Home Mental Health & Well-Being Want to Live a Happier Life? Mental Health Expert Shares 8 Simple Strategies to Try

Want to Live a Happier Life? Mental Health Expert Shares 8 Simple Strategies to Try

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Every year, on 20th March, the world comes together to celebrate the International Day of Happiness. The day was originally established by the United Nations General Assembly to help people realise the importance of happiness in their lives.

Dr Katy James, mental health clinical director at Vita Health Group, has shared eight simple strategies to help you feel happier, more in control and better able to cope with the rollercoaster of life.

Dr James, explains: “Happiness will look different to everybody, but there are a number of strategies we can use in everyday life (big and small) that can help us to lead a more joyful path. Creating new habits and routines can be difficult, but the simple changes we make can have an almighty impact on our mental health and wellbeing.”

1. Listen to your body

Responding to the needs of your body with compassion can help you feel your very best. It could be as simple as ensuring you get an early night if you feel tired, hydrating when you’re thirsty, or moving your body when you feel sluggish or stiff.

2. Manage your stress levels

Finding ways to reduce stress, such as using time-management techniques, talking to your manager about your workload or practising breathing techniques, can really help to improve happiness.

3. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life

For years, Finland has topped the World Happiness Index. Many people say that Finnish happiness comes down to having the ability to pause and appreciate the little things in life. Enjoying simple pleasures such as clean air, walking in nature and swimming in natural waters can help to improve overall wellbeing. Try to incorporate moments of stillness into your daily routine and take note of the small things you’re thankful for.

4. Boost your self-esteem

One of the most effective ways to boost your self-esteem is to treat yourself as you would treat a valued friend. Acknowledge when you’re putting yourself down and instead think, “What would I say to my friend?”. When we beat ourselves up it can have a really negative impact on our happiness, so see if you can break the cycle.

5. Limit your alcohol consumption

When life feels challenging it can be tempting to drink alcohol to mask or numb difficult feelings. However, alcohol has the power to exaggerate negative emotions and it can actually make you feel sad, angry or aggressive. Think about limiting or cutting out alcohol to prevent triggering these negative feelings.

6. Give someone a compliment

Researchers have found that acts of kindness can help to promote overall wellbeing. Giving someone a compliment won’t just make someone else’s day brighter, it could make yours brighter too. You might be surprised by how good giving other people a compliment makes you feel.

7. Connect with people

Spending time with other people and building relationships is important for mental wellbeing. It can help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth and gives you an opportunity to provide support, and be supported, by others. Try to avoid relying on technology, such as social media and texting, alone to build relationships.

8. Acknowledge your unhappy times

No one is happy all the time – everyone faces challenges in life and it’s normal to find things difficult or feel low. Don’t brush these feelings under the rug and hope they disappear. Acknowledge and sit with your feelings, then actively shift your focus towards what it might take to recover.

Dr James concludes: “If you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to seek professional support. Book an appointment with your GP or refer yourself to an NHS talking therapies service. Know that you are not alone and there are qualified professionals who can help you.”

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