Health and happiness (part 1)

One Planet Living is a vision of a world in which people enjoy happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the earth’s resources, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.

The first One Planet Living principle is ‘Health and happiness’:

“Encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well being”.

For me, first and foremost, this means getting enough sleep. Without it, life is just that bit harder. It means doing work that stretches me and that I feel makes a difference. It means eating and drinking right and getting enough exercise; spending time outdoors and with the people I love. I don’t manage to do these all all the time, but when I do, I feel so much better.

There are numerous websites, books and other resources promoting ways to boost happiness. Googling the word ‘happiness’ yields about 318 million results!

I particularly like Gretchen Rubin‘s writing. She chronicles her experiments in happiness and good habits on her blog. She wrote the books: ‘The Happiness Project’ and ‘Happier at Home’, testing out and finding strategies and activities that worked to boost her own happiness. In her most recent book ‘Better than before’, she  writes about forming helpful habits. She identifies four areas that do the most to boost us: sleep, move, eat and drink right and unclutter (or declutter), and different ways to develop and maintain habits to support these. What I like about her writing is that she starts out quite bossy, but eventually comes to the realisation that what works for her doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. There are four tendencies that we all fall into that support or sabotage our efforts to maintain good habits: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel. I’ll probably come back to these at some point later.

In the UK, Action for Happiness (Patron: the Dalai Lama) helps people take action for a happier and more caring world. Their vision is a happier world, with fewer people suffering with mental health problems and more people feeling good, functioning well and helping others. Based on research, they’ve identified ten keys to ‘happier living‘:

On their website, you can find information, questions, resources and suggested actions to help apply the keys in your daily life.

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