happiness

Why Negativity Harms Dreams and What to do About it

 

I have to admit, I wasn’t always as positive and upbeat as I am now. I used to see the glass as half empty most, if not all, the time. What changed was that when I reached an all time low back in 2009 I had no choice but to accept that my pessimistic outlook was contributing to my depression and was very destructive for me. Although not everyone who is pessimistic becomes depressed, having a negative bias never enhances our life – in fact, quite the opposite!

 

Activities such as reading or watching the news, gossiping or even suspecting the worst outcome in situations leads us to have a cloudy outlook even though our life conditions may be perfectly sunny. Negativity can become such an ingrained habit that even when things are going well for us we treat the positive developments in our lives with suspicion and distrust, looking instead for what could go wrong.

 

The danger is that the more innately negative we are, the more likely we are setting ourselves up for negative outcomes. For example, if I wanted to start my own business and had a negative outlook, I might work really hard still but I would more than likely predict that the venture was unlikely to succeed, leading me  to be less inclined to persevere and more inclined to give up sooner than say, an optimist would. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, a tragic playing out of our own created expectations. But can we ever really change from a negative to a positive bias? Ab-sol-utely!

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New ‘Best Resources’ Page Featuring The Webs Most Exceptional Psychology Resources

 

H All,

 

Here at Accessible Psychology I like to make things, well, accessible, so I have taken it upon myself to source the most exceptional psychology resources from all over the web and share them with you in one place, right here on my ‘Best Resources’ page. These resources are highly recommended by all top therapists. How do I know you say? Well, a therapist from none other than The Priory recommended them as the very best!

 

I like to think I have catered for everything so if you would like to become more assertive try the ‘Assert Yourself’ CBT InfoPax by CCI. Feel like you would like to have higher self-esteem? Try ‘Improving Self-Esteem’, also by CCI. Want more happiness? There’s a guidebook from Action for Happiness called ‘Ten Keys To Happier Living’ you can download right here at Accessible Psychology!

 

Should you have a therapist don’t worry there is something on my page for you too. I’ve featured a comprehensive selection of worksheets by Psychology Tools covering all sorts of thought records and diaries – there are even worksheets on anger, forgiveness and sleep. You can save, print and fill out all of the worksheets provided and then share them with your therapist. I’ve also included a fantastic online service by MindQuire where you can record and graph your depression, stress and anxiety levels and share the findings with your therapist.

 

For those of you wishing to integrate more mindfulness into your life, try Headspace – an online site and app with a massive encyclopaedia of meditation courses, all designed to help make meditation accessible, relevant and beneficial to the masses.

 

Please let me know which resources you like best and how they have helped you, I’d absolutely love to hear from you.

 

Enjoy everyone!

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Three

Step Six: Hobbies and leisure pursuits

 

Having hobbies and ways to creatively express ourselves can also significantly boost our feelings of happiness. Why not try taking a class of something you have always wanted to do? When we creatively express ourselves we experience a deep sense of personal satisfaction, pride and achievement which all work to boost our happiness. Check out Tasterlab for an extensive directory of hobby taster classes.

 

Likewise, having leisure pursuits is essential as they serve to both reduce stress, relax us and are a valuable source of fun and enjoyment. I have an unlimited cinema card which I pay for monthly so when I need to relax I can get lost in a movie. Other fun leisure pursuits include bowling, a meal at a restaurant, fishing, roller-skating, exhibitions and museums and even karaoke with friends.

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7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Two

 

Step Three: Live for the moment

 

In all of my happiest memories I was totally absorbed and engaged in the moment. These moments were so crystal clear it is as if I had experienced them with eyes which were seeing for the very first time. Amazingly, we can all learn to develop this close relationship to the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the man responsible for bringing mindfulness meditation into the mainstream medical arena, defines mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally to things as they are.’ Mindfulness has been found to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and to help us better deal with pain. It also serves to help us fully immerse ourselves in the moment and allows us to develop a sense of appreciation and gratitude, both essential components of a happier life.

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7 Steps to a Happier You; Part One

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary happiness can be defined as ‘A state of well being and contentment’. We all want to be happy but is it something we can actively pursue? For years I struggled with depression and so I began questioning whether I could reduce the possibility of further bouts by proactively seeking happiness. I was fortunate that I began my research into happiness at a time when the area of positive psychology had exploded and was grateful to discover that there was extensive information and findings surrounding the field of happiness. In fact there are many things we can all do if we want to increase our happiness and live more contented lives. These changes may be small and manageable, like keeping a daily gratitude journal, or could be fundamental changes like integrating meditation into our daily lives.

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The Many Roads To Happiness…

 

“People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” H Jackson Browne

 

Whilst there are certain universal principles which lead to greater happiness, like living in line with ones values for example, the path to happiness is just as unique and varied as each of us. Although our humanity unites us all, we each have idiosyncrasies and distinctly individual likes and dislikes. What brings me laughter and joy, another may not even find funny, and so it is with happiness. Even the basic principles of happiness, like living by ones values, are different for everyone. What struck me most about readers’ comments was the diversity of them, however, this should not really have been surprising when considering the wide spectrum of human nature.

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Further Reading Page Updated with Fabulous New Books!

The Further Reading page has just been updated with excellent new books on depression, goals, visualisation, law of attraction, time management and happiness. The page features each books description and all the details you need (such as ISBN numbers) to take note of which books you like best.

We even have links for you to see the Amazon listing and reviews! Enjoy!

Coming soon: Further Listening

 

What has contributed to your happiness the most? I will be writing a post based on the best comments!

The series on happiness is going to be published shortly and I wanted to get your thoughts on what makes for a happy life!

Is it doing something we love? Having deep friendships? Making sure we have a sense of progress? What has contributed most to your happiness?

Please leave your thoughts on what has worked best for you – I will write a post based on the answers of the top comments!!

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin (Click on link to see Amazon listing and reviews)

Here at Accessible Psychology I just wanted to share with you next months hot topic – Happiness! If you’d like to do a little fun reading before my next months series posts in October just take a read of the bestseller The Happiness Project.

This is one of my favourite little gems, written by none other than the New York Times bestseller, Gretchen Ruben (and for this book, no less). As a reader you don’t often notice evidence of research on the writers part, but Gretchen Rubin shares a wealth of information and scientific findings on Happiness – and all presented in a light-hearted and easy to read way. A must read for anyone looking to maximise their bliss!

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