Look to the future
Carrying the burden of past bad experiences will lead to resentment or regret. Let go of negativity, or you’ll struggle to be truly happy. You can’t change the past, so focus your time and energy on the present and on the future.
The grass is greener right here
Happy people are generally content with their lot, rather than always chasing something unattainable. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, give thanks for all the things you do have – whether it’s a loving family, great friends or simply a warm cat on your lap.
Exercise is a foolproof way to get a happiness boost. So wrap up warm and get out there for a bracing walk to help clear the mind (and burn off those extra Christmas pounds). If you prefer indoor pursuits, try yoga or join a dance class to get your heart pumping.
Make someone feel good
The more you help other people and make them happy, the happier you’ll be. They don’t have to be grand or extravagant gestures – just give someone you know a call, it’ll make you both feel better.
Focus on your strengths
What do you do better than anyone else? “If you’re a people person, or a whizz with numbers, concentrate on improving and making the most of these skills,” says Catherine Roan, from www.careershifters.org. Focusing on your strengths might help to move you in a brand new direction or, at the very least, make any weaknesses feel less disheartening.
Know when to move on
If you’re really unhappy at work, then it’s time to rethink your nine-to-five. If you want a complete change, talk to people already doing the job you’re interested in. “This could give you the confidence that you’re making the right choice,” says Catherine. “And you may make some useful contacts who will help you make the change.”
Value your children!
“You love them, but do you get on as well as you could?” asks Jill Shaw Ruddock, author of The Second Half of Your Life. “If you don’t have a great relationship with your kids, repair any rifts or simply make the effort to see them more often.” However old they are, your children are always precious.
Birds of a feather
In life, like attracts like and happy people tend to gather friends more easily. So put on a happy face and people will find you much more approachable which, in turn, will make it easier for you to make new friends.
Find romance again
Embrace the fact that with maturity comes wisdom, so you’re less likely to get uptight about trivial things. Also, age shouldn’t be a barrier to whatever you want to do– whether you want to learn a new skill, change career or fall in love again.
Find your Passions for life
By identifying goals that excite you, whether it’s passing a degree or learning to play the cello, you’ll gain direction and focus. If you can find a hobby or pastime you’re passionate about, it’s a great way to occupy your time and may help you to meet some interesting new people. If you don’t have any goals, try to stay open-minded when it comes to discovering new hobbies.
When to ask for help…
There’s a big difference between ‘feeling low’ and depression. If you’re worried about your mood, ask yourself these questions:
- Have you stopped taking an interest in things you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel down most of the time?
- Has your appetite changed?
- Do you always feel tired?
- Is it hard to concentrate?
- Do you have problems falling asleep, or wake up early feeling exhausted?
- Do you suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence?
- Do you often feel guilty about all sorts of things?
- Have you found yourself thinking about death lately?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to more than five of these questions, talk to your GP. Remember, help is available!
For more advice on depression, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhs.uk