How happy are you―really? If there’s room for improvement, try one of these suggestions.
1. Practice compassion, for yourself and especially for others. Connect with other people and help them. This was mentioned so many times and amazing scientific research shows that helping others actually changed gene and cell expression in the body, it can improve the health of our very cells. It was unanimous that connecting with and helping others is the number 1 predictor of health and longevity.
2. Get enough sleep: 7-9 hours is required. Research shows people who have 7 hours or less function less effectively and are more likely to suffer from depression and the like.
3. Disconnect from technology where possible. Smart phones and increasingly digital lives is making us more lonely, over stimulated and distracted than ever. It is a good servant but a terrible master. We check our phones on average every 4 minutes. We can't wait for a minute in a queue, or anywhere else for that matter without getting on the phone. We are losing precious moments of quiet, self reflection and peace.
4. Practice mindfulness as much as possible. In small moments of being fully attentive to what you are doing (see my last post on this) or in mindfulness practices of 10 mins or more. The research is overwhelming and the impact is shaping neuroscience, business and personal health in a dramatic way!
5. Accept the full range of emotions and don't try to fix, avoid or numb them out. We are supposed to experience joy, sadness, anger, pain, loneliness etc. It is part of living a full life. Accept them; they are cues to understanding ourselves better and part of the human experience. If things get too out of perspective then definitely get help. Otherwise give yourself a break, be kind on yourself and learn from difficult and challenging times and experiences.
6. A fulfilling life is a considered balance between pleasure in the moment and satisfaction through achievement and goals. Ask yourself: do you need to 'do more or be more', 'slow down or speed up', 'look ahead or look around', 'tighten up or loosen up' (Chris Skellet)
7. Our favourite - DANCING. It's one of the best brain exercises you can do. Woo hoo! Do the things that make you enjoy; sounds obvious but too many of us have lost the time for what we have loved and give us pleasure. Read, sing, walk, paint, talk, music... whatever it is, make it a priority, don't wait till you have more time, money, friends, blah blah blah. It makes everything else easier and worth all the effort
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