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  • Claire Crockett

Today is the day for a GREAT DREAM!




Today, as I write this, it is March 20th the Spring equinox. It marks the beginning of Spring, for now the days will be longer than the nights – the warmer days are not far away. This promise of the weather getting better, signs of life appearing in nature - hello new spring lambs very soon – and lighter days brings renewed happiness to many of us.


Today is also International Day of Happiness, a day for us to embrace all the things that make us happy, to take a look at our wellbeing and to see how people around the world find happiness. Set up by the United Nations, International Day of Happiness has a global theme each year. This year’s theme is Happiness For All Humanity. This is especially important considering all the horrors that are occurring around the world every day, we are all on this spinning piece of rock together, we should be supporting each other in any way possible.


So how can we make our own lives happier and more fulfilling? Registered charity Action For Happiness has looked at current research and come up with 10 suggestions to help us with our happiness, they call it the GREAT DREAM -


Giving – doing kind things for others. Research shows that when we do kind things it gives our brain a boost of dopamine, the reward hormone.


Relating – connecting with others can contribute to our happiness and resilience. Studies show people with strong relationships are happier, healthier and may even live longer. Having high levels of social support may increase our immunity to infection, lower our risk of heart disease and reduce mental decline as we get older.


Exercising – There is plenty of scientific research showing the benefits of exercise for our psychological health and happiness. Exercise can help us manage, treat, and even prevent depression and anxiety, boost our confidence, and help us manage stress too.


Awareness – living mindfully. Studies show the practice of mindfulness can reduce stress levels, help us manage our emotions and reactions, have a greater awareness to how we and others are feeling and cultivate compassion for ourselves and others.  


Trying out – keep learning new things. Trying new experiences and learning fuels our wellbeing, boosts our confidence and our creativity. Evidence shows that continuing to learn, even later in life, can help us feel good and function well. This can be trying a new skill, learning a language or exploring new places.


Direction – having goals for the future. Having an optimistic or hopeful outlook means we are more likely to experience positive emotions, feel more confident, have higher satisfaction with life and have better physical health.


Resilience – finding ways to bounce back. Life can be tricky to navigate, we all experience times of frustration and stress and sometimes these experiences can be huge and have a massive impact on our lives. Being resilient doesn’t prevent us from feeling pain, sadness, fear or anger when we experience difficult times, but it does mean that we can find ways to cope constructively, accept what has happened, adapt and eventually move forward. 


Emotions – seeking out positive emotions. Studies have found that experiences of pleasant emotions broaden our perceptual fields, meaning we are more open and trusting of others, more open to ideas, more adaptable and better at creative problem-solving.

 

Acceptance – being comfortable with who we are. No one is perfect. When we learn to accept ourselves, we are likely to be happier and better at learning and growing.


Meaning – being part of something bigger. Friends, family, pets, work, volunteering, learning, hobbies, creative pursuits like making music or art, nature, faith are all examples of things that give life meaning. Working on and towards these things isn’t always easy but enables longer-term satisfaction and fulfilment.  


Can you see ways that GREAT DREAM can support your health, happiness, and wellbeing? Perhaps you can take a look at the list above and see where you can take action.

As always, take care,

Claire

 

For all references of research and studies pop over to 10 Keys to Happier Living | Action for Happiness




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