I think many of us will look back at 2016 and for a variety of reasons reflect and think ‘What a year!’
Now that 2017 has arrived how can we look forward and feel (even) happier in our lives?
In a Ted talk on happiness, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, is discussing the French and their attitude to life and says ‘We like our suffering because it’s so good when it cease(sic) for a while’! However he gives some valuable insights into happiness including that we can train ourselves to be more positive.
We know that our brains have the ability to change and adapt (sometimes called neuroplasticicty) and we can influence this ourselves. Ricard advocates mindfulness and meditation.
Positive psychologists, such as Shawn Anchor points out how we are never happy as we keep moving the goalposts but some simple tasks to acknowledge our successes help improve our happiness and have the knock on effect of improving how we work! This can be achieved in as little as 21 days. Below I have listed Anchor’s strategy to achieve this.
The Happy Secret to Better Work
Shawn Anchor, TedxBloomington, May 2011
1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day.
2. Write up one positive experience you have had during the past 24 hours ‒ helps your brain relive it.
3. Exercise ‒ teaches your brain that your behaviour matters.
4. Meditate ‒ allows calm time to focus on a task away from our busy lives.
5. Random act of kindness ‒ this can be something as simple as sending a positive email to someone in your social network
These small acts can have a positive effect on our own individual wellbeing and can also ripple out towards others.
Perhaps by each one of us looking at how we can be happier individually we may find that our family, social and work lives are all happier and successful too!