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News

Be Happy!

Kindness is one of the simplest ways to find happiness, essential to humans in connecting and sharing with others. In an increasingly disparate society, with global crisis on a grand scale, scarcity of renewable resources, it is important to find ways to re- connect with each other again......

We are conducting a series of projects exploring the different ways people can increase their happiness, and the benefits that can de derived:

1. Tooting Transition Town- we are collecting kindness stories from the local community in order to create a Kindness for Tooting Prompt Pamphlet. This will be given out to the local community to act as prompts in encouraging kindness and other pro- social community activity. This builds on Transition Town localization philosophy.

2. As part of an experiment, students in East London will be asked to practice Kindness, gratitude and other pro- social activities to explore the relationship between pro- social interventions to increase happiness and pro- environmental behaviour (the reduction of energy use).

3. As Agency for Life LTD (co director- Yasmin Duggan), we have been developing happiness and other mood enhancing interventions for Unilever and Aviva (read more in main slide show)

 

 Happiness is most often defined in the literature, that is, in terms of frequent positive affect, high life satisfaction, and infrequent negative affect. These three constructs are the three primary components of subjective well-being, according to Diener (Diener, 1984). The argument for the benefits for affect is widely researched.

People are happier due to a certain number of things, including attainment of values and self- congruent and quality of goals, tension reduction and satisfaction of needs, Diener 1984). Research shows that regularly experiencing positive emotions creates an upward spiral' of affect, helping to build our resources through opening our minds and increasing creativity. This results in better use of our resources so that we better connect with people (Fredrickson 2001). There are several other positive benefits that can be derived when experiencing positive affect, however this study will concentrate on the benefits and relationship between positive affect and social connections.

NEF (New Economics Foundation), in 5 ways to wellbeing, cite the importance of connecting and indicate the “fundamental human need “ of connecting with other people, having both close and ”broader more ‘superficial relationships”. (Aked, J., Marks, N., Cordon, C., Thompson) According to Lyubomirsky (2007), the happiest people devote a great amount of their time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying these relationships. Myers (2000) also argues that close interpersonal relationships, good
health, wisdom, maturity, charity, moral development, self-control, purposeful striving, creativity, and accomplishments represent just a few things that contribute to positive affect. Happiness has numerous positive by-products that appear to benefit individuals, families, and communities (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2004). Furthermore, the literature search revealed that happy people gain tangible benefits in many different life domains from their positive state of mind, including larger social rewards (higher odds of marriage and lower odds of divorce, more friends, stronger social support, and richer social interactions (Okun, Stock, Haring, & Witter, 1984). Seligman (2011) also points to the central importance of relationships for our wellbeing and our happiness.
Clearly, evidence points to the importance of connecting and forming positive relationships with people as a key contributor to increasing happiness.

Here are a few things we are using-   try them out:

ADVICE: APPRECIATE!
Maybe you thought it was money, or food, but experts are saying that the key to happiness is something entirely different. It's gratitude. 

Gratitude is the practice of noticing and appreciating the positives in the world (particularly in your own personal world). Shifting the focus from what you don't have to what you do have can have a profound influence on your moment-to-moment mood and emotional state, and it can have a huge impact on your physical health, as well. Recent research shows that a daily gratitude practice can lead to increased concentration, enthusiasm, optimism and satisfaction -- not to mention improved sleep quality and a greater sense of connection to others.

One of the ways gratitude does us good is by helping us to build our relationships with other people, which make them and us happier. Science shows that gratitude increases how willing we are to help and forgive others, which helps us all get along.
Gratitude also helps us feel valued which is a basic human need. We all have it. But sometimes we don't realize that we've had a positive impact on someone else, so it feels good to know. What's more this has a knock-on effect. If we know that others have valued what we've done, we are more likely to do it again, so other people benefit

ADVICE: THANK THE PEOPLE WE ARE GRATEFUL TO
Think of people you're really grateful to - people who've had a particularly positive influence or impact on your life or who have been really kind. For example, they could be your parents or other family members, friends, teachers, work colleagues, teammates or neighbours. Note their names down. It's important that you feel genuinely grateful to them.

Pick one person to write to, perhaps someone that you've never thanked properly before. Ideally someone you could meet for a face-to-face meeting in the next week.
Write a letter to them. Be specific and clear about what they did for you and how it affected your life then and now. If you haven't seen them in a while, let the person know what you're doing and explain how what they did contributed to the person you are today.

ADVICE: GRATITUDE DIARY
Each Day
Set aside time when you can ‘step outside’ your life and thoughtfully reflect, preferably in the evening. Think back over the previous 24 hours of 3 things for which you are grateful, thankful for or appreciative of and why, from the mundane (e.g. having milk in the fridge) to the magnificent (your child’s first smile). Please do this each day for 1 week. If you don’t manage to do this everyday- forgive yourself- we know you have a busy life! Just carry on the next day.

Some examples:
• Focus on what you know is true
• Something you are good at
• What you like about where you live
• Goals you have achieved
• Advantages and opportunities you have had
• Individuals who care for you/ you care for
• Have made contributions of sacrifices for
• Or touched your life
• Your objects of gratitude
• Why you are grateful
• About yourself
• How your life has been enriched
• Something you usually take for granted
• Significant others

You can download a handy Gratitude Diary from us 

Interventions have been developed with Agency for Life, for a UNILEVER project. Please contact us for interventions specifically catering for your needs.
 

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