Friday, 23 May 2014


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We all strive to find happiness and wish it on our friends and family. Happiness means very different things to all of us but there are some universal things that you can do to improve your happiness. The following 10 suggestions will help to alleviate stress and improve your mental well being. 

1. Exercise 

Regular exercise can have a wealth of benefits both physically and mentally.  Exercise of 30 minutes 3 to 5 times per week will have a significant impact on your mental well being and happiness.  Soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are released in increased levels when you exercise on a treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes.
Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain. Working out also alters blood flow to specific areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts, and so increases happiness.

2. Have fun 

When was the last time you really had fun?  Often it can be an unexpected moment or an unplanned afternoon when we end up doing something unusual or different.  Breaking the routine and messing it up a bit can help us to be more spontaneous and open to new experiences.   Endorphins are released when  you smile, making you feel happier and reducing tension (even when you fake smile).

3. Stay positive 

Your thoughts are very powerful.  A positive mental attitude can get you through life successfully.  If your glass is half full rather than half empty then you will see opportunities where others see challenges.  Be aware of negative thoughts you may have but do not dwell on them.
Positive people attract other positive people, and surrounding yourself with upbeat friends will influence you greatly.  Conversely reduce the amount of negative people in your life and you will find that negative thoughts start to leave you.

4. Have confidence to be yourself 

You are responsible for your own happiness.  You are the steering force.  If you need to visit the gym for an hour each day, meditate or walk along the beach at lunchtime to stay happy then do it.  You deserve to be happy.  It is within your ability to make changes to your life that make you happier.  If something is making you unhappy then change it.  You deserve to be happy, you just need to believe it to make it true.

5. Get outside 

Research has shown that being outside make us happier.  Getting outside for part of the day can have huge benefits on our mood. Sun light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood and increase motivation. Spending time outside gives a feeling of freedom, of connecting with the environment and not feeling so confined by schedules and tasks.  Taking just a few significant moments each day to appreciate the season, breathe fresh air and just feel connected with nature will have a huge influence on your happiness.

6. Get support 

Sometimes we need a bit of support from others around us.  Just talking over the day with a friend can help you feel better about issues and to shape your decisions.  Whilst many people strive for independence it often comes at a cost of closing yourself off from others. 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or even just for a chat.  It is so much easier to resolve issues if we have the support in place to help us.  This may be in the form of a good night out with the girls, time with the kids or formal counselling. We all need a little assistance to get through life sometimes.  Everyone is in the same position as you.

7. Volunteer your time 

Giving something back to the community can be very rewarding.  The sense of satisfaction and achievement to work together for a common aim for a good cause is huge.  To cast off the shackles of monetary reward and to do something for others in your own time is liberating.

8. Join a club 
Belonging to an organisation or group helps to define us as a person and gives us a sense of purpose.  But perhaps more significantly it gives us a sense of belonging to a like minded community. It’s a place to meet up with friends and enjoy a shared interest.

9. Adapt to change 
Not many things are certain in life, but two things are: We all will die; and more importantly, things will change. Your job won’t last forever, your kids will grow up, your house will age, and your spouse will change. You have to adapt to survive, but this is happening to everyone else too. Welcome change as a bringer of new opportunities and to try new things.

10. Live in the present 

Dwelling on the past or constantly planning the next step stops us from enjoying life here and now.  You may choose to meditate to realign yourself with the present or choose to do some of your favourite activities.  To get in touch with your spiritual self and allow yourself some time to enjoy the now is the best reward you can give yourself.

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