In a world filled with inequality, trauma, and gloomy news cycles, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling helpless and hopeless — especially in January, when the days are gray and cold and miserable.
2022 is looking like the saddest year since records began – and the latest figures show that personal well-being in the UK is worsening significantly, thanks to the cost of living crisis (according to the Office for National Statistics, almost One in six adults is experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms) – It is important to have a more joyful and positive mindset.
In fact, staying positive not only benefits our mental health, but it can have a huge impact on our physical health as well. according to a 2016 studyReplacing worries with positive thoughts helps to significantly reduce worry and intrusive thoughts – and even boosts our immune system – indicating that joy and positivity are key to a satisfying and healthy life. They are an integral part of living.
“According to a meta-analysis of over 300 studies, we can prove that there is a link between positive thinking and improved immunity,” says the positive psychology practitioner and life coach. sophie cliff – also known as ‘The Joyful Coach, “The more positive we are, the better our physical health.”
So where to start? Sadly, there’s no universal blueprint for happiness — or a handbook detailing the secret rules for living a happy life — it’s just about prioritizing what makes you feel good. Notice what makes you happy and what doesn’t – what makes you laugh? Then prioritize more of that.
We spoke to Sophie Cliffe and both hypnotherapist and subconscious mindset coach, Jessica BostonTo find out his top tips for staying positive in 2023 and beyond.
Don’t miss our guide to reframing negative thoughts. (opens in new tab)acts of kindness (opens in new tab)and self care ideas (opens in new tab)while you’re here
Finding Happiness and Staying Positive in 2023: Your Guide
1. Prioritize Connection
“Research tells us that the biggest predictor of happiness is the relationships we have with others — and the good news is that these relationships don’t need to be perfect!” Cliff says. “We just need to feel part of a community – even saying hello to the postman or your local barista can boost your sense of well-being.”
2. Write a Gratitude Diary
“I always recommend trying to get in the habit of writing down and reflecting on what was the best part of the day,” says Cliffe. “It can be a gratitude list, it can be just thinking ‘what was my favorite part of the day’. It doesn’t have to be super prescriptive, but note what writing a gratitude list helps people to do.” what they already enjoy. So often, we feel disconnected from what brings us joy and we don’t really know where to start. So really seeing what was the best part of the day — whether it’s a message from a friend or going outside for some fresh air — can give us really valuable information about the things that help us feel good.
Our Round Up of the Best Wellness Planners (opens in new tab) Might come in handy here.
3. Listen to your body
“Remember, it’s okay not to be okay, so don’t be too quick to override the feelings in your body,” says Boston. “Use them as an opportunity to hear what you want and need. I appreciate that it’s hard when you’re on the breadline and busy making a living. It’s an exercise that You want to start when life is more expansive, but it’s never too late to start,” she shares.
She adds: “I also appreciate that it can be more challenging if you feel disconnected from your body, but without sounding amazingly pretentious, it’s an exercise, not something And done. We can easily become intimidated by our feelings. Yet, when you listen to them with curiosity, you are halfway to knowing what that feeling needs, and that is coming from your own body. To feel oblivious is profoundly empowering.
4. Ask yourself ‘How am I feeling today out of 10’
Cliff suggests, “When we’re probably at that low level, ask yourself in the morning, ‘How do I feel today out of 10’ and ‘Is there anything I can do to improve the score? ‘ ,
Know this – “We’re not trying to get a 10 out of 10, as that may seem overwhelming and unrealistic in the current climate. But, by constantly saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to do like a three out of 10 today. feeling good, but exercising would make me feel like a four out of 10’ or ‘I feel like a six out of 10 and go out to dinner with a friend’ bump that’s up a point or two goes,” she says.
“What we’re starting to build is this muscle that reminds us that we have some sort of control and influence over how our day goes, when it often feels like we’re at the mercy of the news cycle.” “
5. Focus on the things you can control
did you know “As humans, we want to feel like we have some sort of autonomy over things. And that’s when we feel completely helpless, that’s when we can feel stressed or when we feel overwhelmed,” Cliff says. “So even though there’s a lot we can’t control individually — Like the cost of life crisis – trying to channel our energy into the part that we can control can really help.”
