Winter blues? Yeah, so does everyone..... but things are looking up so smile!

Posted by on 23 June, 2011

Put a smile on your dial- even genetically hard wired sad sacks can tone down the misery

It was just a matter of time before we found the happiness gene. Your pre-programmed smile dial, which will decide whether you sit and whine about your lot when everyone else thinks you’re living the dream or whether you seem perennially satisfied despite being thrown from pillar to post by your own slings and arrows. New research published in the Journal of Human Genetics by Jan Emmanuel de Neve has found and named the new gene.

But if you suspect your low mood is the genetic aberration that abrogates you of your duty to smile, think again. Maybe it’s winter but nearly everyone I’ve seen this week at my surgery is feeling down- from just the exhaustion of dealing with sick miserable kids to outright depression. So, here’s the good news; everyone can take a few small steps to up their own happiness scores. There are mountains of research on this but these are my very best tips to feel happier;

  1. Don’t let the little things pass you by. When life as a whole seems to hard, try instead to weave together little moments of happiness into a whole. That means stopping to register a bright blue sky, the sound of children laughing when you walk past a school playground, the smell of a fantastic coffee.. you get the drift. Lots of little happy moments can put a smile on your face that will last for five minutes… until you can find another moment of sunshine.
  2. Be grateful. In Australia, we live in the most beautiful, free, open minded and liberal society. We all have people around us who care and would do lots for us.
  3. Look after your body. If you are sleep deprived, run down to the point of sheer exhaustion or generally feeling like a train smash, it really is hard to love life. Don’t go for a radical lifestyle transplant in one hit but if your health habits could do with an extreme makeover, start with catching up on sleep, doing a little exercise and cutting out some of the junk food and move forward from there. I promise you, the way you feel will make you feel so much brighter.
  4. Give. Studies have found that giving to charity, but even more importantly giving of your time and efforts to help those less fortunate is a short cut to satisfaction with your own lot.
  5. Surround yourself with good energy people. Dig around your address book for the friends who make you laugh and who can take you away from your worst thoughts. You know those people who exhaust you and make you want to slit your own throat after a five minute conversation? Yeah, of course you do! Give them a very wide berth when things aren’t great!!
Ok they’re just the starters. But good ones. See if life looks better in a week’s time?