MMMM: happiness

MMMM: Mindfulness, Meditation and Mental health May- is a month of quotes, books and (sometimes unexpected) resources to reflect on, to help have a happier, more mindful life.

Regular book reviews will continue on Fridays.


 

Quote of the day:

“The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” — Allan K. Chalmers


 

Resource of the Day:

A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment– a coursera online course

Coursera is a website which initially offered all free courses, but now has a combination of free and paid ones. In this course from the Indian School of Buisness, the current psychology research into happiness is reviewed and presented in small, fun videos. They have conceptualised the research into 7 ‘sins’ things that get in the way of happiness, and then the techniques or habits that can help.

It is divided over 6 weeks, with 2-3 hours a week needed, and provides activities for you to do to learn or practise the habits. I highly recommend this course if you have the time.

Sin

Habit

Devaluing Happiness

Prioritising but not pursuing happiness

Chasing superiority

Self compassion, gratitude and having Flow

Being too needy or too avoidant

Giving – in a safe and useful way

Being overly control seeking

Take personal responsibility for your happiness: emotional regulation, acceptance of some uncertainty, having a healthy lifestyle

Distrusting others

Forgiveness, and practising smart trust

Distrusting life

Dispassionate pursuit of passion, seeing the silver lining

‘Ignoring the source within’

mindfulness


Thoughts of the Day:

I think the first quote by Allan Chalmers has some truth, but is perhaps a bit simplified. I think in essence people need to feel productive/like their life is worth while, and also to have enjoyment, relaxation and excitement.

There was a tip for people going through depression or mental health issues that I read as a teenager that I have always tried to do: everyday, but especially when you are feeling bad, try to do one thing that is productive and one thing you enjoy. If it is a bad day, these can be small things like to have a shower, or to eat something nice.

The past few weeks I have noticed that while doing this, life can still be a bit flat. I realised I was missing another potent component- excitement/fun. I was filling my life with things that were useful, productive, relaxing and gently enjoyable, which is good. But I got to hang out a bit with some friends of a friend, and they would talk about fun and interesting things they were doing, and it was a bit f a (good) shock- ‘wow- why can’t I get some of that in my life’.

I think things that are fun and exciting often require more energy and time, and often what you find fun other people may think is a bit weird. Or maybe that’s just me- I have since identified that things that excite me include planning a novel, and singing songs in Spanish (which I have taught myself a little bit from the internet/apps but don’t actually know).

 

 

“Happiness, hit her like a train on a track…

The dog days are over
The dog days are done”

I have always liked this song. To me the upbeat music, and the lyrics in the chorus about the dog days being over (which I interpret as the bad/down/depression days) are a celebration. When you look closer at the lyrics, it is actually about someone who has happiness come to them, but they can’t trust it and they run away from it. I think that now knowing that, but with the upbeat nature of the music I will probably experience this piece as still a celebration of being able to embrace happiness, but also a reminder or caution not to close myself off from it.

 

 

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