Everyone wishes to be happier, but it takes effort. According to the ONS, nearly half of British people are currently experiencing particularly high levels of anxiety.
The Happiness Expert's Guide
Life, pandemic or not, will always have its ups and downs. Owen O'Kane, motivational speaker, psychotherapist, and author of Ten Times Happier, explains how to improve your mood no matter what life throws at you.
He shares his tips for feeling happier here...
Reconsider what is important
'Think about what is important in life. What aids your performance? We'll never solve all of our problems, and we don't have much control over what happens next, so it's about how we can manage our minds better on a daily basis, to change our perspective and approach life with more hopefulness.'
Anxiety is defined as "an intolerance of uncertainty" in the textbook. Your anxiety will decrease if you can become more tolerant of uncertainty. Many people are constantly spinning ten plates, and it is important to consider what one thing you can manage today. Concentrate on that and put everything else aside. You'll feel relieved that you won't have to juggle everything at once.'
'When we are anxious, our neuropathways are chaotic, so simply bringing your attention to a point of focus helps regulate the neuropathways.' I had a stressful day recently, so I took a three-minute break and sat in the garden with a cup of tea. I returned with a tonne of work to do, but I felt better because I'd taken advantage of the opportunity. The key is to recognise when it is time to pause and return to a state of stability.'
Modify what you can
Consider the foods you eat, the supplements you take, and the amount of exercise you get. Even a 15-minute brisk walk outside boosts serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine [three key hormones associated with mood and happiness]. There is scientific evidence that this stuff can alter the chemistry of your brain. Just start with one thing and see how it goes.'
Forget about stuff
"I'd be happier if I were richer or had a better job," the cliché goes. There's nothing wrong with desiring material things, but we can't rely on them to make us happy. You must connect with your inner self, who you are, what makes you tick, whether you are living a life true to your values, surrounded by the right people, and making the right choices for you.'
'If it is impossible for someone to quiet their mind and steady themselves, they should seek help.' Talk to someone – start with a close friend, then go to a doctor or a therapist. Remember that if today feels awful and overwhelming, it is only today. It does not imply that this is the entire course of your life. You'll be able to bring things down with the right help and support.'
Have faith in yourself
'There isn't a single human on the planet who isn't a little uneasy. While you may not feel in control of everything going on in the world right now, the more you can shift your focus internally, accept responsibility for it, and bring yourself into a place of trust that the storm will pass, the better.