1. Lose yourself to playfulness
Playfulness is a mindful attitude. One enjoyable way to practice yoga is to bring an attitude of playfulness. See if you can find some joy in the various poses.
If you can, great.
If you have difficulty feeling joy for anything, that’s ok too. You may have been through a significant amount of stress, which prevents you being able to feel happiness at the moment. In this case, bring as much mindful awareness to the poses as you can and hold a very gentle and subtle smile on your face. Research suggests the nerves in your facial muscles will begin sending signals to your brain, helping to gently lift your mood.
2. Discovering your ‘me time’
In my experience of coaching many people over the years, those who are most happy and resilient to stress spend some time doing a daily activity that re-energises them. It can be meditation, yoga, jogging, swimming, playing piano, knitting or taking their dog for a walk. This is their ‘me time’.
Find some ‘me time’ for yourself, doing whatever you most enjoy. Ideally make it any activity that allows you space to sink into the present moment – a way to live with a sense of connection with the here and now.
3. Ten-second happiness exercise
This very short exercise is far more powerful than it sounds.
Every few hours, look around you and look at somebody else around you. As you look at them, think for about 10 seconds: ‘May you be well, may you be happy’. Genuinely wish them happiness.
It feels good to wish others happiness. And it takes you out of your world of worries into a space of greater wellbeing. I was amazed at how much this lifted my mood the first time I tried it.
The Mindful Way Through Stress by Shamash Alidina (Guilford Press) goes on sale on 22 January
Read Relax in the doing by Florence Parot on LifeLabs