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Averil was talking on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning about Happiness . . . .for several seconds! The Office of Statistics brings out a new report today about well being and health. Questions they have asked before include: How satisfied are you with your life nowadays? 76% of people said – 7 or more out of 10. How happy did you feel yesterday? 76% -7 or more out of 10 How anxious did you feel yesterday? More than 50% rated -4 or less out of 10 To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile? 73% -7 or more out of 10 Even amongst people experiencing big problems 57% enjoyed yesterday So, happiness is our natural state. It is good for our well being and worth cultivating. Chronic unhappiness harms us and has a corrosive effect. At White Water we are seeing higher rates of anxiety, depression and fatigue at work. People need resilience to get through and happiness is a key component, so is worth cultivating. Here’s what you can do to increase your happiness – or subjective well -being as psychologists and the Office of National Statistics call it: 1) Experience positive emotions- focus on what is going right. In some cultures this is regarded with suspicion, and negativity and cynicism are regarded as more intellectually worthy. Go against the tide. Work at finding the most positive emotions in what you do, what you have and all that is around you 2) Engage – many people are disengaged from their jobs, sleep walking to work. Start by recognising what strengths you have, what you enjoy doing and find a way of using this knowledge at work to make each day more enjoyable and worthwhile. 3) Build a strong network of friends or relations. They immunise you against the vagaries of life. It is all too easy to work hard, feel knackered and not get around to phoning or seeing friends or family and then being too embarrassed to call. No-one died of embarrassment so just do it. It will feel like an effort but will pay off in the end. 4) Find meaning in what you do – ask yourself what mark, however small , are you making on the world? Being part of something bigger than yourself is great for your happiness. Make a difference – to the economy in your job, to a colleague at work that you encourage or to an Olympic tourist that you are helpful to! 5) Accomplishment – master something new or work on a skill you have already. Hard work and achievement make you happier, while watching TV of an evening depresses your mood. All this takes time and determination but the pay off isn’t just greater happiness but also better health, longer life, more fulfilling relationships and success in what you do. So don’t wait for life to make you happy, start changing now.

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