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Ten ways to achieve lasting happiness

Recent research suggests that, despite our material wealth, levels of happiness are slipping. In response to this, a movement for social change has identified ten ways to recapture the art of contentment.

ACCORDING TO A recent UK study, we are increasingly miserable because we do not give enough to others, have lost the art of connecting with those around us, and no longer possess a sense of belonging in society.

Experts have warned that if society does not embrace a “radical cultural change” that despair will take over many people’s lives – leading to a continuing spiral of negative emotions and experiences, the Telegraph reports.

In response, ten steps to contentment have been identified by Action for Happiness , a movement for positive social change:

1. Giving

Doing things for other people: “Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy.”

2. Relating

Connecting with others: “People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth.”

3. Exercising

Taking care of your body: “Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression.”

4. Appreciating

Noticing the world around you: “Ever felt there must be more to life? Well good news, there is! And it’s right here in front
of us. We just need to stop and take notice.”

5. Trying out

Always learning new things: “There are many ways to learn new things – not  just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to  sing, play a new sport and so much more.”

6. Direction

Having goals to look forward to: “Choosing ambitious but  realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them.”

7. Resilience

Finding ways to bounce back: “All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. But how we respond to
these has a big impact on our well-being. We often cannot choose what happens to us, but in principle we can choose our own attitude to what happens.”

8. Emotion

Taking a positive approach: “Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride – are not just
great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an  ’upward spiral’, helping to build our resources.”

9. Acceptance

Being comfortable with who you are: “Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are.”

10. Meaning

Becoming part of something bigger: “Where do we find ‘meaning and purpose’? It might be our religious faith, being a parent or doing a job that makes a difference. The answers vary for each of us  but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves.”

Read more: Sugar and spice – two daughters is the key to happiness >