Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind.
Monday 20th March marks International Day of Happiness and this year's theme is Mindful, Grateful, Kind.
Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country which has recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.
Happiness is a fundamental right for all and is included in the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.
Whilst last year's theme "Build Back Happier" was aimed to achieve recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's theme is centred around "Be Mindful. Be Grateful. Be Kind."
As you probably know, at Positive Outlook happiness plays a key part of our mission, whether it's the happiness of our team, our customers or the wider community. We've therefore shared some easy tips to help you keep a smile on your face every day and look at life on the bright side!
Mindfulness is a technique to help you notice what's happening in the present moment, without judgement. It is known to help you become more self-aware, feel calmer and less stressed, cope with unhelpful thoughts and be kinder towards yourself.
Do you ever arrive at work realising you don't really remember the walk from home or eat your dinner whilst watching TV, scrolling on your phone and thinking about what you have to do the next day? So many of our day-to-day activities are done on automatic pilot that it's easy to reach the end of the day feeling like it's all been a bit of a blur.
Our schedules are often so busy, the idea of practising mindfulness might seem like adding another chore to that never-ending to-do-list. However there's a number of quick mindfulness tips you can incorporate to your daily life without needing extra time and we've listed a few below:
- Mindful eating: research has shown that when we eat with more mindfulness, we digest our food better which helps get more vitamins and minerals and aids in overall digestive health. Pay attention to the smell, taste and texture of what you're eating or drinking.
- Mindful walking: try to focus on the feeling of your body moving. Notice the traffic, the nature surrounding you, with all its different smells.
- Mindful breathing: when feeling overwhelmed, the box breathing technique is a great tool to bring you back to the present moment. All it involves is breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 4 seconds, breathing out for 4, holding it again for 4 and repeating.
To learn more about mindfulness, click here.
Practising gratitude is not only a powerful tool to improve your personal mental health but it will also benefit those around you.
There is a strong correlation between increased feelings of happiness and self-worth and giving or receiving gratitude. We are happy because we are grateful, not the other way around.
No less than 70% of employees would feel better about themselves if their boss were more grateful, and 81% would work harder.
Furthermore, regular gratitude journaling has been shown to result in 5% to 15% increases in optimism (Amin, 2014).
So if you're ready to give it a go, below are a couple of tips to practice gratitude:
- End the day gratefully: before going to sleep, write down 3 things you're grateful for. You can add them to a gratitude journal, a note in your phone or just a post-it for you to look back at in the morning. It doesn't have to be big achievements or expensive things, but can be as simple as time spent with your friend, the nice dinner you had, and more. The little things are what makes all the difference.
- Share your gratitude with others: each day, thank someone for their help, kindness, or anything positive that comes to your mind. That person might be inspired to do the same and before you know it, you'll have created a little chain of gratitude!
Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others or yourself, motivated by genuine warm feelings. Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain's natural painkiller. Kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population! It's also known to reduce your blood-pressure and therefore protect your heart.
Here are some random acts of kindness to be nicer to those around you and also to yourself:
- Share a snack
- Write a positive comment online
- Send a thank you note
- Give up your seat
- Give yourself a compliment
- Get yourself a well-deserved massage
- Spend time doing the thing you love the most
If research suggests that up to 30-40% of our happiness is genetic, the rest is down to the life we lead and the environment we live in so let's start today and let us know what’s putting a smile on your face today!
It's so easy to focus on all the little things that might get in your way but it would be a lot less tiring to look at the bright side and think of everything that's gone well at the end of each day, such as receiving a nice compliment, enjoying the sun at lunchtime or your puppy going through the day without chewing anything (my personal favourite).
Having read that your happiness increases by 37% wearing bright colours, I'll be wearing my favourite PO t-shirt, watching Inside Out curled up on the sofa with the above naughty puppy! Enjoy your day and keep it positive!
Blog Author: Léa Gorniak - Mar 20th 2023