Research shows that happiness and self-actualisation comes from within and not external factors like money, status or fame. Here are five ways to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Professor Paul Gilbert, author of The Compassionate Mind says compassion towards others and particularly compassion towards oneself can have a significant impact on our wellbeing and mental health. This is easier said than done but we should strive to like the person that we are and see the best in others.
It’s about recognising your strengths as a person and exploiting those strengths while also identifying your weaknesses and striving for self improvement. Ekhart Tolle’s message in his bestseller book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. It means forgiving your past indiscretions and learning to move on from your past history and mistakes.
Most people spend their lives wishing their lives away or searching for the things that they don’t have but don’t spend nearly enough time focusing on the things they do have such as a good job, good health, and good family relations and so on.
As documented in The Secret , it’s good to make a list of all the things that you are grateful for in your life and put this list in a convenient spot where you can easily refer to it. It’s also important to thank those who have helped you and give back to the community whether it be in terms of financial assistance or volunteering your time.
Be an optimist
People who are optimists and have a half glass full mentality lead happier and more fulfilling lives. It’s a cliché but there is always a silver lining in every cloud, sometimes you just need to look a little harder. Dr Timothy Sharp from the The Happiness Institute in Sydney says that optimism (positive but realistic thinking) can make you happier.
There’s no doubt that happy people think about themselves, others and the world differently. So instead being critical of our own and other people’s faults, we should strive to see the best in ourselves and others and try and see their good points as opposed to their bad. If we expect the worst, it can sometimes become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Research shows exercise has a lot of psychological benefits. People who exercise are happier and less prone to stress, have lower levels of anxiety and are less likely to suffer from insomnia. Exercising releases endorphins (sometimes referred to as a runner’s high) and that these are responsible for the sometimes euphoric sensations experienced after exercising.
It is recommended by the National Physical Activity Guidelines that adults should exercise at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (including brisk walking) on most days of the week.
Maintain a work-life balance
Life is all about a balance. Ideally, we should have eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours sleep but we rarely achieve this balance. Read our article on negotiating working from home. Set aside time for yourself whether you’re going on a girl’s night out, treating yourself to a massage, reading a book or indulging in a hobby such as learning a new language.
Friendships, hobbies or ‘me time’ can boost your self esteem, give you a sense of fulfilment and happiness and add a sense of meaning to your life.
A true state of happiness can only be achieved when you are content with the person you are, grateful for the things that you have now and live in the present.