Mca blog

How To Have A Happy Year

Have you ever considered what makes you define one year as better than another?

Is it how much money you make, what holidays you take, major life events such as births, deaths, marriages?

What if you put all those labels aside and considered that a good year might just be the total sum of how many days of contentment or joyfulness you experience? And if so, then each individual day counts. Every day adds to your sum total of joyful days for the year. And being mindful of each day at a time allows you to focus on what makes that day different to the others. If this is the first time you’ve ever experienced that day (and, of course, it is) then how is it to look at each day with fresh eyes, eager to see what it will bring? Just as children do, with a “beginner’s mind”.

But, I hear you say, some life events are so painful that they not only prevent you feeling positive for an extended period of time, but also seem to destroy any joy from the recent past. This is why Barbara Fredrickson’s work on Positive Emotions describes a tipping point for our emotions. She says that to offset the effects that negative emotions have on our health and wellbeing, we need to experience more positive emotions than negative at a ratio of 3:1.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t grieve or feel pain when life throws you lemons. Being honest with yourself about your negative emotions during difficult times is essential to moving forward. If there’s a boulder in your path that you can’t find a way around, you won’t move forward by pretending it’s not there. Acknowledge it and start climbing. The climb may be tough, and it may be long, and you may need to show yourself some kindness and compassion to endure it.

But along the way you can still notice the beauty and joy in your life: the things that are right and work for you, the friends or family who care and offer support, the strength and courage that you notice in yourself and perhaps never knew you had. There are also the daily events we may brush off but can add to elevating your positivity ratio: the driver who stops to let you in, the coffee offered by a colleague, the fresh smell of a summer’s day when the rain has stopped. Never ignore the little things because they add up. Wellbeing is accumulative and little things matter.

Every year has both joy and pain. Let 2019 be the year when you choose to discover and notice more good things in your life.  

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