HERE'S HOW YOU CAN BE A HAPPIER PERSON
We're all guilty of putting other things in our lives before our own happiness. Whether it's your job, children, your partner -or even your addiction to social media -that takes up most of your time, you probably need to become more `mindful'. What exactly is that? Well, mental health experts describe it as knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology , says that it can be an `antidote to the tunnel vision' we have developed in modern life, helping us to enjoy the world and making us happier. Psychological therapist Emma Kenny , who has worked for 17 years in therapy and 10 years in the media, gives us 12 steps to help increase our mindfulness.
1 MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Having `me' time is essential for positive mental health. Spending time doing things that inspire you makes you happy. Whether it's baking, walking the dog, salsa dancing or practising meditation, self-activity inspires a positive attitude.
2 NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Happiness comes from nurturing relationships, so make sure you make time for yours. Whether it's scheduling a date night with your partner, taking the kids to the park or having some cake with a friend, connection is an essential role in happiness.
3 SET YOURSELF GOALS
Make sure you list the things that you want from your life and then note how you intend to achieve them. Setting goals and working towards achieving them makes us feel great about ourselves and ensures you can reflect on your success.
4 LEARN TO RELAX
It doesn't matter how -be it taking a long soak in the bath, listening to relaxing music, or by going for an energising run; relaxing is essential in happiness. Try to set aside at least 20 minutes a day simply winding down.
5 LEARN TO BE SELFISH
Before you can make anyone else happy, you need to make sure you are. Look after your own needs first, this way you will have energy for everyone else's.
6 LEARN TO SAY NO
Instead of thinking of it as saying no to someone, think of it instead as saying yes to you. People who accept that saying no is a good thing, tend to feel happier and less overwhelmed than people who agree to do whatever they are asked.
7 DO SOMETHING YOU ARE AFRAID OF
Taking risks make us happy. Trying a new activity, facing a fear or joining a new interest group can feel scary, but the rewards are worth it. People who take risks tend to be happier and more successful than those who don't.
8 TRY TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT
So many of us are second guessing what's going to happen that we fail to experience what's happening right now and consequently end up missing out.Take a breath and look at how amazing your life is right now.
9 TAKE A DIGITAL DETOX
Stop comparing your life on social media with everyone else's. By putting your laptop, smart phone and tablets away, even if just for an evening or a couple of hours per day, you will significantly reduce anxiety.
10 GET OUTSIDE
Go for a walk or run in the fresh air, aside from being fantastic for your physical health, getting outside is fantastic for psychological well-being.When was the last time you simply stepped out and observed things around you? Sometimes, just sitting and watching the world go by can be a therapeutic experience.
11 TREAT YOURSELF
Whether it's a day to pamper yourself or a trip to the theatre with your best friend, rewarding yourself for simply being you is a great way to boost self esteem.
12 FIND YOUR STRENGTHS
Identify your personal strengths for a positivity boost! Noting how skilled we are in certain areas of our lives can remind us of just how talented we are and make us feel great.
13 SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PET
Pets give unconditional love.Spending quality time with your pet can be an enriching and calming experience. Take your pet for a walk or play catch. Their happiness is bound to rub off on you!
14 MEET YOUR FRIENDS
Catching up with old friends and reliving memories can actually be a great way to unwind and also boost your happiness levels. Whether you're meeting at a coffee shop or a swanky dinner place, laughing about old times will make you happy.
15 LET GO OF THE PAST
No matter how much you regret your past, holding on to it will never help you move ahead in life. Make peace with the past and learn to forgive -first yourself and then others.
16 BREATHE WELL
As innocuous as it sounds, taking deep breaths especially when you're bogged down with stress will help you deal with anxiety better.