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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Eight Quick Boosts for Happiness

I have found recently that a little bit of what you fancy does you the world of good.  In my case, this has been writing.  I have not had the time for it for quite a while so to have just a little for it now has proved revitalising and joyful.  And of course, now that I’ve started, I can’t stop!

We all have things that we tend to neglect or forget about and yet we know can help us.  I think it’s something about the human condition that each of us tends to make life harder for ourselves than it really could be.  Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple,” as Dr. Seuss put it.

Here are some ideas for giving yourself a quick boost and putting a perk in your step:

1.      Spend a little time doing something you love – it needn’t be long.  Ten minutes will do.  If you like to read but are too busy, maybe get a CD of a book to play in the car on the way to work.  If you like to meditate but feel squeezed for time, do what the Buddhist monks sometimes do and practise whenever you get even a spare minute – waiting for the toast to pop, for instance.  How much of our time do we waste when we could be doing something better?

2.      Take a walk.  Even if it’s only at lunchtime and it’s just to the shops.  Or why not go up a few flights of stairs instead of taking the lift?  If you get the time, go for a walk in nature.  Nietzsche said that, “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”  Certainly this is true for writers and I think it is for many other professions, too.  Walking is not only good for the body, it’s also good for the mind and soul.  And of course, it can be wonderful to walk with both a close friend and on your own.

3.      Grab an energy boost.  Drinks are useful – even water.  I recommend green tea as it has low caffeine which disperses itself in the bloodstream very slowly.  Herbal tea is very refreshing and different varieties have different healthy attributes. Coffee can be good in small doses and I am fond of yirgacheffe in particular as it has lower caffeine than other coffees.  Be careful though as too much coffee can leave you feeling wired which is not conducive to lowering your stress.  

4.      Meet a friend, speak to them on the phone or text them – especially the ones you’re overdue to contact.  Maybe send an email or even a letter – writing again!  Maintaining warm close bonds is important to our happiness.  It can be better to concentrate on keeping good friends rather than trying to make lots of new ones: "it is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them," Ralph Waldo Emerson.

5.      Make a plan for a treat .  Make sure you follow it how about that theatre visit and piano recital I keep promising myself?

6.      Play some happy music.  I often tell my clients that music is an excellent mood enhancer as well as reflector.  We tend to put on music to suit our mood, but actually it can change it too.  I have playlists on my Ipod to suit the mood I wish to create.

7.      Spend an hour getting through as many small tasks as you can.  These are the ones that nag at you.  They hang around and subconsciously they weigh you down.  They are the ones that get put back because they’re not important enough, when actually they are often slowing mechanisms for everything else.

8.      Smile and see the positive side of things.  How many times has a bad problem turned out to be an opportunity or an argument turned out to be the source of a new understanding.  This too is often fertile ground in my counselling room.

David is a fully qualified and BACP registered Person Centred Counsellor.  You can book a session with him by ringing 07578 100256 or emailing him at

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