Mark Williamson is the Director of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier society by making positive changes in their personal, home, work and community life. He poses the big question, what really makes life happy and fulfilling?
Well, based on scientific evidence, Action for Happiness has come up with 10 Keys to Happier Living. Here they are just for you:
- Giving – Do things for others
Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping others makes us happier and healthier but giving forges stronger connections and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it doesn’t have to have anything to do with money – you can give your time, ideas or energy too.
- Relating – Connect with people
Relationships are the most vital contributor to happiness. People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. This is as good an excuse as any to join the Street Feast movement!
- Exercising – Take care of your body
Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. You don’t need to run a marathon, but simply getting out and about can make a huge difference.
- Awareness – Be mindful
There’s more to life than meets the eye, and it’s often right there in front of us. All we need to do is stop and realise it. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and be more in the moment rather than worrying about the past or the future.
- Learning – Try something out
Learning exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. You don’t need to enroll in a formal course to reap these rewards, you can share skills with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport or teach yourself how to make pom-poms, the list really is endless!
- Direction – Have goals to look forward to
Feeling positive about the future is important to our happiness. We all need goals to motivate and challenge us but they should also be achievable. Trying to attempt the impossible will only bring you unnecessary stress. Choosing ambitious but realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them.
- Resilience – Find ways to bounce back!
All of us experience stress, loss, failure and trauma at some point in our lives. But how we respond to this greatly impacts our well-being. Often we can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose our attitude towards it. In practice, it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned.
- Emotions – Look for the good
Positive emotions are not just great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them helps to build-up our resources. So, although we need to be realistic about life’s ups and downs, it helps to focus on the positive. Why not write down 3 things that you’re grateful for at the end of each day? It pushes your focus to the positive and allows you to experience those emotions, such as gratitude, all over again.
- Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
No-one’s perfect but too often we compare ourselves to others, dwelling on our flaws and what we are not rather than what we are. Learning to accept ourselves and be kinder to ourselves increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others.
- Meaning – Be part of something bigger
People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Meaning could come from being a parent, a religious faith, or doing something that makes a difference.
Street Feast is the perfect way to connect to something bigger than ourselves. It unites people and brings a real sense of purpose. When you’re part of something that really makes a difference life becomes so much more rewarding!
Want to learn more? You can download your FREE PDF version of the guidebook here.