We’ve got an International day of happiness special for you, holistic therapist Suzanne Waterworth has six tips that will help you feel happier. They all start with ‘C’ so we think she’s invented a new technique: 6 C’s therapy!
We may feel that we can be everything and provide everything for ourselves, but humans are social animals that need to connect with others either emotionally or physically (ideally both!). Increasing the quality of our connection with other people lets us be seen, feel known and gives us the chance to be valued for who we are. Smiles, shared experience and touch are the things that keep us happy and healthy, making us feel loved and that we belong.
As tribal animals, people like to know what their contribution is (why they are needed and relevant), so that they feel their position in the group is safe. In the modern world this may be a unique skill, ability, important project, movement or other. In addition to feeling valued by the group we have the affirming experience of seeing something that came from inside of us, become a tangible part of the world outside or have a tangible effect on the world. This is great for our sense of identity, achievement and confidence and it proves that something inside us is “good” and other people see that. It also boosts our happiness as it indirectly increases our sense of connection with others.
Sharing personal information is something that we may do naturally about the parts of ourselves that are not very embarrassing, but to experience real intimacy in our relationships and friendships sometimes we need to let ourselves be vulnerable, to the right people in the right situations. This opens us up enough to be able to give and receive love. Ultimately, our capacity for happiness cannot grow without being able to let ourselves feel vulnerable, because until then we will have self-imposed limits on how much our hearts can open and expand (the heart is an organ that is very connected to happiness and which relates to joy in Chinese medicine). Sharing something we are embarrassed about with the right loved one can increase our happiness, our sense of connection and our humility as well as strengthen our ability to trust. All things that lead to a happier life.
we need to let ourselves be vulnerable, to the right people in the right situations
We all like to think that part of us will live on even after we leave our bodies permanently. Thinking about the ways that you would like to be remembered and what impact you would like to have had on the world can help to lift you above thoughts of current problems. Imagine being an old man/ lady, looking back on your life, what are you proud of? Taking steps to achieve this can boost your happiness, as we can feel pride even in advance of having completed an aim or project. This is also known as positive visualization, which can help you to achieve your goal. From teaching a skill, to promoting awareness of an issue, being a positive role model for a child or creating art, the ways we can leave a part of our spirit behind are as varied as humankind’s abilities.
We may have a new healthy habit that we want to incorporate into our lives. If it is quite a large change our ego (personality/mind) will strongly resist it, but it won’t come out and say it directly. It can sneakily disguise itself as; ‘good reasons’ not to engage with the new habit, a strong feeling of resistance or dislike for the habit, an attitude of accepting that we have failed, fatigue or even physical health symptoms. If we accept any of these as obstacles we create a pattern where we fail even to persuade ourselves to do something, weakening our will power. Since our will power is our tool for helping us to take action in order to improve our lives and make us happy, it is clear that we do not want to progressively weaken it by trying and failing repeatedly. Therefore be consistent in life – when you want to achieve something, do your best to achieve it, and be consistent within yourself – when you are doing something that you feel is naughty, own it. Being consistent in what we tell ourselves, what we believe and in our actions will remove the guilt and repression that often gets between us and our happiness.
Being consistent in what we tell ourselves and in our actions will remove the guilt that often gets between us and our happiness
Being able to provide our own source of emotional comfort means that we are less likely to feel sad when we do not have someone else’s good opinion, when other people do not seem to like us, when we feel we have failed at something or when a million and one other things go wrong. People who can do this for themselves are more resilient, happier, more confident, more relaxed and healthier. People who cannot may suffer from tiredness, low immunity, co-dependency, mood fluctuations, all-or-nothing attitude, a need to prove themselves or addictive behaviours.
Often people will self-soothe through eating, shopping, mindless chatter, back-stabbing or other negative behaviours. If they have not developed the ability to comfort themselves they will jump into the negative behaviour as soon as they feel the warning signs of vulnerability. Actually they need to stay with that feeling for a little longer and learn how to comfort themselves. From drawing or singing, to taking a bath or a walk, many things can be a form of self-comfort, depending on the way that you do them. The world is hard enough already – be a mother to yourself when you need it and you will increase your level of happiness, as well as your sense of deserving.
Suzanne Waterworth is one of London’s leading holistic practitioners who specialises in combining Chinese Medicine with modern scientific techniques for maximum results. Having studied Chinese Traditional Medicine for five years she discovered the huge benefits of ‘Resistence Stretching’. Suzanne is a key practitioner at triyoga and is much loved by yoga teachers and the well-being community.