Resilience – It’s been proven more ING-ing makes you happier

I’ve just returned from my holiday on the beautiful Greek Island Lesvos and… I loved it. The warmth of the sun on my skin, the sand between my toes on the beach and the soothing sound of the sea as the weaves broke on the shore… aahhhh!

The only downside was the hotel room. It was so small when I put the key in the door I broke the window.

One of the things I love about going on holiday is the luxury of catching up on my reading and being able to read 60, 70 and sometimes 80 pages or so in one sitting.

I also love being on holiday because of my surroundings, the conditions I find myself in and the activities I do. For me, holidays = happiness. I guess it’s the same for most of us, which is why we look forward to going on holiday.

I recently read, according to researchers at The Happiness Project in the UK, (the project Robert Holden set up on the National Health Service, in Birmingham, England in 1994) our genetic inheritance towards optimism or pessimism is only about 50%. If that’s so, then with the remaining 50% we’re able to make our own personal choices.

In other words, we control (I repeat WE CONTROL) that other 50% of our reaction to life’s difficulties and can do the things WE CHOOSE to do to change the level of our happiness.

I know some people might think, ‘Yeah John, that’s easier said than done’. Guess what Subscriber, in actual fact it’s easier done than said, how do I know?

Well, hark at this. Positive psychologist Dr. Jonathan Haidt devised a formula for how to be happier. I know, but he did and he’s a doctor so there’s substance to what he says. The formula?

H = S + C + V

H= Level of happiness

S = Set point for happiness

C = Current conditions

V = Voluntary activities

So our happiness level is a powerful mix of how naturally happy we are (remember that first 50% figure) combined with whatever’s going on in our life at this very moment, plus the voluntary activities we choose to do.

So if you’re not as happy as you’d like to be because your current conditions are making you feel unhappy, then forget about what you can’t control put your focus on those voluntary activities and increase them.

You see, when we’re on holiday we generally do many more voluntary activities than when we’re at home. By voluntary activities I mean those physical activities. In my case it’s swimming, walking, dancing etc.

So if you find life is dragging you down try doing a bit more ‘ING-ing’ in your life. ie walk-ING, swim-ING, run-ING, danc- ING, the ‘INGs’ that make YOU happy and feel vibrant.

If you don’t know what type of physical activities will cheer you up then think back at the physical things you like doing on holiday and do your best to incorporate those in your every day life as much as you can.

As for next year’s holiday, I’ve already decided I’m going to try and pack myself into a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself… aherm!

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