Whether you want to lose weight, banish stress, quit alcohol or be happier, here’s how to make 2019 your best year ever…
THE EXPERT: Cheryl Rickman, author of The Happiness Bible: The Definitive Guide to Sustainable Wellbeing (Godsfield Press, £14.99)
I Use positive psychology
Positive psychology focuses on building on the good, rather than trying to overcome the difficult. To give this a try, express gratitude (either in person, in a journal or by reflecting on the positive things in your life); cultivate optimism (think about the positive in each situation or imagine your best possible future);
3 Find your forte
Studies show that knowing, naming and using your character strengths increases your life satisfaction. Whether it’s integrity, love of learning, leadership or kindness, notice what your signature or savour the moment (take delight strengths are, and when, where and how Want to feel better more of the time? You can – it just takes a little time, effort and practice. Mindfulness, meditation and a little mind mastery will help you create a happier life right now.
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Happiness is not our default state, believes Rickman – the key is to pursue in the small things and nurture your friendships and relationship).
2 Master your mind
If anxiety is getting in the way of happiness, choose an issue that concerns you and imagine the worstcase scenario (this takes away your fear of the unknown), then consider the best-case scenario. After this, consider what the most likely outcome is, then plan a course of action based on what’s most realistic and probable. you use them. To feel good more often, consider how you can use your qualities more frequently and in new ways.
4 Be kind to yourself
When we accept, know and love ourselves, we get to be happy and at peace. Being compassionate towards yourself creates your own internal sanctuary. To develop self-compassion, don’t reject your feelings; comfort yourself as you would a good friend and allow yourself to be imperfect balance and realistic optimism. Often it’s our negative thoughts about a situation, rather than the situation itself, that determine how we feel. Fortunately, the science of neuroplasty – which shows you can create new neural pathways when you reframe your thinking (see box right) – means you can banish unhelpful thoughts in favour of positive ones, and feel happier as a result.
Each time you have a thought, junctions between your neurons (the brain’s nerve cells) transmit a signal to another cell, strengthening neural pathways to eventually create a belief. The more you think certain thoughts, the more hard-wired the neurons become – a bit like flowing water carving out a new river. The good news is, think something more positive and more accurate, and your beliefs will change, too.
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