I briefly referred to the TED talk, “The Happy Planet Index” by Nic Marks in an earlier post wondering why there isn’t more positive reporting in mainstream news. While happy news may not be the focus of the news, one may wonder where our happiness comes from. In several reports, including “The social context of well-being” and “Very happy people” the key to well-being seems to lie in our social ties and relationships.
In this post, inspired by Nic Marks, I want to expand on what he has referred to as the Five Ways to Well Being, “What positive actions can you do to improve well being in your life?”
Five Ways to Well Being
- Connect. Connect with others. Now for me, I see connection as more than posting a status update on Facebook. When I’m connected with my family and friends I’m engaged in dialogues with them. I’m not just telling others how I’m doing, but actively listening to what’s going on in another’s life. It’s more than sitting in a room with other people, it’s communicating with others in such a way that reflects sincere interest, compassion and empathy. It’s good for others and good for you.
- Be active. If your job requires that you sit at a computer all day, get up and walk around regularly. Stretch. The way I look at it is that when there’s no movement, everything settles, even the air, it seems. When I get up and move around, the air seems to change, and me along with it.
- Take notice. One of the things that I try hard to do is be aware of what’s going on around me. I scan the news, yes, but when I’m out and about, I really try to take more notice of where I am and those around me. For me, awareness leads to appreciation on multiple levels. When I’m more aware of the person behind the counter ringing up my purchase, I’m more appreciative of them and this often results in a positive experience.
- Keep learning. Be a life-long learner. Marks emphasizes that learning need not necessarily be in academia, it could be learning how to cook a new recipe. The most important thing is to just allow the natural curiosity we all have to help us learn more about ourselves, what we do, and how we can do things more efficiently and with greater awareness.
- Give. Give your time, attention and resources to others. It feels good. When I give a gift to another, I can’t wait for them to open it; I can’t wait to see the other’s reaction. Raising my daughters I often reminded them that if they each gave without reservation to the other, each of them would have all they needed. This doesn’t mean that expectations should be tied to giving, it just means that if everyone gave, few would be left wanting.