23 Sep 4 simple strategies to enhance your pursuit of happiness
I think you'll enjoy this great article from The Guardian by Hannah Booth…
I am sitting across a table from my sister-in-law, outside a small Italian restaurant, reading her a letter. As experiences go, it's toe-curling. I am telling her everything I'm grateful to her for. It's like a bad episode of Oprah. Surely us Brits aren't built for this stuff?
But according to Action for Happiness, little things like this can really improve our lives. The movement, founded by LSE professor Richard Layard and Dr Anthony Seldon, aims to create positive social change, and comes as the government prepares to publish findings this autumn on its proposed happiness index.
The movement's core idea is that we should all try to create more happiness. Or, to paraphrase the Dalai Lama, happiness doesn't just happen to you, you have to work at it. To this end, a list has been drawn up of 50 activities, from getting to know neighbours to unplugging from technology, that can make positive changes to our lives. But can they work? I spent a week finding out …
According to the organisation, doing kind things for others strengthens our connection with them and builds trust – particularly with strangers – leading to happier communities. The acts can be large or small, but must be beyond the things you do regularly.
This is not hard. To my surprise, I am not overly kind. I'm polite, I'm friendly, I hold open doors, but my natural reserve prevents me from, say, mowing a neighbour's lawn.
So I step it up, offering to let someone queue-jump (he refuses), and trying to help a pair of lost tourists ("Nein danke, we're fine"). Finally – yes! – a couple struggles off a bus with a wheelchair and bag of shopping. I take a bag, give the woman my arm, and walk her to the wheelchair. I feel like Mother Teresa.
Next I must write down, every night, three things I'm grateful for. This, apparently, helps us to feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled – and less materialistic…
…this is just the start.