Speaking on BBC Radio about Simplicity

What is simplicity and what difference can it make to our lives?

Recently, I was invited to speak on BBC Radio again.  I spoke about ways to feel happier by living a simpler life.  By embracing the simplicity ethos.

In the interview I talk about some of the steps people can take to live simpler lives.  Simplicity is a proven route to greater happiness.

If you would like listen to it, there is a recording of the BBC Radio interview here:

Mary Speaking on BBC Radio

In the recording above we have edited out a song they played, so most of the recording here is me and the presenter talking.

If you have any questions about what I said, please do get in touch.

Speaking on BBC Radio about ways to feel happier

Last night, I had the pleasure of being interviewed on BBC Radio.  I spoke about ways to feel happier and the work I do both as a life coach and in the community.

In the interview I talk about some of the steps people can take to feel happier, including helping people and how to focus on gratitude.

If you would like listen to it, there is a recording of the BBC Radio interview here:

Mary Speaking about Happiness on BBC Radio

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EDIT:  I did another interview, since making this entry, about SIMPLICITY.  You can listen to that one here:

Mary Speaking about Simplicity on BBC Radio

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If you have any questions about what I said, in either interview, please do get in touch.

Oh, I mentioned a couple of local charities in my first interview.  They both send out food and clothes to the homeless on the streets of Manchester.  Here are their details:

Mad Dogs:  http://maddogsstreetproject.co.uk/

Barakah Food Aid: https://www.facebook.com/BarakahFoodAid

And the founders of Barakah Food Aid speaking on the Radio themselves: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01vsmd9

Laughter Yoga as a way to Happiness?

Apparently it’s the latest thing….  Laughter Yoga is a form of Yoga specifically designed to improve well-being.

Laughter Yoga is a series of very simple breathing and clapping exercises, and laughter.

You might like to watch this 2 minute video about the benefits of laughter yoga.

Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ADdwvlQRSg

Fancy giving it a go?

As part of the happiness-related voluntary work I do,  I facilitate the Manchester Happiness Group.

Find us here:  http://www.meetup.com/ManchesterHappinessGroup/

For our next meeting, I have invited a Laugher Yoga Practitioner to give us a taster session.

Find out more and RSVP here:  http://www.meetup.com/ManchesterHappinessGroup/events/212262232/

Sounds fun – I can’t wait to try it.

You might be wondering how Laughter Yoga contributes to long-term happiness.  Practising it regularly achieves more than a short-term lifting of spirits.  This is because it taps into several of the keys to well-being that I mention in  my happiness report which you can download from this site.

Going to a class, especially a positive one, involves connecting with other people.  And engaging with others is one of the key things we can do more of to increase our feelings of happiness.  Another thing proven to make us feel better is doing any form of regular physical exercise, even something very low impact like walking or breathing exercises.

If you want to read more about the things you can do to feel better, download my report by clicking on the link top right on each page of this website.

 

How to Tame your Invisible Happiness Dragon

Would you like to know how to tame your invisible Happiness Dragon?

Or, to put it another way, would you like to have more control over your own happiness and sense of well-being?

If so, and you live in the Manchester area, you might like to come along to this FREE event tonight, in Chorlton.

The Chorlton Civic Society meet tonight, in the function room at the back of Chorlton Library (on Manchester Road, next to the Sedge Lynn Wetherspoons pub).  And tonight, their guest speaker is me, giving a short talk entitled:

How to tame your invisible happiness dragon

The event is free to attend and we will be considering why happiness is
important, and I will be sharing some simple things we can all do to improve our sense of well-being and to help us to feel happier and be more successful in life.

All welcome – hope to see you there!

 

Think Yourself Happy

Is it possible to ‘think yourself’ happy?  

One of the things that people forget, is how much control we have over our own happiness.  And this is in large part because of the amount of control we can choose to have over our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.  We can choose to think in ways that tend to make us happy, or in ways that tend to make us sad.

To be happy you must be your own sunshine.

~ Charles Edward Jerningham

And, as well as choosing to see the positives in our life, we can think ourselves happy by letting go of things that we cannot change:

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquillity and outer effectiveness become possible.

