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Happy Habits Key to Healthy Life

Posted Apr 06 2014 10:07pm

Each of us has a set of behaviors the underpinnings of our unique personality. However, oftentimes we repeat established habits that may undermine our capacity to live a satisfying and healthy life. The United Kingdom’s Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different, surveyed 5,000 men and women, asking each to rate themselves between 1 and 10 on ten habits identified from the latest scientific research as being key to happiness. “Giving” was the top habit revealed by those who took the survey. When asked about “Giving” (How often do you make an effort to help or be kind to others?) people scored an average of 7.41 out of 10, with one in six (17%) topping 10 out of 10. Just over one in three (36%) people scored 8 or 9; slightly fewer (32%) scored 6 or 7; and less than one in six (15%) rated themselves at 5 or less. The “Relating” habit came a close second. The question “How often do you put effort into the relationships that matter most to you?” produced an average score of 7.36 out of 10. And 15% of people scored the maximum 10 out of 10. The survey also revealed which habits are most closely related to people’s overall satisfaction with life. All 10 habits were found to be strongly linked to life satisfaction, with “Acceptance” found to be the habit that predicts it most strongly. Yet “Acceptance” was also revealed as the habit that people tend to practice the least, generating the lowest average score from the 5,000 respondents. Treating our bodies to regular physical activity is another proven happy habit. Yet the survey revealed that this is another habit that often gets overlooked. The average answer to “How often do you spend at least half an hour a day being active?” was just 5.88 out of 10, with 45% of people rating themselves 5 or less. Do Something Different and Action for Happiness have also created a new Do Happiness program encouraging three positive actions that people can take to increase their levels of self-acceptance, namely: (1) Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn. Notice things you do well, however small; (2) Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you; (3) Spend some quiet time by yourself. Tune in to how you’re feeling inside and try to be at peace with who you are.

Fletcher B and Pine K.  FLEX – Do Something Different, March 2014.

What are the three positive actions that not only may improve overall satisfaction with life, but coincidentally may promote a healthy life?
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