Happiness: It’s wonderful. It’s fleeting. It’s what we’re all searching for.
Positive emotion broadens our awareness, enhances creativity, fosters resilience, and sharpens our problem-solving skills. But how can we get more of it in our lives? Kelly Michael, expert in Positive Psychology, insists that happiness is not an elusive destination but rather the collection of everyday moments. By focusing on small changes over time, we can make significant strides towards improving our overall wellbeing.
Kelly’s top tips for everyday happiness:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Kelly says: “When we look at physical health, we’re talking about movement. We’re talking about nutrition and hydration, and we’re talking about sleep. Sleep is critical on so many levels. Not only in my ability to focus and perform, but long-term for my longevity and my long-term health, things like cancer have all been linked to lack of sleep.”
2. Remember to move (and breathe)
“Every 60 minutes, just move. You might go for a walk to the bathroom, have a bit of a stretch. You can also mindfully breathe every hour. Just stop for a moment and take four deep, slow, steady breaths. We’re all capable of doing that, but we don’t. And yet it can make a huge difference to our energy throughout the day.”
3. Label your emotions
Kelly says that it’s important to make space for difficult emotions.
“Sit down and say, ‘okay, how is it I’m feeling right now? I’m feeling afraid and I’m feeling worried. The act of labelling our emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones, can help take the sting out of them.”
4. Self-care: Is it just a buzzword?
For Kelly, self-care is pretty much whatever you want it to be. And it’s definitely important.
“Engaging with your hobbies, engaging with good people, building your social connections is critical is an absolutely critical thing at this point in time in history. Work out what brings you joy and chase that.”
5. Create your own gratitude practice
Kelly advises giving yourself some mental space first thing in the morning.
Instead of grabbing your phone the second your eyes open, why not get specific about what you’re grateful for? Kelly says there’s a “deeper level” of gratitude we can aim for:
“It’s not just, ‘I’m grateful that it was a sunny day.’ Well, I’m grateful that it was a sunny day because it allowed me an opportunity to go for a walk or it allowed me to sit down and have a coffee with a friend’.”
6. Not-so-random acts of kindness
Kelly says: “Can you do something kind for somebody else? Can you tell somebody you’re grateful for them? That’s going to have a huge impact, not only on the person that you’re being kind to, but on you as an individual.”