In the words of Bobby McFerrin, or more memorably to those who were around in the 90s, the notorious Singing Bass: “In every life we have some trouble, But when you worry, you make it double, Don't worry, be happy”. Simple words (that will be stuck in your head all day now – you’re welcome) that make a lot of sense. There are plenty of ways to boost short term happiness – playing your favourite song, catching up with an old friend, watching funny cat videos or even learning a new skill.
Happiness is a broad term that can mean different things to different people. According to positive psychology there are two complementary pathways to authentic happiness. One pathway is to live an ‘engaged life’. The other is to find meaning and purpose through a greater cause outside of yourself.
Emotions can be more contagious than the office cold, so make sure you have the mental hand sanitiser for friends and colleagues who may bring a different energy that could affect your own well-being. There is no such thing as constant happiness. But actively deciding to engage with your life, relationships and work, or using your personal strengths to improve a cause outside of yourself, be it the local community, family life or global charities, can bring a higher level of happiness and wellbeing to yourself and people around you.
Small acts of kindness are things that may seem tiny to you, but can mean the world to the person who receives them. Getting a surprise bunch of flowers from a friend when I was sick definitely improved a terrible day, and inspired me to think outside of myself more often. So when worry, stress and life gets in the way, why not think of one action you can take for someone else? Reach for some authentic happiness by engaging yourself and helping others. Volunteering, donating blood, or raising money for a charity are all great ideas, but small actions such as catching up with an old friend, cooking dinner for your household, doing the dishes when it’s not your turn, or giving up your seat on the train to a stranger can not only cheer others up, it can make your day as well. Being ‘present’ for meals (which involves your phone being on silent in another room) is another simple change that will improve communication and bonding with people you care about.
Food can also be a significant factor controlling your mood and behaviour. Ginger, broccoli and blueberries are just a few of the cheap ingredients you can use to boost your happiness without sacrificing taste. Serotonin, selenium, vitamin B and dopamine can all be increased and managed through supplements, or even simpler, through the fuel that you consume. Have a look at this article for more information as well as some delicious recipes to kick-start the imagination.
Simple things that make me happy are peeling a sticker off a new purchase in one piece, seeing a puppy on the street, giving someone the perfect birthday gift, helping someone learn a tricky task and of course…Big Mouth Billy Bass.
As always, please let me know if there are any particular topics you would love us to look into or you have any queries or concerns.
You can call me on 03 9963 4821 or email me directly.
- Ben Giltrap