The following was written by Trip Hart of SoHaPP — Science of Happiness and Positive Psychology:
Another tough year – a real tough year. Frustrating to most. Unbearably devastating to some. A pandemic’s second year with mandates, isolation and restrictions. Topping it off are worldly climate threats, national political discord, and communities deeply divided.
Such angst can be just too much. Enough to make a person ill – mentally ill. The numbers bear this out with the rise in suicides and self-harm in older adults but especially among the youth. We can’t let this happen!
Headlines and social media are blaring these turbulent times to our detriment, and we forget to live our lives the right way. We should choose to focus on what’s most important, our health – our mental health. How to be happier. Fortunately, there is a way. Will you seek it?
For the last seven years the initiative Habits for Happiness has taught many how to improve their mental well-being. It is easy to do, even for children. Focusing on one habit at a time with just a bit of effort on a daily basis over five months, tremendous long-term results are achieved. When one accepts the truth that the brain can be re-wired, many things are possible. Give it a try, as there’s nothing to lose and much to gain.
Instead of trying to modify the behavior of others, we should focus on our own conscience and character, and how we perceive the world. We can have hope for each day with an upbeat attitude, with specific steps taken towards being more positive. The quickest way to happiness is being kind to another, and easy actions can build this characteristic. These habits increase in intensity with a mindful approach, and single minded focus can be self-taught. Mental wellness is highly dependent on physical wellness, so being more active is a key ingredient to all of this. The parent of all virtues, being more grateful, is itself truly important but also ties all of these habits together. Interestingly enough, these five habits work together compounding on each other, and magnify the results. Incredibly, exercising these habits for your own sake brings mental well-being to others and the community at large. Who doesn’t benefit from a friend who always has positive feedback, does kind acts for you, listens attentively to your comments, and is gracious to boot!
The Science of Happiness and Positive Psychology (SoHaPP) was developed on the Plateau from a program begun in our school district, and we created the Habits for Happiness initiative to strengthen for all of us the five specific habits of being more Positive, Kind, Mindful, Active and Grateful. There is a web site with everything you need to get started – www.sohapp.org. With just a small daily effort, each habit is focused on by itself for thirty days beginning in January and ending in May. When one builds these habits up, life changes for the better. Relationships with others becomes paramount and more enriching, we feel better about our contributions to society, and our overall health improves.
Do you want hope, or will you languish in despair? The choice is for you and your loved ones to make. Choose hope, and join in with Habits for Happiness. Over the next five months you’ll see an article in the Courier Herald promoting each of the five habits. Look forward to next week’s edition on how one can be more Positive. “Til then, keep smiling!