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Six Minutes to Happiness

Life is a journey with ups and downs. But our brains tend to focus on the downs. That’s because we have evolved to spot potential danger. So we see the downs more quickly and think longer and harder about them.

Interestingly, psychological research tells us that we can develop some habits that train our brains to become better at noticing the positives in our life. Here are three two-minute exercises to practice, as described by Harvard psychologist, Shawn Achor.

Ingredients for a Refreshing Holiday

With today’s hectic pace of life there appears to be a greater need to take breaks or holidays. In fact, a lot of research now highlights the health benefits of taking vacations. For example, the famous Framlington Heart Study in America, followed 12,000 men over a nine year period and found a clear link between the holidays and physical wellbeing. As one researcher put it, "The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived”.

Helping Yourself to Feel Better

Good self-help books have two important qualities. Firstly, they should explain things in a simple, clear and engaging way. They should help us to understand ourselves in a whole new light. This can be a very reassuring experience. Hopefully we will find out that we are not ‘crazy’ and that that other ‘normal’ people also experience these problems and also that they can get better. Secondly, the best self-help books provide a down-to-earth and practical plan of action; a route-map to pick our way out of the particular life difficulties we are facing. 

Dealing with Negative Self-Judgements

Do you ever find negative thoughts popping into your mind? Thoughts like, “I am a loser, nothing I do ever works out”, or “No-one takes me seriously”. It is quite normal for people to have these kinds of negative judgemental thoughts – but they can be especially troublesome for people who are anxious or depressed. If we cannot unhook from them they become a mental ‘quicksand’ and we can get bogged down by them.

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