A few years ago I was visiting with an old friend and as we talked about our lives, she said to me “Oh, you’re so lucky the way things have turned out.” This comment has stayed with me as I certainly have never felt lucky, grateful for sure, but not lucky. It reminds me of how we now look at social media like Facebook and think that somehow others have ‘got it so good’ and we don’t. What my friend was perhaps not seeing was that I too, have gone through hard times and struggles as every one of us does, although I have learned a lot about how to pick up and keep going. And I do believe that those who turn out ‘happier’ do tend to do some things differently. This is not to say that people don’t suffer with depression and other serious debilitating illnesses that are beyond their control, but more and more I see that the sooner we accept that life involves pain and struggle, and change how we relate to pain, the easier life gets.
Research shows that our happiness levels are 50% genetic (nature) and 50% environment (nurture). So the good news is that we have the ability to change our happiness quotient. I fully agree with the Dalai Lama’s quote above… there are actions we absolutely must commit to in order to increase our happiness. This is not luck, this is every day, small actions that add up to a whole lotta happy, so don’t go moving to a tropical island, buying that new car or selling all your possessions to look for happiness in India because guess what? You’ll still be you. Do this first:
- Exercise, or some type of movement: Boost your feel-good chemicals, if you don’t, expect to be depressed. Period.
- A effort to notice your thoughts and get out of negative or judging ones: your job, no-one elses’.
- Eating healthy food, fruit and veg as much as possible: junk food= junk brain.
- Get outside. Nature is healing: the earth wants you to thrive.
- Down time: we need time to rest, recover and reflect more than we realize. It’s crucial for health and happiness.
- Socialize: even one phonecall is enough: get out of your head and into someone else’s. Talk, listen and be real.
- Sleep: never underestimate the value of sleep. If you are sleep-deprived, sorry, no happy.
Notice none of these are big things. Start today. Do each of these every day for the next 30 days. Or you can leave it up to luck and win the lottery as well. Happiness comes from your own efforts, and no-one can do that for you. You got this 🙂
Have a great week,
ps.: Mindfulness Thursdays will run for 2 more weeks and then we will break for the summer and practice on our own!