I’m leaving!

I’m writing this blog with just 5 working days left with Sally here at the Happynesshub in our children’s television and emotional wellbeing bubble.

What a delight it has been. For the past 15 months (minus the couple I was in India), I have learned more than I ever thought I would. Just the other day, Sally and I were chatting and she was telling me how much she has seen me grow – both professionally and personally. And so, I thought I would take this opportunity to look back on the past 15 months and gather my reflections on the Happynesshub.

I arrived here just five months after finishing University. I knew I wanted to work in telly, and, by chance really, I met Sally – somebody I immediately felt had the same values as me, and reasons for making content. Then, she told me about the Happynesshub.

As somebody who has experienced some pretty low points myself, and also watched several people around me go through challenging times, the ethos of the Happynesshub – to help people find the tools that work for them in order to feel happy and well – really appealed to me. And I knew it was something, with my researcher hat on, I would highly enjoy delving into – perhaps even better, be able to incorporate into not only work, but my personal life too.

So, I signed up. I watched the videos each day for the 21 Days… admittedly I didn’t try all the exercises immediately! But I wanted to reflect here on the three tools that I think have really made an impact for me.

The first is positive thinking. I have really enjoyed the exercise of, during a walk, simply looking out for and noticing the good things around me. Over the past year or so, I have often done this during my morning walk from Bond Street Station down to Oxford Circus. And there are two key things that always stay in my mind from this exercise (which may sound a little silly but always make me smile). The first is the flags on the big Oxford Street John Lewis store. I remember walking along once, and thinking how John Lewis is so proud to be John Lewis, that they have flags flying above it, marking it out to passers by. Now, whenever I pass, I look at the flags and smile. The second thing that makes me smile on my walk is the simple enjoyment I take in being able to walk across Oxford Circus diagonally. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Oxford Circus, at regular intervals and for 30 seconds, traffic is entirely stopped from crossing the junction, allowing pedestrians to cross in whichever way they choose (once, during the 30 second interval, I saw a gymnast rush to the middle and pose in a standing splits for a photographer!). And so, every morning, whilst crossing Oxford Circus diagonally, I just appreciate the enjoyment I take from it.

Clearly I have a very odd mind sometimes! But for you, it might be appreciation of the friendly server in the coffee shop you visit. Or the flowers starting to appear signalling that spring is close by. Whatever it is, recognising these things in your day-to-day life can really bring moments of simple happiness.

The next tool I love, which I actually think I need to work harder on, is kindness. Daily acts of kindness for others increases the giver’s life satisfaction (as shown here by Kathryn E. Buchananan and Anat Bardi). These can be as simple as making a cup of tea for a colleague, or checking in with friends to make sure they are okay. Or they can be bigger, like running a marathon to raise money for charity. Whatever they are, acts of kindness are powerful and can really make you feel good as well as improving your relationships and giving a boost to others. What’s more, kindness has a powerful ripple effect – being kind to somebody makes them more likely to be kind to another. A simple act of kindness can have far greater benefit than you might realise!

My final top tool is meditation. I wrote about meditation back in September when I first started practising regularly. Since then, I have kept it up as best I can (admittedly I’ve had periods of regular and not so regular practise). Now, for me, it’s always hard to tell what exactly is helping with my wellbeing and whilst meditation hasn’t necessarily had an immediate transformational effect, it allows me to sit and observe where I’m at. I can notice, whilst meditating, if my mind is busy and drifting from one thing to another, or if it is quiet and calm. It is an opportunity to regularly check in, and this in itself, has had a really positive impact on me.

So, Hubbers, the last 15 months have taught me a lot… and not just about working in telly. I’ve really learned about the tools that work for me including the many, many hints and tips that the Happynesshub offers. Sally has always said if you can just find two or three tools that work for you, it can make a real impact. So if you are in need of a boost, I would advise you to go back to the beginning. Go back to the 21 Days To Happiness package, try things out, and see what makes a difference!

By Ilana