‘Keep calm. There are lots of things outside our control. Let’s remember to breathe and focus on what really matters so we can respond constructively.’
It’s definitely true that any of the Happynesshub tools assist in cultivating calm and poise in even the most challenging situation. The key is making the tools into a habit – so that when we are confronted with things outside our control, we are primed and have our toolkit to call upon. I think my three top choices for essential tools to keep calm would be:
- Gratitude: A real jack-of-all-trades, cultivating gratitude has been linked to a greater ability to cope in challenging times, as well as greater patience and self-control: and who couldn’t do with a bit of those?
- Positive focus: Good friend and colleague, Professor Elaine Fox has found that although our levels of optimism and pessimism are, to an extent, hardwired into our brain, by making a real effort to act and think more positively, we can create new neural pathways that increase positive affect, making us more optimistic and better able to cope with the ups and downs of life. Neat, huh!
- Meditation: An obvious one, and a biggie for me! Practising mindfulness and mindful meditation is linked to a whole raft of psychosocial benefits, including lower aggression when faced with direct provocation.
‘Stay wise. Making wise choices helps everyone. Let’s choose positive actions that support our well-being and help others to do the same.’
Again, all and any positive psychology tools, used regularly, will certainly help to cultivate a ‘wise’ outlook on life. However, I’ve picked out a couple that are of particular value when it comes to this:
- Awe: Individuals who report feeling higher levels of awe felt that they had more time available, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, and reported greater life satisfaction. And, according to a paper by the wonderful human being and good friend Dacher Keltner, awe can ‘transform people and reorient their lives, goals and values.’ It may even be ‘one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth’.
- Using your strengths: Knowing and using your personal strengths is associated with greater authenticity, an improved ability to make good choices for yourself and higher self esteem – all of which contribute to greater wellbeing, as well as ‘wise’ choices.
‘Be kind. We’re all in this together, even when we’re forced apart. Let’s stay connected and reach out to help others who may be in need.’
This just seems such a serendipitous round-off to this year’s theme, considering it was also the core message of the Now and Beyond on Inside Out Day Festival – which I’m sure you all remember we collaborated on as Bow-Wowza just a few weeks ago. For people everywhere, young, old and everything in-between, kindness is surely one of the most important things we humans need to practise. And now more than ever! So here’s a little bit of research to inspire you, in case you needed it:
Well, my lovely Hubbers, I hope you’ve learnt a little something from this newsletter and feel inspired to create some new happiness habits to last you until the next International Day of Happiness.