International Day of Happiness
It’s the UN’s International Day of Happiness today and their theme is ‘Choose to Help’ – how perfect for us!
Can I be totally honest? I loathe the idea of ‘pursuing’ of happiness. I know it sounds negative, but you see, happiness is a transient emotional state, not a destination. And searching for happiness, or trying to craft a positive mindset when bad things are happening, is just an unhealthy habit known as toxic positivity that usually leaves us feeling bad for feeling bad (read about how to avoid this in this Boots Health & Beauty magazine article).
Instead, we can adopt a much healthier psychological mindset by focusing on what’s in front of us and not somewhere in the far-fetched future. I bet you have things in your life already that make you happy. How can you build more of this good stuff into your daily experience to enhance your wellbeing from moment to moment?
Secondly, Choose to help
Coming back to the UN’s strap-line and call to action . . .
I imagine you’re already doing a lot for others – family, friends, neighbours, colleagues. And I bet you have done something in the past few weeks, no matter how seemingly small, to help Ukrainian’s fleeing or fighting for their lives, or other charitable causes.
In my last blog I wrote about how exhausting it can be when we choose to help (or get dragged into helping) others. But have you ever considered the flip-side – how helping others makes you feel happier?
But there’s a caveat: it’s not simply about choosing to help, it has be help that you can give without neglecting your own needs too – haha, the twist! Only then can it be considered healthy helping.
Well here, and on socials this coming week, I’ll be celebrating how helping others can actually be healthy for us too; how it can increase our level of life satisfaction, decrease stress, and enhance our wellbeing.
There are decades of research and even neuroscientific evidence that helping others is good for us. Below is a brief overview of interconnected components of mental and physical wellbeing.
The Many Benefits of Healthy Helping
Psychological e.g. seeing yourself as a good person
Physiological e.g. that warm buzz sensation in your chest
Neurological e.g. the brain activates the parasympathetic nervous system, calming you down
Social e.g. you feel more connected to those around you
I’ll be coming back to all of this because it’s a huge theme in my ever-growing #bookbaby.
So, my question for you is . . .
How will you choose to help whilst not neglecting your own needs?
Perhaps you’re in the midst of helping lots of people, in lots of ways – you might be giving emotional support to a colleague, you might be doing favours for a neighbour, you might donate cash or clothing, or volunteer your time. In which case, please don’t feel under any more pressure to do more. Doing what you can, in your own way, is good enough.
– It just occurred to me, as I look down into the please-love-me eyes of my neighbour’s black labrador, Raven, that I’ve chosen to help them out by dog-sitting her, but I also get massive benefits – three days of doggy cuddles!!
Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about how you can best support those who need it but haven’t quite decided what you’ll do yet. In this case, I’d love to know what you choose to do to help others, just comment below.
As ever, be deliciously kind to yourself. And just in case you can’t wait to hear from me until my next blog (!) come join the conversation on socials.