Tag Archives: Giving

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess…

I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, especially this past week.  Everywhere I have looked there have been articles and posters about how gratitude is the successful attitude, about how happiness is essential for stress free living, all sorts of things like that.  And today, on my Flipboard App on my phone, there was an amazing article about the 5 skills you need to increase your happiness.  Okay, thought I, I am giving in to the signals I am being sent.  Here is a blog post all about happiness and getting more of it.

happiness 2

So, according to this article that I read this morning, the first skill you need in order to increase your grin quotient is the ability to savour things.  If you savour a meal, you take your time over it, you enjoy the flavours, the textures, the time and energy which it has taken to prepare and cook the food.   You linger, you prolong the experience and you intensify your enjoyment of the moment, making it last for as long as possible.   You should do the same in your everyday life.  You can savour the past, by reminiscing.  You can savour the future with positive anticipation of what might happen.  You can also savour the present moment – by using that often trotted out modern phrase, mindfulness.  Apparently, savouring life boosts optimism, reduces stress and gets rid of a whole lot of negative emotions, making you happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with life.   And the more you recognise the good stuff, the more good stuff you see.

thank you

The second skill which is required to increase happiness is to say thank you.  This is the attitude of gratitude writ large. If you can identify and appreciate the things people do for you, and the things themselves, and then say thank you… well, the result is sheer magic.  Not only does it increase your optimism and self confidence, but it has also been shown to dampen your desire for more “stuff” all the time (well, why do you need the newest and latest gadget when you are really thankful for the one you have in front of you?  Makes sense to me!).  Of course being sincerely thankful for the people in your life as well means that you can have a deeper relationship with them.  That is always worth it.  According to research, it can also give you longer and better quality sleep.  I am soooo up for some of that!!

goal quote

The third skill we need is to aspire.  This is a bit trickier – but basically it boils down to having a reason for being, a sense of purpose and to be hopeful.  It enable you to be optimistic about the future.  People who have created meaning in their lives are generally happier and more satisfied.  If you have ever experienced genuine (and not forced and false) optimism, you will know that you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  It is a magnet almost.  When you have that sense of purpose and a goal to aim towards, it makes goals seem attainable and challenges are easier to overcome.  You will feel more successful, and you will be more successful!  Also, if you use the skills you have in every day life, all the time, you will increase your self esteem, curb stress and increase your vitality.  So, if you have a skill, show it off!  And smile about it!


The fourth thing to do to increase you happiness, and arguably, it is the one which ought to come first in this list, is giving.  Of course the person you are giving to will reap a reward, but did you know that the giver gets one too?  This is one of the reasons that every major faith has an aspect of charity to it.  Habitual givers have less stress, less isolation and less anger.  When you see what your gift can do for someone else, that makes you happier, more connected to the world and more open to new experiences.


Finally, happiness can be increased with the use of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to care about others.  If you can imagine and understand the thoughts, behaviours or ideas of other people, then congratulations, you are empathetic.  It is easier for some people than it is for others, but the good news is that compassion can be taught.  Empathy means that you will feel less judgemental, less frustrated, less angry and less disappointed about people.  Apparently it helps you to develop patience (Umm… I am very empathetic… I am just extremely impatient as well!).  Empathy also helps to solidify bonds between human beings, which is essential to the building and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.  This compassion needn’t just be for others though.  You need to be compassionate to yourself as well – the old “cut yourself some slack” argument.

I am definitely going to take up these five practices to increase the happiness in my life.  I could do with the extra boost, and especially if there is an upswing in the amount of patience that I might have.  To finish, I want to leave you with a quote from Terry Prince which I found on my Facebook timeline this morning…

“Your life is your Garden,

Your thoughts are the seeds,

If your life isn’t awesome,

You’ve been watering the weeds”

Here’s to happiness folks!


10 Rules for Better Health – Part Two

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s blog, and here is today’s, picking up where we left off.

10 rules


So, we did the first five yesterday and today we are tackling the last five.


Less words, More Action.  You can take this in two different ways.  Yes, it could mean getting your bahookie off the couch and doing some exercise, not matter how little or how short a time you can manage.  I think it could also mean keeping your word as well.  If you actually live up to what you have promised others, how good does that make you feel?  The endorphin kick you receive from both gives you a similar feeling.  So, lets do this!


Less Greed, More Giving.   That Movie in the 80’s with the line “Greed is good” was soooo wrong.  Greed is NOT good.  It is not good for the community, the world or the individual.  I might be swimming against the tide here, but if we all just gave a little of ourselves, time or companionship not necessarily money, our world would be a much better place.


Less Worry, More Sleep.  Did you know that more than 75% of the conditions which General Practitioners treat regularly, are due to stress?   Although humans do need some stress/worry to motivate them to do something, having the body’s flight or flight response on the go 24/7 is not healthy.  I have seen (and experienced) the damage it can do, and it is just not worth it.   Sleep is a great remedy.  There really is very little better than a good, deep, restorative sleep.  It is when the body repairs itself.  Sadly, I don’t get much of it myself due to insomnia and a very odd cicadian rhythm.  But I try, every night to sleep soundly and for at least 8 hours.

from the Guardian

from the Guardian

Less Driving, More Walking.   Not only will the environment benefit from less exhaust fumes, you will also benefit.  Not just from the exercise, but also from being in nature/out of a confined space.  It gives your brain a bit of space.  I often come back from a brisk walk with the dog having had a great idea for a blog post, or an idea for what to cook for dinner.  Breathing fresh air is a great stress reliever as well.



Less Anger, More Laughter.  Anger is corrosive and can cause so much damage to the body.  Often, holistic healers find that the blockages to people getting better are down to repressed anger or down to people being angry about things in other areas of their lives. Anger is not good.  Getting cross also represses your immune system.  Laughter however, truly is the best medicine.  it boosts your immune system, bathes your brain in Oxytocin and other feel good hormones.  Who hasn’t felt good after watching that hilarious comedy, or laughing hysterically at something someone said?  Its obvious.


So, today, my prescription is for you to go and either take a walk in some fresh air, find something you can give away to someone who really needs it, have a fabulous afternoon nap, and watch the film which never fails to make you laugh.  Or, better yet, do all of them!