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The Resilience Project

Home > Everywhere > Health and Fitness | Health and Beauty
by Clay Steele (subscribe)
Nutritionist & Life Coach Meeting all requirements to call myself so (i.e. none)
Published March 5th 2019
Who doesn't want to be happy?
How to be happy? That's easy: "something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to". Done. Article over. Move on.

Yeah, but I don't have a job (nothing to do), I, therefore, have no money which means I can't go out and get laid (someone to love) and by extension, I have nothing to look forward to other than a sexless existence and long, cold nights.

Hmm. Given the above is nothing more than a quote taken out of its original context anyway with no scientific backing, let's try to find a slightly more informed way of attaining the elusive happiness. Here's a start: put a pencil in your mouth. Turns smiling is very good for you but you don't have to really smile, you can fool the various systems in your body by simply activating the same muscles that flex/extend when you smile. This can be achieved by holding a pencil in your mouth. Fancy that.
happy, mental health, resilience, happiness, gratitude, empathy, kindness, mindfulness
image courtesy of Wikipedia

Something that made a real difference was me was having the privilege of being in the audience of a Hugh Van Cuylenburg presentation on his research in the Resilience Project. They set out a fairly simple model for happiness, with the backing of research:
Gratitude. Empathy. Mindfulness. GEM

Van Cuylenburg himself admits that it is more accurate to say gratitude, kindness and empathy however GEM makes for a much punchier TLA (i.e. three letter acronym).


Taking time to recognise when something positive happens is a great way of building your positivity muscle. The more you notice things to be grateful for, the more you notice. At the end of each day think about, or write down an answer to this question "What are three things that went well today?". This is great to do. No matter how bad a day you had, you can generally find three positives. "Sure that shark bit off my legs but the ambulance response time was quick, the microsurgery to save my genitals was successful and that cute nurse gave me a sponge bath." The more you do this the more you'll notice when good things are happening as they happen and eventually the happier you'll be.

Being kind and giving to others actually makes you happy. This can be as simple as offering your seat on public transport to someone who may need it more, letting other drivers in during the morning commute, giving up the last Monte Carlo at afternoon tea. Going further, completing charity work or finding a way to really help those less fortunate will make you happy.

I've spoken about this before so won't bang on about it. Suffice to say that finding time in your busy day to practice some mindfulness will do wonders for your state of mind.

And finally, moving away from van Cuylenburg's work: stop buying stuff and do stuff instead.

So there you have it. Start smiling, even if you're really just chewing on a pencil.
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Why? Being happy beats not being happy
When: All the flamin' time
Where: Wherever you are
Cost: Zero
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