In the same way that our brains develop learning patterns, we can also train ourselves to experience gratitude, resilience, optimism and meaning more easily. Here are some tips to help you experience these feelings more readily:
• Every day write down three things that went well and why they went well.
• Plan a list of enjoyable things you would like to do more often. Schedule them into your calendar and commit to follow through with them.
• Make a list of people who make you happy and plan to spend more time with them.
• Consider your personal growth goals and make a commitment to ongoing learning and developing new skills.
• Endeavour to perform every task to the best of your ability.
• Get physically active. Exercise releases endorphins, which leads to a sense of wellbeing.
• Begin ‘positive self-talk’.
• Find meaning in your life, whether that is being part of a faith community, volunteering or developing your virtues.
• Set realistic goals. Start with one positive goal for each day. Think about what you can do to change or prevent negative experiences from happening again.
• Reflect on whether you are trying to do too much. If you find that you are going through the day without taking the time or finding the energy to think about what you are doing and about happiness, ask yourself, “how can I change?”
On being grateful:
• Every day, write down a few things for which you are deeply grateful.
• Try not limit your thinking to the extreme terms, “never”, “always”, “everything”, and “nothing”. Building resilience and optimism is important. Don’t be scared to fail and always “try, try again”.
• Learn from children, for whom a pretty stone or shell can be a precious treasure.
• Appreciate life. Enjoy the rain; it will be hot and sunny again soon enough.
• Commit to looking for both big and small events/circumstances that are positive. This will give you the strength to tackle the negative.
The power of laughter:
• Remember that, like exercise, laughter releases endorphins.
• Start by exercising your smiling muscles. Put on a smile at least once a day.
• Share humour and joy with family and friends.
• Broaden your horizons, try something new and don’t take it too seriously if you fail.
Time for yourself:
Make time just for yourself every day. Be mindful of your attitudes and experiences. When it comes to taking time for you, it’s not always quantity that counts, but quality. There are many ways to create quality time including:
• Meditating and reflecting
• Making or listening to music
• Taking physical care, such as grooming yourself, cleaning or exercising.
• Seeking a positive environment, such as being in nature.
Time for others:
Keeping up relationships with people with people you have known is also important. Here are some ways to show your appreciation of others:
• Recognise people as individuals, not just as part of a group or family.
• Be prepared to practise forgiveness.
• Meet with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
• Connect with an aging or ill relative or friend.
• Help someone by looking after their children so they have time to themselves.
• Contribute to a worthy cause.