Saturday, October 15, 2011

7 Simple Strategies for Thinking Your Way to Happiness written by our Guest Psychologist and Author Prof. Timothy Sharp @ The Happiness Institute Sydney Australia

There is nothing either good or bad except thinking makes it so...

These famous lines were supposedly said by Hamlet, written by Shakespeare and have been used probably thousands of times by psychologists and especially, those (including myself) who believe that our  thinking plays a crucial role in how we feel and what we do.

If thinking, therefore, affects how we feel (as it definitely does) then thinking is important for our happiness.  In very simple terms, there are certain types of thoughts that help us cope and function and achieve our best where as there are other types of thoughts that contribute to distress and problems. Most of us who want to enjoy more happiness would prefer to have more of the former!

So how do we do this? How do we think more helpful and constructive thoughts and less unhelpful, negative ones? Well, today I bring you 7 simple strategies that should boost your happiness...
  1. Accept that some "negative thoughts" are natural (this might sound counter-intuitive and not necessarily conducive to reducing negative thoughts but it works! Accepting the reality that we all have some distressing and disturbing thoughts, at times, can take a lot of pressure off and, therefore, minimise associated distress)
  2. Don't fight negative thoughts; just let them go
  3. Be aware of your thoughts but don't feel as though you have to believe them; thoughts are not facts
  4. Question your thoughts the way you might question or debate someone at a dinner party or in a team meeting
  5. Try to imagine a different way of thinking about certain (especially distressing) situations
  6. Ask yourself how someone else you know, preferably someone who's mostly happy and seems to cope well, would think in this situation
  7. Look for the best as often as possible
This is just a taste of what's possible when one starts to learn about helpful ways of thinking. There are more tips in the FREE RESOURCES section of our Happiness Institute website and there is also a whole chapter in The Happiness Handbook

Prof. Timothy Sharp
Executive Coach & Consultant, Facilitator and Speaker