~ Epictetus, The Art of Living

In the Christian tradition there is a prayer which I use as a meditation:

Grant me

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

the courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference

So today, why not consider the areas of your life that you feel unhappy with, and use the questions below to reflect on them while being mindful of control, acceptance, courage and wisdom – take the first step to ‘thinking yourself’ happy:

1)  What things do I have some control over, and what things don’t I have control over?  

2)  How can I accept and come to terms with the things beyond my control?

3)  What can I do differently to change, for the better, the things I do have some control over?

4)  How else can I “be my own sunshine”?

What do you think? – share your thoughts on these quotes, and happiness in general – how do you think yourself happy? – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

 

A man once told the Buddha….

Just a short entry today, from the Buddha – something that made me think….

A man once told the Buddha, ‘I want happiness’.

The Buddha said
remove the ‘I’ … that’s ego,
now remove the ‘want’ … that’s desire,
now all you are left with is, Happiness.
There are many things we can do, small and large, to feel happier in our lives – I have already covered several of them in this blog.
But, ultimately, it is how we choose to think, and how we choose to act that creates or removes happiness from our lives.
When something bad happens, if you can’t change it then change the way you think about it.
I think the Buddha, in the above quote, is suggesting that to feel happier we need to:
- think less about ourselves,
- and less about what we want but don’t have.
That’s bound to make us happier, isn’t it?

What do you think? – share your thoughts on this quote and happiness – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

PS if you are interested in reading more on happiness from a Buddhist perspective, you might like to read the book I link to below:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Happiness-Handbook-Living/dp/0340750154/

“The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama – click the link above to read about it on Amazon.

Meditation and Happiness

Can meditation make you happier?

Yes. :-)

People who practice meditation regularly report feeling less stressed and more emotionally balanced.  Researchers have even seen changes in the physical structure of the brain after regular meditation.

Numerous scientific studies have shown meditation reduces anxiety as well as stress – people who meditate tend to worry less about the problems they are facing in life, and are therefore happier as a result.

Here are some of the benefits that you may get from meditation:

Physiological benefits:

– Leads to deeper levels of physical relaxation
– Decreases muscle tension, aches and pains
– Enhances the immune system and lowers blood pressure
– Helps with pain control in chronic diseases
– Reduces headaches & migraines
– Produces lasting beneficial changes in brain biochemistry

Psychological benefits:

– Increases serotonin level, positively influencing mood and behaviour
– Helps us take control of our thoughts
– Helps with focus & concentration, learning ability and memory
– Increases emotional stability
– Reduces feelings of aggression and anger
– Reduces anxiety and tendency to worry
– Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways

‘Spiritual’ benefits:

– Provides peace of mind, happiness
– Helps you discover your purpose
– Increases your compassion and wisdom
– Leads to deeper understanding of yourself and others
– Increases one’s acceptance of oneself
– Helps learn forgiveness

– and you might even reach spiritual enlightenment! :-)

People report a whole range of benefits from meditation, and many of them are backed up by scientific research.

If you would like to try meditation, in the comfort of your own home, for free, then I would highly recommend the website below:

http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/

All you do is register, for free, then you get ten days of guided meditation (just ten minutes a day) for free.  Andy does of course offer paid-for meditation packages on his site, but they don’t pressure you to sign up for them or anything.

I should say that I don’t know Andy Puddicome, but I have tried the 10-day freebie and found it really good.

There are of course plenty of other internet sites and books where you can read about meditation, but I think Get Some Headspace is a good place to start.

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share your thoughts on meditation and happiness, and how you have got on with meditating – what difference has it made?  – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

The Way to Happiness

We often ask ourselves, what is the way to happiness?

I think that happiness is a process, not a destination, and I am reminded of this Zen Buddhist quote:

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

He goes on to say that “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.
There is no way to enlightenment. Enlightenment is the way.”

For me, happiness is a journey, not a destination.  Just as keeping fit requires regular exercise, so keeping happy requires taking regular action that supports our being happy.

The way to happiness then, is to do things that create it, things that make you feel happy in the moment as well as in the long-term. Some of the things mentioned in my previous blog-posts perhaps.

