Action For Happiness

  • font size:A
  • A
  • A
Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society.  Town of Battleford is committed to trying to make the world a happier and more caring place starting with our community.  Pursuing happiness as a community is about learning to live happily, to fundamentally live a different way of life where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.  Every month we will provide ideas and resources backed by leading experts from diverse fields.   

 
TOB will be a part of this mental health initiative with Mayor and Council and all of Town department staff taking the Town of Battleford Action For Happiness Pledge showing we are serious about making a positive change for the better. 

Jump Back Up July

 

 

We all experience small daily frustrations and everyday stresses, sometimes bigger upsets, failures, unexpected change and challenges, traumatic events, loss of a loved one or pet.  We are all strong in different ways.  All of our strengths make us resilient and help us cope with the stress we face.  Being resilient doesn't mean we will never feel pain, upset, hurt, sadness, fear, or anger when we experience difficult times.  Resilience means in the moment or over time we can find ways to cope in a positive way, accept what has happened, adapt, and eventually move forward.

 

Many studies show we can learn skills, practices and habits of thinking that can help to boost and build our resilience.

This can lower our risk of depression, anxiety, even enable us to age successfully, help us develop and grow in other ways.  Tips to practice resilience:

  • Activate the emotion part in your brain and recognize you are not alone in your struggles.  Think of all the people in the world who are also struggling, different people who support other in small and bigger ways.  Think of someone you can connect with right now or someone "you” can help.  Join Action For Happiness if you don’t know someone.
  • Real time resilience is thinking the very worst that can happen, get playful and flip it instead to the very best that can happen.  Next think of somewhere in the middle of what in realty could probably happen, what action can take to make the "somewhere in the middle” happen.
  • Magic number breathing is about calming yourself with your breath.  Set a timer for one minute and count your complete breaths.  Breaths that are normal and calm, inhale, and exhale.  There is no right or wrong number.  That is your magic number.  When you get worried just pause and breath your magic number breaths.
 
Follow Town of Battleford on Facebook to get additional tips and thoughts every Sunday.

Jump Back Up July Calendar - Click to print the calendar



Current Talks:

July 19, 2022 
Unwinding Anxiety with Dr. Judson Brewer
 
Time: 19:00-20:00 GMT
 


July 27, 2022
 
How Therapy Helps with Lori Gottlieb
 
Time: 19:00-20:00 GMT
  
AFH
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Articles
Why Happiness Matters - by Richard Layard  
 
Books
Why Kindness is Good For You - by Dr. David Hamilton
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl
Every Day Counts: Lesson in Love, Faith and Resilience from Children Facing Illness - by Maria Sirois
A Short Course in Happiness After Loss - by Maria Sirois

 
YouTube Videos 

Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Open Our Mind



Websites
School and District
Empower your students to create a culture of kindness!
 
Guidebooks

Happier January

Traditionally January is about new beginnings, letting go of the old and creating something better; lose weight, start a fitness program or finding more time for you. After the last couple of years, it is time we could all use "better."

Action for Happiness is a movement by people committed to building a happier and more caring society. TOB will be a part of this mental health initiative with Mayor and Council and all of Town department staff taking the Town of Battleford Action For Happiness Pledge showing we are serious about making a positive change for the better.

Every month ideas and resources will be provided to help you to take action at home, at work and in the community.

TAKE THE PLEGE! Sign up for the TOB newsletter, and Like and Follow Town of Battleford on Facebook so you see the monthly information. https://www.battleford.ca/p/community

 

Friendly February

 

February's focus is on reaching out to connect with others and doing our best to be a good friend.  We have become increasingly disconnected from one another. According to Psychologist, Abraham Maslow, our need to belong is secondary only to our survival needs. 

A large research review on connection's link with living a long, disease-free life found that low social connection has as much of an effect on our mortality rate as not exercising and is twice as harmful as being overweight.  The review also felt loneliness affects morbidity as much as smoking or alcohol problem.  

Connection is important for us humans:

  • Plays a part of our physical health and longevity.
  • Increases our immunity to infection.
  • Protects our mental health.
  • Social connections in youth are essential to well-being in their later life.
  • Connection is a core psychological need beginning at birth.

Together we are stronger! Build happiness in your community with acts of kindness.  Acts of kindness helps us to connect.  We can connect with a smile, eye contact, by remembering someone’s name – be the friend or stranger you want to come across in your day.  Take action to strength your relationships and build connections to create more happiness.  Check out the February calendar for helpful ways to connect this month.

 

Mindful March

 

 

Mindfulness is noticing what is in the present moment, the process of paying attention, with awareness, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us, in the moment.  Mindfulness has been practiced for millennia usually through religion, but in the modern world with practice diminishing we have easily fallen into todays attention competing world.


Being mindful enables us to more actively choose where we want our attention to be.  It helps us notice how we are feeling and what we are experiencing and recognizing if it supports us or is harmful to us.  When we stop to smell the flowers we are being mindful.  we are taking in the aroma as it brings us pleasant memories, we feel the warmth in our heart areas as we gently put a smile on our face while feeling the softness of the petal tickle our nose and how the earth under our feet supporting us.  The world can feel like a better place.


