Choose the movie

Without meaning to, we regularly run movies in our heads of what we don’t want to happen. The result: we scare ourselves stupid and our brain gets a signal that this is what we want and obliges with nerves and anxiety. Try this. Visualise yourself in the situation....

Amazing wish lists

Every year before Christmas, my family creates wish lists on a certain website. I can never think of anything I want so invented ‘The Amazing Wish List’. Ask people what they would love to have that doesn’t cost the earth. What you would like? Breakfast in bed? A day...

Have a beautiful day

Sometimes we can get a bit martyred. Our well-being is important. At regular intervals give yourself a special day. What would be the best and most beautiful day you could have? Would it be spent walking in the woods after a leisurely breakfast or whirling around on a...

Love past pleasures

We grow up awfully fast and forget some of the pleasures we enjoyed when younger. People just love to talk about how hard the old days were and what a struggle it all was. Be honest with yourself and look back on all the good times and the pleasant memories too. You...

Leave your legacy

Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher, stated that, “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”. Our own happiness can be greatly enhanced by ensuring the happiness of others. Think about what your legacy will be. In what way...

Fill the sweetie jar

Imagine you have a big old sweetie jar. Put some large stones in. Is there room for more? No? Try pouring some gravel in. Any space left. Not really? Try tipping sand in. Amazingly there is still room. In life we often fill that jar up with all the sand and gravel of...

3 Routes to happiness

Just to recap some of the themes so far. Psychology shows that there are 3 paths to happiness – pleasure, engagement and meaning. We are at risk of unhappiness if we focus entirely on pleasure because in fact it has the least to contribute. Whilst engagement, through...

Learn to persevere

Robert the Bruce took as his motto, “Try, try, try again”, having watched a spider persevere at spinning its web. Psychologists talk about delayed gratification, being able to wait and work for something better rather than grabbing what you can get now. The ability to...

Practice makes perfect

Being positive takes practice. Approach any new situation knowing you can succeed. Consider what would be a successful outcome. Think about your talents and how you are going to make it come good. You may have to try a number of different strategies before it works....

Get into the zone

Happiness is worth pursuing not just so that you experience a state of bliss but because of all the other benefits. There is a strong relationship between health, wealth, success and happiness. People often assume that success leads to happiness when in fact there is...

Not jam tomorrow

There’s a fairly puritanical belief about suffering now and getting your reward in Heaven. That if you work hard now then there will be jam tomorrow. Don’t put happiness on hold. It is too precious an emotion to leave to a hope, that one day, if this goes well and...
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