Let’s make 2022 a happy year

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happy 2022

A traditional toast is to ‘health, wealth and happiness’, three key elements to life for many people. As the clinking of glasses bringing in the new year fades into the distance, many people use this time as a fresh start and a time to set goals and make resolutions. Many of these focus around health and wealth, but what goals can we set ourselves to improve being happy?

Dr Anthony Clare, perhaps best remembered for presenting BBC Radio 4’s ‘In the Psychiatrist’s Chair’, devised his seven steps to happiness. And, as we start 2022, I thought it was a good time to share them.  Obviously, happiness is hard to quantify, but his tips might just give you something to think about.

Number one: cultivate a passion

I think this one is particularly important as if you have something you are passionate about, it helps you develop a positive mindset. This is very important, as it will help keep you focused on the good, when you are potentially facing challenges in other areas. Dr Clare also thought that to have something you enjoyed was a very important part in his model of happiness.

Number two: be a leaf on a tree

By this he means you need to be part of something bigger than yourself. A leaf separated from its tree has the advantage that it floats about a bit, but it’s disconnected, and it eventually dies. You have to be both an individual – to have a sense that you are unique, and you matter – and you need to be connected to a bigger organism – a family, a community, a network, a company. Building and maintaining your network – both from a personal and professional perspective is so important.

Number three: avoid introspection

The Christmas break is often a time of reflection and evaluation, and many people decide to start the process of a career change in the new year. However, Dr Clare advises on avoiding too much introspection, as people want to be around other people that are interested in things beyond themselves.

Number four: don’t resist change

Change is important. It is natural to be wary of change, but people who are fearful of change are rarely happy. Change can be positive and good for you. You need variety, flexibility, the unexpected because these things will challenge you.

Number five: live for the moment

Look at the things that you want to do, that you keep postponing. Dr Clare recommended doing what makes you happy. So, don’t postpone the things that you want to do, or what you think is worthwhile. Make them happen. From a professional point of view, think about what training you would like or what career move you want. What do you need to do to make this happen?

Number six: audit your happiness

We all find ourselves doing tasks that take time, but don’t necessarily provide benefits. Work out how much of each day you are spending doing things that don’t make you happy. If you find it is taking more than half of your time, then think about what you can do to change it.

Number seven: if you want to be happy, be happy

Act it, play the part, put on a happy face. Start thinking differently. If you are feeling negative, say, ‘I am going to be positive,’ and that can trigger a change in how you feel.

These seven steps won’t work for everyone, but being mindful of how you are feeling, specially as we head through January – often a tricky month anyway – may help you improve your happiness and approach the new year in a positive frame of mind.

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