Never Run Out of Happiness Again!

We all have that one friend who is always cheerful, regardless of what happens to them, and another friend who manages to spot pitfalls and problems in the rosiest of situations! If these two people are ever found together, they will have wildly different responses to the same circumstances. Have you ever wondered why that is – why we’re all so different?

The short answer is that we all have a “mood set point” that we bounce back to after any highs and lows – whatever happens – so your happy friend will be happy again after going through a tough time, and your Eeyore friend will still be moaning on holiday. And what about you? Well, wherever you are on the scale, things are about to improve for you, because you’re just about to find out that your set point can change, and what to do to nudge it in the right direction!

As you can imagine, a healthy lifestyle helps all round – enough sleep, healthy food, regular exercise. You might also have heard that focussing on helping others is a tremendous mood lifter – providing you with purpose, belonging, connection. But what I’d like to suggest here, in the space we have available, is a quick, enjoyable, everyday activity meant to shift your outlook towards what makes you feel good.

I was reminded of this by a client some time ago: the gratitude jar! Pick any jar (or mug, or vase, or box – anything), and have sticky notes or scrap paper at the ready. Anytime something pleasant happens, write a note and stick it in the jar. Make sure you include everything, no matter how tiny! A compliment you received, something yummy you had for tea, bumping into a friend, something nice you said or did for someone else (yes, it counts because it made you feel good!), your dog romping around at the park. Anything which brings you a smile goes in the jar. When you have a grumpy day, take all the notes out and read them… enjoy the fuzzy feeling!

The gratitude jar trains you to be on the lookout for the positive, notice it, and hold on to it for longer – which balances out our natural negative bias. If you’re interested in the many benefits of cultivating gratitude, you can find out more here: The Science of Gratitude - Mindful

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