Psychologists have a phrase called ‘flow’. It’s when you are so absorbed by what you are doing that you block out everything else and time seems to stand still. If you want to ma happier, think about how you could do more activities that engage you. Increase the number of experiences at home or work where you ‘lose’ yourself, and which are challenging and absorbing.
It’s a strange time of year. Everyone rushing around getting ready for the holiday season, lots of shopping, cooking and preparing for the festivities. While it is a time of happiness, Christmas can be a sad time for many people. If you have lost loved ones or are dealing with a family breakup, Christmas can be a difficult time. So how do you find happiness in the ‘festive’ season?
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It’s a fact. The quality of your relationships is one of the strongest predictors of happiness.
If you surround yourself with people who love and support you, you are much more likely to live a happy and fulfilled life.
But what if your relationships are not as loving as you would like?
I read that November 13 is World Kindness Day, a day when we are asked to be kind to the people around us and it got me thinking about why we need a day to be nice to others.
Doing good things for others and practising acts of kindness is one of the things I investigated in my book Roadtesting Happiness.
Many of us put off happiness. I’ll be happy when I have a new job or when I lose weight. Dr Timothy Sharp from the Happiness Institute is challenging people to stop putting off happiness, to jump off the ‘hedonistic’ treadmill.
Can you use happiness habits to help you lose weight?
Sometimes fate lends a hand and helps lead you to where you need to go. When I was writing and researching Roadtesting Happines, I wanted to find people who had discovered their own secrets of happiness.
I wanted to peel back the layers of their lives, of their emotional well-being, to see how they got there and what I could learn from them.
The first thing that surprised me was how eary it was to find really happy people. I met Philip, a film producer who has motor neurone disease. I interviewed him for a story I was doing on the condition for ABC TV. His positive attitude towards his illness was inspiring.
“My body is falling apart, but my mind and spirit is intact,” he told me. His attitude is something I think about often.
I spoke to one of my girlfriends who talked about how her childhood had shaped her view of life. ‘Lucy’ grew up with an angry mother and married a man who blamed her for his problems. “Eventually I chose to be around happy people, to take responsibility for my own happiness,’ she told me.
Someone I know well told me about their struggles with depression and how he had fought demons and come out happier the other side. “Career is no longer my priority. Friends and family are number on for me,” he says.
I asked my sister who was the happiest person she knew and she put me in touch with a woman from Hong Kong called MJ. ” She has the best attitude,” she told me. MJ wrote about her life but I felt she was holding something back. Eventually she told me that her son had commited suicide.
Her great loss in the past had shaped and defined her view of the present. She was determined to honour her son’s memory and live each day to the fullest. Something good out of something bad.
When Roadtesting Happiness was published, MJ told me she was at a dinner party in Hong Kong. A woman at the table mentioned she had just read Roadtesting Happiness and and how much it had changed her perspective on life. Suddenly she turned to MJ and said, ‘oh my goodness you are MJ in the book. Your story was so inspiring!”
I was so thrilled to hear that story. Roadtesting happiness is changing people’s lives. If you have read it, let me know your thoughts. Together we will make the world a happier place.
Can we be happy all the time? Is that something that’s even desirable? If we are happy all the time, are we missing out on the opportunity to feel the full range of emotions in life? These were some of the issues I thought about when writing Roadtesting Happiness.