All posts filed under: flow

Why do Digital Devices Affect our Happiness?

Scientists know 40% of our personal happiness levels are accounted for by our daily activities (50% genes & upbringing, 10% income & environment). So our lifestyle, the relationships we have and the habits we keep, significantly affect our happiness. We live in a hectic digital age where it’s impossible to avoid technology; iPhones, laptops, tablets and digital TV are an all-encompassing part of our daily routines. We’re addicted to notifications, checking our phones at any free moment and at the mercy of emails, checking them last thing at night (from our tranquil beds!) and first thing in the morning straight after we’ve switched off the alarm (our lovers don’t stand a chance!). Pressured to ‘show face’ on social media and regularly finding ourselves watch TV whilst navigating multiple Whatsapps and browsing Facebook on our iPads. Like it or not, we are all utterly addicted to technology, in fact, the average smartphone user now checks their phone a whopping 150 times a day! Unsurprisingly, these addictive digital habits are affecting our mental health and suppressing happiness. Millennials are struggling to sleep and suffering …

Be happy. Be productive. Build PERMA.

We all want to be happy. When we’re happy we look on the bright side of life, take ourselves less seriously, become more motivated, loving and generally better people. Scientist know our genes and upbringing influence around 50% of the variation in our personal levels of happiness and our circumstances, (like income and external environment) about 10%. Which leaves as much as 40% accounted for by our daily activities – the relationships we keep, the things we do and the choices we make. So our actions strongly impact our happiness levels, which is great news because it means we can easily improve them! Respected positive psychologist Professor Martin Seligman developed a well-being theory called the PERMA Model. It combines five building blocks, which need to be in place for a happy and flourishing life. The five elements are – POSITIVE EMOTION (P) Experiencing feelings of joy, hope, love, inspiration, satisfaction, gratitude or any positive emotion allows us to experience wellbeing. ENGAGEMENT (E) When we’re fully engaged in a challenging task and time seems to stand still, we experience a state of flow (see blog post ‘How do you find your flow?’). We lose our …

Redefine Success and Create a Happier Life

When Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion in 2007, she was forced to take a long hard look at her life and redefine what success meant to her. With her health so visibly deteriorating, the classic notions of success as money and power, were irrelevant. If she wasn’t alive, both would cease to matter. In her book THRIVE, we are introduced to a third metric of success. A metric that consists of four equal pillars. The pillars represent Wellbeing, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving and they make up the four chapters of her excellent book. An impassioned read, Arianna encourages us to look within ourselves and build a more meaningful and fulfilling life, aligned with our values. Touching on the importance of sleep and meditation to nourish our minds and bodies. We are also introduced to the power of giving back to our local communities and the joys of delighting in wonder. Something we rarely give ourselves the time to do. “Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom.” Arianna Huffington Each page is filled with wisdom and insight, and I would …

Put your phone down and pick up a book! 10 ways reading can boost your mental health

Technotox is here to try and encourage each of us to switch off to the drains and distractions of digital technology – emails, social media, addictive computer games – we spend far too many hours devoted to our screens, in fact the average person now checks their phone 150 times a day and unsurprisingly, it’s affecting our mental health. Being a slave to our phones can leave us feeling brain dead, overwhelmed and lost. So it’s time for a technology-detox and to rediscover more traditional activities that help promote our well-being, those which nuture rather than neglect our mental health. Reading is one such activity and has lots of wonderful merits, here are my top 10 – Stimulates the mind Reading keeps the brain sharp and the mind active. Unlike watching TV – a passive pastime, it stimulates our brain cells, helps build the memory muscle and gives our minds a workout. Reduces stress Reading is incredibly relaxing and can help us unwind after a hard day. It’s proven it reduces stress levels; as an engaging activity that requires …

How do you find your flow?

A moment in your life when time stands still, oblivious to the world around you, so fully focused on what you’re doing, concentrating so hard, time disappears completely. Psychologists call these fully absorbent times, flow states or a ‘heightened state of consciousness’. Perhaps you find flow doing a crossword, playing a competitive sport or writing and giving a powerful speech (like the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr – featured above). There are many activities in which flow can be found, but it can only happen under very strict conditions – at times when our skills are tested, but our ability is just about sufficient to meet the challenge. Stretching us to our maximum limit. If the challenge is too easy, we become bored and lose interest, too hard and we become anxious and want to give up. So flow cannot be achieved. Achieving flow is incredibly important to achieving inner happiness, it leaves us feeling worthy, satisfied and encourages personal growth. Testing our limits and fulfilling our  potential. Unfortunately, the amount of time we spend surfing the internet, checking social media sites and watching catch-up TV …

Positive Psychology

This book is an easy to follow introduction to Positive Psychology for anyone with an interest in mindfulness or searching for authentic happiness. Positive Psychology is the most recent branch of psychology, founded by Martin Seligman. It is summarised in his own words as the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning, it aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.’ (Seligman & Csikszentmilhalyi, 2000). In this book you will find the results of scientific studies carried out to help us understand the key factors in creating and maintaining a happy life. Broken down into 15 easily digestible chapters including Optimism and Hope, Living in Flow, Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing, Time in Our Lives, Love and Positive Psychology interventions, it provides a brilliant overview of optimal human functioning along with simple tools and tips on how to apply it to your own life. A highly recommended read. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: The Science of Happiness by Ilona Boniwell Available at all good book shops or via Amazon.