HAPPY TO BE…ME
THE AMOUNT OF CANADIAN WOMEN WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR APPEARANCE, ACCORDING TO THE ELLE WOMEN IN SOCIETY SURVEY. “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” – Lucille Ball
It Brit caterers to the stars Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley have just released The Art of Eating Well, a guide for those who want butter to be a part of their healthy-eating plan. (Yes, please.) “When you eat well, you feel lighter, brighter and more energized and you don’t feel guilt. And that makes you happy!” says Jasmine, who also models. Here are four ways they eat for enlightenment:
1. 2. Butter up. “Every mouthful of Get soup for the soul. “Suffering food should give your body good from bloating or a foggy brain? Try things but also taste delicious—so soothing broth, which is powerful
sauté veggies with butter and for gut and brain health and the roast them with coconut oil. When base for many of our recipes. Use you coat vegetables with fat, not grass-fed organic bones and simonly are they tastier but the oil mer until chicken bones almost enhances their nutrients.” crumble or beef bones turn white.”
3. 4. Slow down. “Chewing your food Say no to joe. “Instead of coffee, will make you happy! So much of we serve a concoction of fresh the time, people eat and eat and lemon juice with a ginger, turmeric eat, and 20 minutes later they’re and cayenne infusion. When you stuffed and lethargic. If you chew drink it, you can feel the warmth and take 20 minutes over a meal, in your body, aiding with digestion it gives you time to think and realand boosting your brain. It’s anti
ize that you’re satisfied.” inflammatory and hydrating.” There’s this idea floating around that happiness isn’t simply a feeling but something that you should actually practise regularly. My first thought upon hearing this was “Great, another thing to add to my to-do list.” But maybe it’s worth putting in extra effort: According to a recent survey by psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire, the key to contentment could lie in certain “happy habits.”
Researchers identified 10 daily habits, ranging from exercising to learning new things, that affect mental wellbeing. (Shockingly, eating vast quantities of really good cheese was not listed as one such “happy habit.”) They then surveyed 5,000 people about how often they perform these activities. The results revealed that practising daily selfacceptance was most strongly tied to happiness—but unfortunately it happened to be one of the habits few people actually had. Go figure.
In fact, helping others was the top habit performed by participants. When you consider that self-acceptance is being kind to yourself, it quickly becomes clear that we’re treating other people h
IT’S TOUGH TO APPRECIATE your surroundings at a time of year when getting from point A to point B requires donning a parka and ski mask. But your urban backdrop might be making you happier. According to a statistical analysis of happiness in New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Toronto, living in a beautiful city is associated with increased personal contentment. Easy access to cultural hangouts—like parks and museums—helps make citizens happier. Bonus: Handy shopping also does the trick. Not that you needed a study to know that.... J.L.
We can all agree that flowers are a universal shortcut to happy days (unless you have allergies or are at a funeral, in which case condolences). Maija Reisenauer, of
Toronto’s Midge Flower Designs, suggests three ways to get the most
bliss from your blossoms: Who says creative types tend to be more tortured than the average soul? Sarah Thornton, author of has found a prescription for happiness in the sometimes baffling world of contemporary art. “Open your mind to new things,” she explains. “Enjoying contemporary art can be rejuvenating because it’s good for the soul to find beauty where you wouldn’t normally— like in a urinal, in the manner of artist Marcel Duchamp.” So, your challenge? To find beauty at these three exhibits in 2015.
33 Artists in 3 Acts,
We are unhappy because we resist the natural ebb and flow of life. When we find happiness, we cling to it, trying to orchestrate our lives in ways to make it stay forever. When sadness comes, we run away, we escape, looking for ways to avoid pain. The truth is this: Happiness comes and happiness goes, in the same way that sadness comes and sadness goes. Neither is a permanent state of being. When you’re happy, be grateful. Embrace it. When you’re sad, be grateful and embrace that too.
A nugget of wisdom from Rachel Brathen, a.k.a. Yoga Girl, the Swedish yogi who has over 1 million Instagram
followers queuing up to get daily doses of insight. We’re loving the cheeky, cheery looks from this season’s Shrimps collection, already a fave of fun fashion girls like Alexa
Chung. For a mellow-Sunday mood, opt for Mikky Ekko’s “Smile.” Marina and the Diamonds’ “Froot” will make you dance. One D’s “Steal My Girl”: new-crush giddiness on tap. better than ourselves—and it could be making us miserable.
The researchers had a few helpful suggestions for boosting self-confidence. First, ask someone you trust—your spouse, a friend, your colourist, someone who really gets you—what your strengths are (natural highlights for the win!). Then, take a minute to appreciate those virtues. Another suggestion: Notice things you do well, even if they’re small. Maybe you can rock a topknot or tell a great joke or plan an excellent trip. These are superhero-level skills, and not everyone can master them.
It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you’re having a rough day and your Facebook feed is filled with friends who are #100dayshappy. To this I say: Resist the shame spiral that comes from comparing yourself to everyone else. It’s great to have personal goals, but constantly chasing after other people’s ideas of self-improvement (Jackie just ran another marathon! Summer makes her own kombucha! That awful woman in my book club has read War and Peace!) just paves the way to burnout, not fulfillment.
Which brings me to the last and, in my opinion, most important recommendation: Show yourself as much compassion as you show others. Kibosh that nasty voice in your head that criticizes your every move. In her new book, Yes Please, Amy Poehler describes that negative self-talk as a strangled-yetseductive “demon voice” that sounds like a cross between Darth Vader and an angry Lauren Bacall. When the slithering demon rears its ugly head, her advice is to treat it like it’s trash-talking a good friend. “Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do,” she writes.
So exercise a little self-care every day and you’ll strengthen your happiness muscles. And don’t worry about “mistakes.” Go ahead and eat all the cheese you want. Like British author Caitlin Moran says, “Je ne regrette brie-n.” ■