Rel­ish­ing the small things

The psy­cho­log­i­cal perks that can come from tak­ing time to stop and smell the roses

Wanneroo Times - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - Laura Al­bu­lario

WHETHER it’s a smile from a stranger, your child help­ing with the chores, or your dog’s bound­ing joy when you get home, the lit­tle things in life can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on your hap­pi­ness and well­be­ing.

In a study by the Univer­sity of Queens­land, older peo­ple who fo­cused on pos­i­tive in­for­ma­tion were found to have stronger im­mune sys­tems, while a sys­tem­atic re­view by Har­vard Health found a link be­tween psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

Ac­cord­ing to clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Janet Hall, end­less to-do lists can blind peo­ple to happy mo­ments.

“We dis­count how much joy the lit­tle things can bring us and our loved ones,” Dr Hall said.

“Just think about how much joy you give your dog when you take it for a walk.”

Keep­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal is a pop­u­lar tool and, ac­cord­ing to a joint re­search project through Cal­i­for­nia and Miami uni­ver­si­ties, can have pow­er­ful re­sults.

Par­tic­i­pants in the study were asked to keep a jour­nal, some of their daily has­sles, oth­ers list­ing things they were grate­ful for.

Af­ter 10 weeks, those who fo­cused on the pos­i­tives were found to be 25 per cent hap­pier and re­ported fewer health com­plaints than the neg­a­tive group.

“We need to have rit­u­als and rou­tines which help us check in with the pos­i­tives,” Dr Hall said.

She sug­gested mak­ing an ef­fort to smile and com­pli­ment peo­ple, and paus­ing through­out the day.

“Look around and take a deep breath be­fore mov­ing on to the next task. It might be when you step out the front door or when you turn off the car,” she said.

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