Have you spent a whole hour doing something that truly makes you happy recently?
If so, you’re in a beneficial minority! Please take a moment to congratulate yourself.
If you’re in the majority, however, how about joining me for a dedicated Happy Hour? Drinks aren’t compulsory (and they’re actually better avoided on this occasion – no kidding).
This Happy Hour is about immersing yourself in something that really nourishes you, that makes you feel both relaxed and energised, and gives you an extra boost to navigate the inevitable challenges of life.
I heard of this type of Happy Hour only recently. I attended a fabulous course on Mental Health First Aid, and as well as learning how to help people going through a mental health crisis, we were all encouraged to improve our own mental health. This kind of investment in ourselves makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? When we remember that mental well-being is a continuum, we realise we’re always moving along it, and wherever we are on it, we can probably always become more well, healthy and strong. So even a relatively little time can be very well-spent.
What could a Happy Hour do for you?
- You have a great incentive to practice mindful awareness of the present moment, because it’s easier to focus on the moment when it’s one you’re enjoying. This will help you become more mindful at other times, too.
- When you deliberately boost your mood, you’re setting yourself up for good results in whatever you do next, because your mood predicts your actions.
- You’re sending yourself a message that you matter. And you do. It’s just that it’s easy to forget that sometimes.
- By settling into yourself, giving yourself to something you enjoy, you can stop drop any sense of competitiveness … also known as comparisonitis! The culture of the West is based on ‘I must be better than you in order to matter’. Even those of us who don’t follow that logic still find it hard not to believe it at some level. When you can ditch that belief and be yourself, even for an hour, you get the chance to see through it even more.
- When you’re immersed in something you enjoy, even if it’s something that’s high-energy, you’re unlikely to be functioning from the stressful ‘fight or flight’ mode, and more likely to be ‘resting and digesting’. This gives a welcome break from our more normal ‘always on’ approach.
- It’s good for your health in other ways, too. There’s research showing that when you’re doing what you love, you’re connected to a bigger sense of purpose, and this makes you happy right down to your cells. When your cells are happy, they’re less inflamed, less diseased, and more likely to set you up nicely for the next 80 days (that’s how long the proteins your body makes today will be around).
- When you’re more deeply connected with parts of you that can get ignored in the busyness of everyday life, you’re more likely to be truly YOU. And that’s a real gift – to you, the people around you, and the wider world.
- Happiness starts and ends in the mind. When we’re happy, we’re peaceful. It’s therefore worth making the effort to be happy and feel peaceful. Because who doesn’t need more happiness and peace?
When you’re doing something you love, you’re showing yourself where your natural talents lie. The more often you express your talents, the more fulfilled you’ll feel. And here lies your big contribution to the world. Don’t hide it. Don’t hide from it.
Make it so
Your natural talents may be really obvious to you or they may be a bit hidden right now. Whichever applies to you, if you’re ready for a Happy Hour, try these steps:
- Draw up a list of things that would make you feel happy. Include some restful things and others that are your way of making a positive contribution.
- Decide when your Happy Hour will be. Make whatever arrangements you need to make it happen.
- If you already regularly do things that you love to do for yourself, then draw up a list of people you think would benefit from their own Happy Hour and encourage or help them to do it.
- Enjoy! And remember to remember you’ve enjoyed it. This not only makes these 60 minutes last longer, it also rewires your brain so you’re more inclined to enjoy future happy hours without even trying.
- If you want to delve deeper, spend a VIP day with me and we’ll find a way for you to max out your happy hours.
Right now, I’m off for a cup of tea and to read some P.G. Wodehouse. [Is my Englishness showing?!]
My next Happy Hour may be totally different, though 🙂
What’s going to happen in your next Happy Hour? Please share your ideas below and inspire others.