All posts tagged: happiness

The Rise of Spirituality

People often confuse Spirituality with Religious belief or worse, ‘that wishy washy hippy stuff‘. But in truth, anyone who wants to be the best version of themselves, or strives to live a life with meaning and purpose, is Spiritual. Or for that matter, anyone who has a connection to a higher sense of self –  and believes there is more to living, than just our own subjective existence. Spirituality relates to the soul and is not a tangible or measurable physical matter. It is the connection of the mind and emotions to the spirit and something greater than ourselves. Through reflection and realignment, to be spiritual is to refine who you are. To understand your personal values – what you find most important in life and what motivates you – and to live the most meaningful life, in line with those values. As more and more of us find our social conscience and strive to look for meaning and purpose, in the vast options available to us, we’re turning to our Spiritual selves to find the answers. What are your …

Empower your strengths and capitalise on happiness

Research proves that people who know their character strengths live happier, more satisfied lives because knowing ourselves – what we’re good at, what energises and motivates us, and what our life values are – gives us the ability to lead more engaging and meaningful lives, true to our individual personalities. Strengths come in all forms and the great news is, we all have them! Whether it’s persistence, humour, gratitude, drive, commitment, loyalty, love or courage – if you’ve never thought about what your strengths are and how you can adapt your life to utilise them in a more powerful and effective way, now is the time. The VIA survey is a popular and free tool to help assess your best strengths, it can be found here – http://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register And if you still need persuading, here are five ways knowing our character strengths can help our personal development and emotional intelligence – An increased self-awareness allows us to build stronger, more effective relationships Acceptance of who we are improves our self esteem Allow us to set more tailored and attainable goals …

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 …

25 reasons it’s better to give than receive

During this over-indulgent, opulent time of year it’s important we take stock and remind ourselves that Christmas isn’t all about the parties and presents, but the season of good will and peace to all men! So if you were ever in doubt, the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar is here to prove that giving is far more satisfying than receiving. Subscribe to their mailing list and receive 25 daily acts of kindness sent straight to your inbox. A different challenge is set each day – phone an old friend, leave a kind note, give to the needy – in the hope that we can re-educate ourselves and really feel the positive difference going out of our way to be more giving can make. Sign up now and see how many random acts of kindness you can carry out this Christmas. Sign up here.

Mindfulness Meditation

A few years back I took a ten week course in Positive Psychology taught by Tim LeBon. This most recent branch of psychology (founded by Martin Seligman in 1998), studies the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Over the ten weeks we covered topics such as happiness and positive emotions, flourishing, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment, strength, resilience, savouring, wisdom, mindfulness and meditation. For the first time in my life I was challenged to meditate. For a whole week I had to dedicate 15 minutes of my time to doing nothing. Thinking about nothing and focusing on nothing but my breath. For anyone with an overactive, highly obsessive and slightly neurotic mind (which is probably most of us!), this sounds a lot easier than it is. That said, I survived the challenge and noticed such an impact on my mind (outside of the meditation zone), I have since made a conscious effort to practise mindfulness mediation at least five times a week. I can honestly say it’s something I will do for the rest of my life. …

eat food. mostly plants. not too much.

It’s widely acknowledged that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, but in modern society we are all bombarded with contradictory dietary advice on a daily basis; coffee, wine and fish being the main culprits. Also confusing, is from which nutritional group the largest proportion of our diets should come from. High protein? High carb? Low fat? Low Carb? In a media full of mixed messages, whose rules should we follow? Michael Pollen, international bestselling author, has written a book called FOOD RULES: AN EATER’S MANUAL in which he provides 64 rules designed to help you stop worrying, improve your relationship with food and truly enjoy eating without the guilt. Researched from a collection of folk wisdom, grandmothers, science and common sense, this book is all you need to maintain a healthy relationship with food, dine happily and live well. It’s broken down into three parts – what to eat, what kind of food to eat and how to eat it. You can read it in a couple of hours but it will forever change how you think …

Action for Happiness

You may have seen the latest ITV report ‘Tonight: Is Britain Happy?‘ an up-to-date exploration on the science of happiness, which showed (for those that were in any doubt) that improved wellbeing really does make a difference to our happiness levels. An organisation that have been pioneering the art of happiness since 2010 is Action for Happiness. Action for Happiness is ‘a movement of people committed to building a happier society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life where people care less about what they can get for themselves and more about the happiness of others.’ They provide practical ideas (see their collection of posters below) to enable people to take action in different areas of their lives – at home, at work or in the community. Encouraging members to form local groups and take action together. Our genes influence around 50% of the variation in our personal happiness and our circumstances (like income and environment) about 10%. Which means as much as 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. So our actions really do …

How Grateful are you?

Can you be consciously grateful for 100 days in a row? Apparently 71% of all participants in the 100happydays challenge have so far failed – stating ‘lack of time’ as their main obstacle. But how many of them managed to visit facebook that day, or scroll through twitter aimlessly? Switch on the TV after work and watch their latest download in bed with their iPad? The challenge is to find one thing every day (for 100 days) that makes you happy. It might be the smell of fresh coffee on a sleepy morning or the affections of a pet, perhaps finding a bargain in the latest sale or a smile from a stranger in the street. You simply acknowledge what it is and make a note of it. You can use a regular notepad, take pictures with a camera or most popularly, record it via social media. The exercise isn’t to show off and try to make others jealous, but to encourage us to be aware of the simple things in life that bring happiness and joy every day – if acknowledged. It is reassessing our …

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.