An example she often gives is during the first lockdown, where none of us could control whether we left the house or saw family. “But what we could control was maybe making a really nice dinner or how we kept in touch with friends and family,” she explains. “Those who espoused that sense of autonomy and focused on what they could control tended to fare better than those who didn’t—to influence what we couldn’t control.” It’s about making the best of what we can control rather than trying.”
6. Surround yourself with ‘expansives’
“It may sound overly simplistic, but when we feel overwhelmed, tired, or isolated, our worldview begins to narrow. This is existential,” says Boston. Corroborating evidence supporting a narrow view is always easier to find in a culture that turns to a war of world events 24/7. The recession, misogyny, casteism and division, it seems it never stops. It owes much to our worn, tired nervous systems; Eventually, they run out of capacity. Remember, fear is contagious. It’s easy for us to get dragged into someone else’s worldview.”
his advice? Actively seek out people or things that reshape your world. Think for yourself – what has worked before? What makes you laugh and smile? do you love Which websites or newspapers expand your worldview? Which friends make your world from small to big and exciting? She recommends, “Do something for yourself every day that expands your world again.”
What to do to spread happiness in 2023
1. Visit a Museum
Many of London’s biggest museums also double up as some of London’s biggest free attractions. From the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum to the V&A and the British Museum – these museums don’t cost much to visit.
2. Join a Saturday morning parkrun
Does running make you happy? There are 1,157 (completely free) parkrun events across the country to choose from in the UK – 5km runs starting at 9am every Saturday. All you need is a pair of shoes – shop our edit of the best running trainers here.
3. Enjoy the London skyline at the Sky Garden
While cocktails at the Sky Garden may cost a penny, the visit is actually completely free. Take a book, sit among the plants and enjoy the view.
4. Practice Yoga With Adrienne
We all know a little movement is key to our mood, but if you don’t want to brave the cold, stay inside and follow the yoga flow – for free – with ‘Yoga with Adrienne’ on YouTube . That, or check out our yoga poses (opens in new tab) guide.
5. Treat Yourself
While we’re fully aware that buying a pair of new shoes or a fancy Rixo dress is neither sustainable nor going to fix all your issues – sometimes, a little ‘retail therapy’ is just what the doctor needs Then commands when it comes to the spark of joy and happiness. Creating positivity
Actually, 2014 Study from the Journal of Consumer Psychology Found that retail therapy not only makes people instantly happier, but it can also fight lasting sadness. while the second 2014 study The University of Michigan found that buying things you personally enjoy can be 40 times more effective at giving you a sense of control than not buying at all.
Here are some of our favorite products that spark joy…
Gallien Belgian Chocolates, £8 | Waitrose
These chocolates will always remind me of my late grandmother. He always has a box ready to open at Christmas or a birthday. Not only are they totally rich and delicious, but it makes me smile every time I reach for an oyster, because I think about that.
Nourish Signature Candle, £20 | The White Company
By far my favorite scent is currently in my home (I own both the Nourish candle and the diffuser). I especially love the smell of bergamot, so whenever I light it I immediately feel relaxed, relaxed and at peace.
Flower Subscription Box, from £20 | bloom and wild
One thing that never fails to bring a smile to my face is a vase of fresh flowers. I send my friends bouquets from Bloom & Wild for their birthdays or special occasions because the quality is always high and seasonal. A flower subscription for yourself sounds like the best way to spend a self-care budget.
Daily Goal Setter Planner, £24 | Mål Paper
For those who want to take Sophie Cliffe’s advice and write a list of the things you’re grateful for, this Daily Goal Setter planner from Mål Paper doubles as both a daily to-do list and a gratitude journal. The quality is also impeccable.
Charlotte Tilbury The Look of Love Matte Revolution Refillable Lipstick, £29 | Selfridges
I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about applying lipstick that makes me feel ready to tackle whatever comes my way — I mean business if I’m ripe. my personal favourite? Charlotte Tilbury’s matte lipstick in the shade ‘Mrs Kiss’. It is a deep pink color and universally flattering.