No one is happy 100 percent of the time. Life has a sneaky way of sometimes getting in the way of our best intentions to live happy, rewarding and contented lives.
Happiness is a state of mind that we can actively cultivate to ensure we have the best opportunity to experience all the peace and calm that’s on offer.
This Mental Health Week we encourage you to explore ways to build more moments of happiness into your day.
Why take time for happiness this Mental Health Week
Mental Health Week aims to shine a light on what all of us can do to look after our mental health. This year’s theme is Take time – for mental health. It encourages everyone to take time to reflect on their mental health and to make time for practices that will boost wellbeing.
Making changes to our routine can be overwhelming especially when we are already struggling but sometimes it’s the smallest change that can make a big difference.
10 practices to try during Mental Health Week…and beyond
If you’re interested in trying new ways to take time to find moments of happiness, this Mental Health Week, these 10 practices will increase your chances to create an environment to let those seeds of happiness grow.
Find reasons to laugh out loud
It is hard to look past the negatives when life gets tough. Try to cultivate a practice of looking at the funny side of life’s challenges. It may feel a little weird and strained at first, but people report that laughing, even when they don’t feel happy, improves their mood and sense of wellbeing.
Find your passion
It’s up to you to find the activities and causes that you’re passionate about – no one else is going to do this for you.
Having a passion-project or a creative outlet helps keep your mind off stress and reduce the feeling of anxiety. The process of succeeding in something creative, no matter what the activity is, improves self-appreciation and confidence.
When you’ve found your passion, spend time dreaming big.
Take time out to relax
Relaxing gives your body and mind time to recover from the stresses of everyday life. It also reduces the risk of burnout, fatigue, anger and anxiety. However, we often feel too busy or guilty to make time for anything outside of what we consider the basics. So instead of relying on scheduling separate time for “relaxing,” add it to your everyday tasks that you already do.
Find your strengths
Take the time to consider what you are naturally good at and then commit to developing your skills, abilities and talents. It will be an investment in yourself that will return positive results for the rest of your life.
Look after your body
Rest it by getting plenty of sleep. Try these sleep tips for guidance on how to get a more restful sleep.
Nourish it by eating healthy foods. If you’re needing some extra guidance on how to eat healthier, these tips will help you eat healthy on a budget.
Develop it by exercising it and stretching it every day.
Repair it by developing effective ways to release stress and anxiety.
Remember when you were a kid and you were told to “Go outside and play!”? It’s advice that still holds true in adulthood. Spend time outside in nature walking, swimming, playing sport, reading a book, having a picnic or even just sitting and watching the world go by.
Invest in relationships
Close friendships are special and while you’ll possibly have quite a few mates, most people will only have just 1 or 2 really deep friendships.
It can take at least 6 repeat contacts with strangers before we begin to develop a sense of familiarity and trust.
Deep friendships are built up over extended periods, multiple contacts, shared experiences, giving of yourself, and letting your guard down to show them the real ‘you.’
Develop a daily habit of practising gratitude
Making a daily habit of focusing on what’s going well in your life rather than on the events that make you miserable or on things that are outside your control may help you to feel happier.
If you’re struggling to know how to get started, you could try some of these simple ideas for practising gratitude.
Pay it forward
Being involved in the community and helping people doesn’t just benefit others, it can make a huge positive difference in how you feel about yourself.
The happiest people in the world share one thing in common: they have a talent for giving back to their communities and friends. They think of other people first and are considerate of the needs of those around them.
Having a genuine and honest conversation with people who you trust about your mental health is incredibly important. Being able to talk openly when you are down can help process your feelings and ease the negative thoughts racing through your mind. If you are worried about your mental health and do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know try talking to your GP, a mental health professional or calling a national support line.
National support lines
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 497
- Kids Helpline (up to 25 years): 1800 551 800
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Q-life LGBTQIA+: 1800 184 527
- Lifeline Text (6pm-12am): 0477 131 114
- GriefLine: 1300 845 745