Operation Transformation Psychologist, Dr Eddie from Portarlington, share the secrets to being happy.

'Being happy is a skill that can be learned' - Dr Eddie Murphy
People can spend their lives waiting to be happy. Let’s even go with contentment. We often think that ‘If I had a better job’ or ‘If I was in a relationship with ‘that’ person ‘ or ‘If only I could lose some weight’, we would be happy.

People can spend their lives waiting to be happy. Let’s even go with contentment. We often think that ‘If I had a better job’ or ‘If I was in a relationship with ‘that’ person ‘ or ‘If only I could lose some weight’, we would be happy.

We can have a mindset that we need to first attain something external in order to be happy. This isn’t true. Here is the thing! The secret is that you can be happy right now. The key to happiness lies within you.

Being happy is a skill that can be learned and cultivated. It requires making changes in your life; ways of thinking and acting. Here are seven habits to work on.

1. Connect & grow Positive Relationships

Having strong interpersonal relationships is one key to having a joyful life. People with one or more close friendships appear to be happier. Connection with others is vital to feeling loved and needed. Sharing our problems and feelings regularly, increases meaning and well being.

2. Reach out and care

Caring for others less fortunate increases our emotional well-being. Volunteers have fewer depressive symptoms and higher life satisfaction. If you have an hour or two a week, why not drop into your local community club and get involved. Check out www.volunteer.ie

3. Get Moving

Doing regular exercise has both physical and psychological well-being benefits. Exercise improves mood straight away by the release of feel good chemicals. Not only that, but it helps with freeing oneself from negative thoughts and builds social connection and improves life satisfaction.

4. Find your purpose

Even if your full time job isn’t your dream work, make sure to make time for doing what it is you love. What is it the one activity that makes you feel exhilarated; that you lose yourself in and experience complete joy and satisfaction? Make sure you plan this into your daily life.

5. be Grateful

Gratitude is an important powerful attitude to cultivate. It is a personality strength, the ability to be aware of the good things you have in life and not take them for granted. People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach goals. Make a list today of five things you are grateful for.

6. Acceptance

Accept what cannot be changed and let go of a need to control things you cannot. Put your focus and energy into what you can change.

7. Be Your Real Self

Forget putting on a ‘front’. Too often I see people pouring their limited energies into keeping a mask up. The real self is neglected, sad and fearful. You need to pour your energy into the person you want to be, not what you think others want you to be. That’s the key. No matter what part of life you are in young, middle age, old, be real to yourself.

Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these principles in your life. Imagine your happiness is like a new garden you have discovered, now is the time to cultivate it!

For those with strong emotions, stress, low mood or fear, blocking happiness, I have put a workshop together; Transforming Stress Depression & Anxiety into Hope & Freedom, this Saturday May 23, 9.30 – 1pm in Port Enterprise Centre. Attendees will not be asked questions, just sit back and listen – €149.99 for one, €179.99 for two (bring your supporter). Book on 087 1302899 email eddie@dreddiemurphy.ie