Hello dear followers
My plans to post every day for a year have been thwarted by a recent fall, however I have reached out for help and my dear friend Amanda will be writing some lovely posts while I am recuperating. It is lovely to have supportive friends, who are hope carriers. Enjoy!
Hope and Happiness
It is a great honour to write for Hope2020’s blog and actually this is my first blog post ever! Thank you Hope2020 for the opportunity! A brief introduction: I live in the north west of England near the beautiful Lake District, I am an avid lover of films, books and art, nature and being outdoors, including wild swimming. I love baking,making, socialising, psychology and exploring spirituality. Professionally I am self-employed working in adult social care and there is a whole other blog in the story behind my becoming self-employed and running my own business but today I am contemplating hope and happiness.
I’ve been following ‘Action for Happiness’ for a few years in the hope I will learn. I am an avid learner and can’t seem to stop! Maybe it’s some sort of addiction, but I don’t think I am alone! Please let me know in the comments if you love learning too and what you love learning about! My initial interest was to attend the course ‘Action for Happiness’ do locally, (although they are an international charity operating in many countries), to see how my learning could help a grass roots group of people with and without learning disabilities I have the privilege of working alongside. Our magnificent group has worked together for ten years to host social events along various themes which have been very successful at building friendships and connections with and for thisoften overlookedminority group of individuals.
Action for Happiness are here to be ‘a movement of people building a happier society by making positive changes in their personal lives, homes, workplaces and communities’.Please look them up they do amazing work. This idea is at the heart of my journey of seeking connection with hope. Out of my heart of loneliness, hope helped me reach out and create a thriving community of individuals who have supported each other through this current Covid-crisis. Letters of hope have crossed the country reaching hearts who have been saddened by this virus and its impact when we established our Keeping Connected pen pal scheme. Our on-line quizzes, dance parties and cinema club have also kept people connected and introduced new friends to the group from across England. Apparently, dancing helps make us feel happier!
So, to get back to my learning, during lockdown Istarted attending online workshops and this particular one appealed to me as it was by the positive psychologist and American professor Sonia Lyubomirsky who specialises in happiness. She has written a scientifically researched book entailing how to increase happiness. In this lecture about ‘Happiness Habits’ Lyubomirsky talked about three keys to happiness; gratitude, kindness and connection. My ears pricked up when she started talking about our ability to increase our happiness by choosing what we do. Apparently, our behaviours are key contributors to our happiness. This gives me hope. We are not just stuck with our genetics or our life circumstances we can make positive choices and changes to our lives to increase our happiness. Also, people who are spiritually aware and active in a religious community are happier than those who are not, some of the main reasons being the social support, the community and the hope we gain through having faith, so for Lyubomirsky hope and happiness correlate. We can increase our feelings of hope and be optimistic about the future and one way she recommends we do this is to have goals or action plans.
So, today’s recipe of hope is what gratitude exercise can you do today which fits your personality and is enjoyable, meaningful and natural to you? Can you write down three things you are grateful for today? What can you do today to show gratitude to someone who has helped you through this current crisis? Or can you reach out and help someone in need today, whether this is practical help or donating a tin of baked beans to your local food bank?
And after all this reading and thinking you can treat yourself with some downtime and enjoy this restoring piece of music by Voces8:
https://youtu.be/x7M5ZqFSynQAt this time we all need to be kind to ourselves and look after ourselves and each other. Thank you for having me today. Take care and have a good day, Amanda