New Zealand Fitness - - WELLBEING - Dr Bruce Wells is a hap­pi­ness and wellness con­sul­tant, work­ing with com­pa­nies, com­mu­nity groups and in­di­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing per­for­mance, well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness. He is the au­thor of Hap­pi­ness Any­where Any­time. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.drb

Live your life your way

A hos­pice nurse wrote a book called The Top Five Re­grets of the Dy­ing. The num­ber one re­gret was: “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to my­self, not the life oth­ers ex­pected of me.” Don’t let the ex­pec­ta­tions of oth­ers rob you of your own dreams and goals. Live the life you want to live. Make the choices that are right for you and then take ac­tion to­day.

Use your strengths

Gallup polls re­veal that only one in four peo­ple use their strengths ev­ery day. When you do use your strengths, not only are you six times more likely to be en­gaged in your job, but you also feel gen­er­ally more con­fi­dent, en­er­gised and hap­pier about life. Iden­tify your strengths by list­ing those things you en­joy do­ing and which you do ef­fort­lessly and which make you feel alive and ful­filled.

Be grate­ful

Grat­i­tude is one of the kings of hap­pi­ness. It re­minds us about what we have, in­stead of what we don’t have. We recog­nise our ac­com­plish­ments, our life teach­ers, our sup­port­ive fam­ily and friends, our health and our free­dom to make choices and to change our life.

Live with a mean­ing­ful pur­pose

It’s amaz­ing how peo­ple come to­gether as one in times of na­tional tragedy. A sense of mean­ing is sud­denly given to peo­ple’s lives and they re­spond mag­nif­i­cently. Your best self has a chance to shine when you live with a mean­ing­ful pur­pose. Cre­ate your own pur­pose by iden­ti­fy­ing a cause that you pas­sion­ately be­lieve in and which al­lows you to utilise your strengths and en­er­gies.

Cher­ish your health

Ex­er­cise re­leases a cock­tail of chem­i­cals that helps keep your heart healthy, re­duces weight, aids sleep qual­ity and bol­sters self­con­fi­dence. It also al­le­vi­ates stress and makes you more re­silient. Re­mem­ber to in­clude a bal­anced diet and seven hours of sleep.

Cul­ti­vate op­ti­mism

The hap­pi­est peo­ple put an op­ti­mistic spin on what­ever hap­pens in their lives. They ditch the no­tion of some­thing be­ing fair or un­fair, in­stead just ac­cept­ing what is. Ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is a life-learn­ing op­por­tu­nity. Op­ti­mism leads to less stress, longevity, bet­ter per­for­mance and health­ier re­la­tion­ships.

Tune into hap­pi­ness

Tune into good news and not bad news. We live in a so­ci­ety that sen­sa­tion­alises un­happy events be­cause it sells. So make the choice to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive things in your life that up­lift you – with the books you read, the movies you watch, the web sites you visit and the friends you spend time with.

Live in the present

We spend 47 per cent of our wak­ing hours think­ing about some­thing other than what we are do­ing. We’re ei­ther re­gret­ting some­thing we did yes­ter­day or we’re wor­ry­ing about some­thing we might do to­mor­row. But hap­pi­ness is in the now. Prac­tise mind­ful­ness ac­tiv­i­ties when eating a meal, lis­ten­ing to a friend, ex­er­cis­ing, or when read­ing.

Nur­ture your re­la­tion­ships

Sur­veys re­veal that peo­ple with five or more close friends are 60 per cent more likely to be very happy. To main­tain our re­la­tion­ships we need to nur­ture them through reg­u­lar face-to-face con­tact where we prac­tise spread­ing good news, lis­ten­ing and show­ing com­pas­sion.

Help oth­ers

The best way to feel in­stantly hap­pier is to help some­one else. It re­leases chem­i­cals as­so­ci­ated with well­be­ing lead­ing to a helper’s high. The act of kind­ness pos­i­tively af­fects the helper and the re­ceiver. Also, when you help some­one else, you are dis­tracted from your own wor­ries and you learn grat­i­tude for your own cir­cum­stances.

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