a particular word – a mantra – self-awareness increases as the mind and body start working in harmony. At its simplest level, you are creating a moment of stillness in the middle of whatever is swirling around you.