Dorset Cereals are known for their range of delicious cereals that use only the finest natural ingredients. They recently asked me to get involved in a simple happiness challenge and think about my top five happiness actions. To really ask the important question - What Makes You Happy? Of course, Dorset Cereals believe that happiness, and life, begins at breakfast (#lifebeginsatbreakfast) and it's easy to understand why. I'm sure we all get that positive feeling that having a good start to the day gives. It's a feeling that can carry through the rest of the day.
Dorset Cereals own advice about starting the day is all about being thoughtful. They explain that breakfast is the perfect time to set a positive intention and tone for the day and take a moment to appreciate the good things around us. Small changes in how we start the day really can make a big difference:
· THINK: As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So focus on the good stuff. What happened yesterday, what’s good about today. And feel the benefits of a little reflection and observation. Miss this at breakfast and you won’t have time to catch up during the day.
· TALK: The work/life balance can classically kill off family time, but as you wake up this is the time you are most likely to be together as a family group. Don’t leave it for ‘later’ when ‘later’ inevitably changes shape during the day.
· MOVE: Dorset residents might benefit from acres of coastline and countryside all around, but planning something active shouldn’t rest on this alone. Think as you chew about whether you’re pacing up and down the office when on a call, or actually walking up an escalator. If you plan it before you leave home, you will do it, rather than fall into the fug of routine. And feel good about it.
· ENJOY: Quality of life needs some…quality. From a particular coffee smell that beats all others, to ingredients in your food that you can actually savour above the functional, to little moments of pleasure that you can plan into each day. The link again is the planning, the enjoyment factor and the few minutes to work into the day that make everything a little more enjoyable.
Words of wisdom that I'm sure anyone living a busy lifestyle can relate to, for me especially the "don't leave it until later" bit really resonates, I'm often guilty of that!
I was sent a lovely parcel of cereals and a copy of their gorgeous Breakfast Book. This is full of delicious recipes from Peanut Butter Energy Bars to Danish Puff Pancakes, and also reminds us along the way of the simple pleasures in life, like knitting or the perfect cup of tea.
2 - Reflection: I don't have many vices in life. Well, okay, maybe chocolate, but apart from that I don't drink or smoke and I try to have a balanced diet. I grew up with a Meditteranean style diet so that's how I continue nowadays. When it comes to coffee however, I'm happy to admit that I'm addicted to my morning cup! I actually only drink one cup a day (maybe two at the weekend!) but it really is my way of reflecting on the day before and getting ready for the day ahead. Just give me my five minutes of peace in the morning and I'm happy for the rest of the day! :)
3 - HUGS (and laughter!) - Day to day I don't think anything can make you feel instantly happier than a hug, as long as it's from the right person (or pet!). Just this weekend I had an awful time with the simplest thing - making dinner. The first dinner I made (quorn stir fry & noodles) was completely burnt after I got distracted for a few minutes. Then I managed to drop the second dinner I made on the floor, the whole thing, oven tray and all. All that was forgotten when my youngest son rushed over and gave me the biggest bear hug ever = instant happiness! This also goes hand in hand with generally smiling, laughing and having a good giggle in the face of little mishaps.
4 - Reading - Books make me happy. I don't read nearly as many books as I used to but I can still lose myself in a book for hours. It's so therapeutic sometimes to just forget about everything else and get lost in a different place and time. Luckily I've passed on my love of reading to my children and there really is nothing better than cuddling up together and embarking on a new story. When they were really little, instead of playing "shops", they preferred to set up a little pretend library at home!
5 - Eating: Not in the sense of gluttony, but in the sociableness and memories that are often associated with food. Family gatherings, birthday parties, and many other social occasions often revolve around the enjoyment of food. But it all starts at home, and just the pleasure of cooking itself (despite the mishaps!), and making the time to enjoy family mealtimes together is where the happiness lies for me.
Putting together this list was an interesting experience and I realised that there were so many other little actions I could have included here that make me happy; walking, cross stitching, exercise (sometimes!), writing... there are just too many to list. What simple pleasures make you happiest?