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It’s funny how many of my sentences start with the words ‘I was just reading about…’ I think i must drive the people around me crazy! But, I LOVE to read and when I come across one of those things that makes me just stop and think wow - I can’t help but share it.
So, that’s how this post started. The other day I was reading work by Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the world’s leading scientists studying well-being and the author of The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness (which are both now sitting at the top of my must read list). And the part that jumped out the most at me was that her research has found that 40% of the time, we are responsible for our own happiness.
Yet so many of us believe that we’re at the mercy of our genetics (which makes up 50%) and other life circumstances (the final 10%). So, if we’re in the driving seat 40% of the time, then our happiness is in our own hands, don’t you think?
I’d like to think so and we don’t have anything to lose by taking hold of that 40% and bringing a little more positivity and happiness to our days do we? (I’ve read that optimists apparently live longer than pessimists too and so that’s an added bonus)!
So, enough with the data. Here are a six simple ways to bring more happiness into your day and maximise that 40% that you’re in control of…
STOP THE COMPARISON…
It’s easy to scroll through your feed or flick through a magazine and feel the tension rise as you see one perfect image after another. But, i think that Theodore Roosevelt put it best when he said ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. I’ve fallen victim to the negativity that comparison can create, I think we all have at some point or another and it really does steal something precious from us. Most importantly gratitude. For what we have in our lives and the blessings that are all around us. So, stop scrolling for a while, put away the magazines and turn off the TV while you spend a few minutes thinking of everyone and everything that you’re grateful for - read more about the power of gratitude.
How often do you unplug? Most people find it hard to believe how little I use my phone, watch TV or follow the daily headlines but I’m protective about what my mind consumes because my mental health is important to me. It’s no surprise that most of us find today’s fast flow of information overwhelming and yet it’s a hard habit to break. Start with short regular breaks; don’t consume anything until you’ve at least eaten breakfast or try putting your phone away in the evening while you enjoy time with your family. Stop tuning into mainstream media headlines several times a day and try have a TV free evening once in a while.
Helping others is a wonderful way to boost your happiness and theirs too. And it’s one of those things where even the smallest action means so much. Take a moment to really listen when you’re with a friend, pick up an extra drink for a colleague, smile first, start the conversation, send a message, give a hug or pay a compliment. It’s easy and it spreads positivity which the world always needs more of.
Food is another passion of mine and I’ve been making a lot of changes recently and so I understand that it’s not always easy to eat one thing when your mind is telling you to eat something else! But, once you overcome those voices and begin to feel the effects there’s really no going back. And, besides taking care of your health, so many foods actually boost happiness; add extra beetroot to your salads, snack on blueberries and pumpkin seeds, include a spoon of flaxseed in your smoothie, enjoy bananas and treat yourself to a square of pure dark chocolate. The list goes on but when you see food as happiness fuel for your body it helps you to make much better choices.
CREATE TIME FOR SELF CARE
I know you’ve heard it before, but are your really spending enough quality time on yourself? To many of us still see time for ourselves as selfish and can even feel guilty about it. I’ve been there too. For so many years I didn’t see the value in taking good care of myself, I pushed through when I should have paused for a while. But, when we know better it’s up to us to do better and so I encourage you to get started. It really doesn’t take all that much to feel more cared for and when you feel happier, everyone around you benefits too. These 12 Self Care Tips for the Mind, Body and Spirit are a great place to start.
So, that’s just the beginning but I hope that I’ve inspired you to take control of your own happiness. Use these tips as a starting point to making a few changes and make the most of the 40% that is in your hands.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.