There is a growing body of quality research that shows how regular mindfulness practice can have many benefits for our health and happiness by reducing stress levels, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and helping us to manage our emotions and reaction and cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.  Research suggests that regular practice literally changes our brains for the better.  The brains of people who have been practicing mindfulness regularly show patterns of activation in the areas of our brain associated with feel good and reduced activation of the areas associated with worry and stress.  Mindfulness can help us stay centered in order to more effectively deal with external challenges. 


In order to receive those amazing benefits of mindfulness, you need to practice it, just do it!  Many people think mindfulness is meditating and although that is a great way to be mindful it is only one of many ways.  It's the little things such as feeling grateful, check in with your body - your body functions without your participation - what do you notice.  Breathe, stop what you are doing just to notice how you are breathing.  The March calendar is full of daily actions and is a great start to feeling happier and calmer


Active April

Taking care of your body is taking care of your mind.

Exercise and movements can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental health.  What do all of these things have in common: exercising, moving more during the day, getting enough rest, eating nourishing food, staying hydrated and getting outside?  They all impact how we feel and function.  They help us manage the roller coaster of life giving us more confidence, better able to manage stress, sleep more sound and our brain functions better. Looking after ourselves physically is good for your mind.

Three actions to try this month:

  • Get outside into the daylight for about five minutes, three times a day - Sunlight on our skin produces vitamin D which is important for both our physical health and happiness.  Seeing the greenery has been shown to reduce stress and increase our concentration and production.  Yes, indoor greenery works too.
  • Stretch – this month find a stretch that feels good for your body and try it on a regular basis.  When you’re feeling less than happy you tend to hunch down with shoulders rolled inward signifying that your body is in protection mode.  Even if you’re not experiencing stress, this posture can in fact change your mood in a negative way.  Embodied Cognition is a big word meaning a form of communication between your mind and body, and works both to send signals from the body to the brain, and signals from the brain to the body. Open up and stretch and practice good posture.
  • Breathing technique Physiological Sighing helps to reduce stress and anxiety creating a relaxed feeling.  When an unexpected stress moment happens this is a simple, easy exercise that uses the body to control the mind. The technique is simply: Do two rapid inhales through the nose, followed by a long, extended exhale through the mouth.  Click for a guided experience. 

 

Meaningful May

Be part of something bigger to be healthier and happier

The fundamental human experience is to feel that your life has meaning.  What gives life meaning? Happiness and things that bring joy to our lives.  However there is a deeper happiness when we feel our lives have meaning.  We feel we matter, our lives make sense and we make a difference to something or someone, beyond ourselves.

Having meaning in your life lessens stress and gives experiences of more frequent and stronger positive emotions, greater life satisfaction and more satisfying relationships.  Physically you have fewer ill-health symptoms, lower risk of heart disease, and stronger immune systems.  People with greater purpose make healthier life choices, such as exercising and more nutritious eating (thinking of Active April).

Remember there is just as much meaning (if not more) in challenging situations as there is in easy or positive situations.  In difficult times, meaning in life seems to be protective and can help us cope better and experience less fear, anger and shame and instead the challenge is what make us who we are and reveals meaning to us.  Attitude is the power of choice.  Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor, recognized the importance of our power to choose our own attitudes about our lives. Choose the way we think about circumstances and how we respond to them.

If you lack meaning there are ways to create it:

  • Volunteering for a cause we care about
  • Find a creative outlet better yet learn something new
  • Creating a unique experience creating awe or overcoming a fear or challenge
  • Change in attitude, find ways to choose meaningful attitudes based on some of our most important values

 

Joyful June

Emotions - look for what's good - the power of positive emotions
Emotions are Energy in Motion. They are simply reactions.  Emotions by themselves are neither good nor bad.   However, the way we act (or don't act) on our emotions can strongly affect our well-being.  Unpleasant emotions like fear kept humans safe.  The human brain naturally focuses on what's wrong.  Humans were hunters and gatherers regularly facing life or death situations.  We survived because we looked to what we needed to avoid.  Thankfully, life and death situations rarely happen this way anymore.  The power of pleasant emotional experiences have only recently been recognized.
Scientist Barbara Fredrickson and her colleagues found that fleeting momentary experiences of pleasant emotions broaden our perceptual fields, causing us to literally see more; to be more open and trusting of others; recognize people from other cultures better; see more options; be more open to ideas; more likely to adapt, and be better at creative problem-solving. Little by little, these moments add up, over time building our psychological and social resources and our resilience for more challenging times too.
Tips for finding more joy.
  1. Celebrating tiny day to day achievements - what things have you got done on your to do list instead of what you didn't get done.  No one needs to know your celebrations they can simply be for you!
  2. Work on catching joy from others, sharing others joy.  Studies show the reward center in our brain gets activated when we share others joy.
  3. Find a way to create a jolt of joy in your day, a pocket of joy maybe from a funny video, or listening to joyful music.  Reflect back on your joy jolts at the end of the week. 

 

Relating

 Podcasts

Deeper Meaning and Fulfilment - In this episode, happiness expert Dr. Andrew Parnham shares his thoughts on how we can find lasting happiness - by developing healthy relationships and cultivating a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life, even in the face of adversity.

Add Heart Podcast is designed to help connect you with your heart's intuitive guidance and suggestions to inspire forward movement and heart-powered intentions to improve your life.  Each episode is only 30 minutes long.