Re-Finding Hppiness

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The newsletters' current theme has been about making the best of lockdown, both exercise and nutrition-wise. This week, I would like to focus the lens over mental health.

The previous 6-8 weeks, has been a real challenge for most of us. I'd argue that the last 2-3 weeks have been the hardest, given how dark and miserable it has been here in the UK. 

Many of us are out of sync right now. We have irregular schedules, too much work, or too little. Also, the lack of social interaction can make us feel isolated and lonely. 

We set goals for ourselves and are always trying to move the needle in the right direction for career, family and health. 

Our addiction to progress tends to "push us through" the stress and discomfort to get to the next level. Given that the world is in a strange place right now, the ability to achieve progress is much harder than it was before. 

Slow progress or stagnation can be very distressing for us. We feel like we are falling behind; life is passing us by, and ultimately, we are failing. 

Firstly if this, does sound like you, then know you are not alone, and actually, we are all in this together. 

I want to share an excellent recommendation made to me by my long term client Andrew. 

A podcast called "The happiness Lab". A heartwarming podcast on behavioural psychology with a focus on what makes us happy. It is science-based with a healthy sprinkling of the hosts' personal stories and snippets of interviews with guests on the podcast.

Listening to just a few episodes has already improved my outlook on life, mental health, and enthusiasm. 

My favourite episode talked about a study carried out using four daily habits to improve our overall happiness. I like most about these habits, they are simple, sustainable and certainly something we can do each day. 

To summarise, here they are:

  1. Sleep 8 hours each day. We all "know" that sleep is good for us, but how consistently are we getting it? Have you practised a sleep ritual? Here are some tips from Matthew Walker on how to get a better nights sleep.

  2. Meditate for 10 minutes a day. Try Headspace or Calm. These have certainly helped me practice more regularly. You can choose your meditation focus for and for how long.

  3. Perform an act of random kindness each day. You can do this for a stranger or a friend. Expect nothing in return and do it for the sake of it.

  4. Keep a grateful log. Write down five things you are appreciative of every day. These can be as simple as having warm water, a roof over your head, or even Netflix. Whatever resonates with you the most that day.

The idea of all of these is to retrain and reshape your brain to develop happiness, empathy and compassion. 

Suppose we reorganise our focus on things we can control, being ok with moving at a slower pace and practising daily habits that will make us happier. I'd argue, by shifting our focus onto these habits, then the strange journey we are all on right now will become more comfortable and perhaps even more enjoyable. 

I hope you found these tips valuable. I know I certainly did.

Yours in health.