Put a ring around it: a tool to help you cope in times of crisis.

A week before the birth of my little one, my Father suffered a breathing failure, beginning a long battle with what was posthumously diagnosed as a rare form of motor neurone disease. He survived another 15 months, spending over 7 months in intensive care. Whether it was grief, stress, sleep deprivation or post natal depression, or a combination of all, I really struggled. The piece of advice that really stands out in my mind was to “put a ring around it”… (more…)

How to get HAPPY!

Last week we took a look at the research findings on the characteristics shared by happy individuals. These are: optimism, self-confidence, extraversion and self-efficacy.

For suggestions on how to build optimism check out my article on dealing with setbacks. For a proven and very simple technique to develop your self-confidence, please read my article about self-talk. To boost extraversion and the enjoyment you gain from your relationships I recommend you read my article on building positive relationships.

Let’s now turn our attention to self-efficacy: a definition and tools to cultivate it. (more…)

What do HAPPY people have in common?

Another interesting snippet of research this week examining the personality traits common to happy individuals. The best news is that these are attributes that we can train and cultivate – more on that next week. According to Caroline Adams Miller, a leading positive psychologist, these are the Big 4: (more…)

7 ways to cultivate the healing power of FORGIVENESS:

Of the 12 happiness-boosting strategies I introduced in “Self-Care Part 1”, practising forgiveness can be the most difficult – but also the most life changing. Please remember that in choosing which strategies to work with, you need to consider appropriateness, life circumstances, timing and your personality.

Given the moral and ethical issues involved, deciding when to use the strategy of forgiveness is a very personal choice. There may indeed be some events that are in fact unforgiveable. Only choose to work with the strategy of forgiveness if it resonates for you.

Central to the notion of practising forgiveness as a method for boosting happiness is an understanding that we practise forgiveness not for the benefit of our transgressors but to free ourselves.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at defining it, understanding its value and identifying some strategies to develop your capacity to forgive if you feel it is appropriate. (more…)

What’s in your self-soothing toolkit?

I had an experience this week that totally knocked me off my centre and it served to remind me of just how important it is to have a toolkit of things that can help soothe and calm us.

While I have been writing recently a great deal about happiness strategies I think it is important to acknowledge that I am not saying that we should expect to find ourselves in a state of happiness all the time. There will be moments in our day, sometimes long stretches of time, where we are challenged by life and it is essential that we give ourselves permission to have what I call a ‘normal human reaction’ to life.

At times we will feel sad, angry, frustrated, lost, confused, anxious and all the other emotions that form the full gamut of expressions and this is ok. It is important to be real, to give ourselves time to feel and respond to what happens in our lives. While it is ok to have these feelings, we also need some strategies to help us soothe ourselves, to reconnect with our calm-abiding centre.

I’d like to share mine with you and hope that this might motivate you to articulate yours. If you are in a happy place right now then there is no better time to brainstorm because a positive mood enhances your creativity.

If you are not in a great place at the moment then it might help to sit down with a friend or have a session with a coach to help open your eyes to the calming and uplifting things that are available to you. (more…)