There is also the thought that we should act now, rather than waiting.  I recently found the following poem on the internet.  No author was listed, so, if anyone can tell me who wrote it I would be grateful.  I shall leave you with their words:

There is no way to happiness.

Happiness is the way.
So, treasure every moment that you have.
And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special.

And remember that time waits for no one.
So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school,
Until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds,
Until you have kids, until your kids leave the house,
Until you start work, Until you retire,
Until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night,
Until Saturday morning, until you get a new car or home,
Until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer ,
Until fall, until winter, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth,

Until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink,
Until you’ve sobered up, until you die, until you are born again,
To decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy
Happiness is a journey, not a destination

Work like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
And dance like no one’s watching.

Over to you: tell me what you think – share your thoughts on happiness – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

Writing and happiness

How do writing and happiness go together?

On our journey towards living a happier life, writing can be a great ‘support tool’ – a way of keeping track of our progress along that journey.

Writing can also help us to get back on track with the positive changes we are making in our lives, when we lose track of the path we have chosen.  So writing and happiness can be very much linked.

There are many ways of writing: poetry, stories, letters to friends, letters to yourself, etc.  My favourite way of using writing to explore my happiness (and my life in general) is to keep a journal.  I would like to suggest that you give it a try too.  And don’t forget that a journal can include the things I mentioned above, like poetry, if you wish.

Many people keep a journals  in which they write down experiences, thoughts, ideas or feelings.  Your journal can be formal or informal, daily or whenever, following guidelines or random, and private or public.

Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

- Oprah Winfrey

There are many good reasons for keeping a journal.  One of them is that it allows you to reflect on what your recent thoughts and behaviours have been – this raised awareness will help you to interrupt any patterns of negative thinking and behaviour and instead help you to create and maintain new, more positive, ones that make you happier.

If you aren’t convinced how writing and happiness can go together, via keeping a journal, here are some other benefits of keeping a journal:

A journal can help to clarify your goals.   As you write down your thoughts and ideas each day, it will help you to gain clarity on what is important to you; what you want in life.

A journal can strengthen your relationships.   It can give you a private place to express your feelings and clarify things in your mind.  This will help you to understand and be patient with others.

A journal can affirm the reality of your life.  Writing about life gives it more meaning and power.  Journalling important events adds substance to them, and provides a treasured memento to look back at later.

And a journal can simply feel good!  Perhaps by using quality paper and an ink pen it can become a wonderfully sensuous, delightful experience.   Alternatively, you might take great pleasure in keeping an on-line blog (whether private or public), and making the layout and graphics look beautiful.

Clients sometimes tell me that they don’t have time to keep a journal – try it for 30 days, spending just 10 minutes a day, and see what a difference it makes….

Write about your successes, things you are grateful for, what you have done, what you think about things, and anything else you feel moved to write about.  Look back through some of the posts in this blog to get ideas for some themes you might explore in your journal – there’s plenty of writing and happiness here…  Write about anything and everything, but above all, just write!

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share your thoughts on writing and happiness, and how you have got on with keeping a journal – what difference has it made?  – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters (another place where writing and happiness go together!).

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

 

Eat your way to happiness

Is it possible to eat your way to happiness? 

Most of us know intuitively that our mind and body are very much connected.

The human body is the best picture of the human soul

– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Why do we so often reach for chips, and sugary drinks?  Do they really make us feel better, or are we just comforting ourselves with food rather than hugs.  How do you really feel after you have eaten piles of junk food and had too much to drink?

Is your body a temple… or a toilet?

Happiness of mind is clearly linked to having a ‘happy’ body.

I have talked before about choosing to fill our minds with positive thoughts.  It is equally important to fill our bodies with positive nutrition.

I am not saying you need to become a supermodel and live off rabbit food, but just to stop and think before taking a bite.

H.A.L.T. – why I am I eating/drinking this?

Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?  Or maybe even just bored or thirsty?

If you are genuinely hungry, then eat.  If you are considering eating for any other reason, then food isn’t the answer.

So over the next few days, try to be mindful of giving your body what it needs to function best, rather than comforting your mind with food that ultimately won’t make you happier.

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share what you have done differently, as a result of being more mindful about food, to work towards happiness with your physical self – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk