From the Irish Independent:

HOW TO BE HAPPY
By Sue Leonard

Photo credit: The wonderful netsrot

Life can sometimes feel like one huge stress. With long commutes, frantic working hours, and family commitments to squeeze in, it’s tough to even think about our mental well-being. Realising this, the thinktank Foresight asked a team of scientists to compile a plan to help people feel better about themselves. And the 400-strong team have done just that.

They’ve kept it simple. Taking the lead from nutritionists, who found a winning formula with their ‘five fruit and vegetables a day’ campaign, they’ve identified five tasks that, done daily, can protect a person’s mental well-being.

“These actions are so simple,” says Felicia Huppert, professor of psychology at Cambridge University, who led the campaign. “Everyone should do them daily, just as they are encouraged to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables.”

So what are those magic tasks?

  • To connect with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours
  • To be active, whether it’s gardening, dancing or walking
  • To be curious, to note the beauty of everyday moments
  • To learn something new
  • To give to others

But does it make sense? Rowan Manahan, a career coach, thinks it’s wonderful advice. “It’s all good,” he says. “It’s hard for people to find time these days, but if you take time to breathe and relax you are moving your brain away from its normal [often frantic!] waking pace. Meditation, yoga, gentle exercise, sex and prayer all help restore your brain and put you into a state of tremendous well-being. If you stop your distractions for a while; if you sit in the garden and inhale honeysuckle blossom, and focus on that scent, your brain goes into a reflective mode, and you can think about things in a completely different way.”

Full article in the Irish Independent here.