One of the secrets to living a healthy and long life is to make your day harder. This may sound counter intuitive but research has shown that the less time you spend sitting down and the more time you spend being active the healthier you are likely to be. Being active doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours working out at the gym. It is easier to add small amounts of activity into your day by walking a bit more, taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus a stop earlier and so on. This great video by Dr Mike Evans gives you lots of suggestions to “tweak the week” to make your day a bit harder. It may sound counter intuitive but it’s worth it for your long term happiness and well-being.
There is a lot of research in the literature on positive psychology about the benefits of mindfulness for well-being and stress reduction. All the evidence-based benefits in the world will make no difference to you at all unless you give it a try. According to Andy Puddicombe from Headspace just 10 mindful minutes can make a huge difference. Watch his TED talk and try a little bit of mindfulness for yourself. You can sign up to a free trial 10 day mindful programme on the Headspace website here.
Andy Puddicombe TED talk: All i takes is 10 mindful minutes
2014 has been the year of books. I have probably devoured more books than I have hot dinners thanks, in part, to my Masters course in positive psychology. This list is a reflection of some of the topics I have been studying such as willpower, the mind body connection, the importance of exercise and nutrition to wellbeing and personal and visionary courage. I would recommend them all to the general reader as I have learned from and been inspired by all the books I have read. In no particular order of preference here is my list for 2014:
This is a really fascinating book by Dr Mark Hyman about the importance of food as medicine which looks at how what we choose to put in to our body affects both our physical and mental well-being. It is a great introduction to the concept of functional medicine in which the body and brain are all part of one interconnected system which needs to be viewed… Read the rest...
The more I learn about the science of positive psychology and well-being the more I become intrigued about the connection between mind and body. This is an area of well-being which deserves more attention and which researchers are starting to take more seriously. There are two women, in particular, who stand out for me as strong advocates of a health care system in which people are encouraged to take responsibility for their own well-being in cooperation with understanding doctors who practice integrative medicine. The first is Dr Lissa Rankin and the second is Kris Carr the well-known wellness activist and cancer thriver.
This week I have been reading, with great interest, a new book by David Zweig entitled Invisibles. This book is part of a recent raft of books emanating from America, such as Quiet by Susan Cain, Give and Take by Adam Grant and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek which advocate turning the volume down, giving to other people, putting others first and ending incessant self-promotion. It’s an interesting and welcome trend which is aiming to reverse the view that only loud, brash celebrities who are famous for being famous (and ideally wealthy) can be successful and fulfilled.
The premise of David Zweig’s book Invisibles, is that there is a group of highly talented professionals who choose meaningful work over recognition. By flying under the radar these individuals achieve greater well-being and job satisfaction than many who … Read the rest...
This is a two part blog post focusing on 2 different methods of discovering your strengths. Today’s blog post focuses on the VIA approach and a future post will focus on the Gallup Strengthfinder method. (There are other surveys which I have not tried yet such as Realise2 which are also worth looking at.)
Before I blind you with science it’s important to look at why we should focus on discovering our strengths at all. Like many people I have always assumed that I needed to work on my weaknesses rather than focus on my strengths believing that it was my weaknesses which held me back. I always assumed that things which came naturally to me were easy and therefore could not be considered as strengths. The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I realise how wrong these assumptions were. Of course we all have weaknesses and I am certainly not advocating that we should either ignore… Read the rest...
This interesting article by Dr Allen Judd and Marie-Josée Salvas Shaar which was recently published in Positive Psychology News Daily takes a look at how we do not create a healthy lifestyle in isolation. We are influenced by our friends, our community, our role models and our traditions. I think it is important to recognise that our path to well-being is more influenced by outside factors than we think.
Dr. Judd Allen is President of the Human Resources Institute, LLC, a firm that has assisted several hundred government, business, and community settings to bring about lasting and positive culture change. He earned his Ph.D. in Community Psychology from NYU and is on the Board of Directors of the National Wellness Institute. Dr. Allen has authored more than 50 books, journal articles, training manuals, and software titles on positive cultures. Full Bio
I am thrilled to have just been offered a place to study for an MSc in Positive Psychology at The University of East London beginning in September. My ongoing personal studies of the science of happiness literature, my participation in an excellent 10 week course in Positive Psychology at City University and my writing of The Happiness Experiment blog have all created a perfect storm in my life where I felt the need to learn more about this fascinating science. You could say that I have reached a happiness tipping point. It turns out I am not alone. This great article by Sunnie Toelle, published in The Huffington Post on 3rd June, investigates the fact that many other people seem to have reached a happiness tipping point too. The science of happiness is everywhere in the news and media at the moment as people become increasingly aware that economic success does not necessarily equate with a happy and fulfilled life. This article reviews whether
This article by Lisa Sansom, published in Positive Psychology News Daily, looks at the significance of friendships to our well-being. In these times of hyperconnectedness in Social Media we tend to forget what a real friend is. How many of your “friends” on Facebook can you really count on in your hour of need? Professor Richard Wiseman also argues in his book The Luck Factor that your level of connectedness not only affects your well being but also the amount of “luck” you experience in your life. Lisa and Richard just might be on to something, take a read of Lisa’s article and decide what you think.
Real People = Real Connections = Real Well-Being
A few weeks ago, I received a message in my LinkedIn mailbox. The sender indicated that she was looking for someone to fill a rather substantial contract position, and would I please come and talk with her about it. I didn’t know this person directly, … Read the rest...
Happiness at work is big news. Take a look at this new video by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) who have worked together with Zappos to create a new happiness at work survey. This new tool which was launched recently gives companies a simple way to measure happiness and well-being in the workplace and to implement improvements to create a happier workforce. According to the article below from the Guardian Sustainable Business section, having a happy workforce actually makes good financial sense.
A happy workforce is more engaged, creative and more focused, increasing the overall productivity of a company, says Tim Smedley