A few years ago, a social experiment in improving happiness was undertaken in the village of Slough, England. Social researchers used known cognitive and social methods to improve the happiness of Slough and it actually worked. Measurements taken before and after the experiment showed a demonstrable rise in individual and collective happiness for the people of Slough.
Here are the 10 easy steps that were used:
- Plant something and nurture it
- Count your blessings – at least five – at the end of each day
- Take time to talk – have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
- Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up
- Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
- Have a good laugh at least once a day
- Get physical – exercise for half an hour three times a week
- Smile at or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
- Cut your TV viewing by half
- Spread some kindness – do a good turn for someone every day
ACTION PLAN or COME ON GET HAPPY
Take one easy step and then add another every few days or perhaps have a 10 week plan: start with one step, add another the second week, etc., until you have all 10 steps in active daily use. You will actually be happier and so will your friends and those around you.
If we remember that knowledge of one’s ability to choose is empowering, then one is empowered to actively choose actions and activities that will bring happiness, gratitude, and optimism. These are core aspects of human wellness and they are easily nurtured and sustained.
Choose to practice happiness, for wellness as individuals and in community.