Some of us have enjoyed extended time away from our desks during the summer, re-energising ourselves with a "change-is-as-good-as-a-rest" fix. If only we could bottle the feel-good magic of carefree summer and take it with us to savour during the months of autumn and winter when our positive, productive energy starts to slip away.
Well, the good news is that we can – but it takes a little practise to pull it off. I've just finished reading Rick Hanson's Hardwiring Happiness and found in there some very useful tips and tools to help "reshape our brains and our lives" for the better. Try this for starters; five things that Rick suggests you do to embed the good times and turn happiness from fleeting to lasting.
- Duration: don't rush the ice-cream, really savour it and make your enjoyment last as long as possible.
- Intensity: Open all your senses – smell, touch, taste – to pleasurable experiences and make the happy time bigger and stronger.
- Multimodality: explain to yourself, from all angles, what it is about the experience that makes you happy – what it makes you think and feel.
- Novelty: embrace new experiences and think about what they add to your sum of happiness.
- Personal Relevance: identify the factors that make the happy experience personal to yourself – tell your own story or you will just be part of someone else's.
These tricks will strengthen the neural connections which install memories in your brain; and a strong recollection of happy times is useful to counteract negativity whenever it pops up.
And whilst we are talking happiness, one of my all-time favourite TED talks is worth checking out: The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shaun Achor.
Here's to a happy summer, Indian summer and beyond.