Action for Happiness was launched this week, a national campaign to boost bliss levels both nationally and globally, bringing with it the ten secrets to, well, happiness.
At last, the crowds sigh. Full of hope, I too dash to this promised beacon of joy, only to realise that the secrets are the same bland suggestions that you can get in every self-help book or by simply typing “how to be happy” into Google, but without some of the more adult happiness hints.
One of the suggestions is exercise and I worry for the world’s population if they need someone to tell them this. Can’t most people figure out that going for a jog is going to make them happier (excuse the pun) in the long run? Can’t they figure out that a slimmer, healthier, endorphin-fuelled you will probably mean a happier you?
Loving yourself for who you are, connecting with those around you, trying new things, and having a positive approach to life are all suggestions from Action for Happiness that seem as obvious as the colours of the rainbow.
Despite this, the next time someone offers me the secret to happiness, like so many others I’ll go running to it again. Why? We’re all perfectly happy people most of the time. Some of society’s most whimsical characters seem to be students, but we’re always striving to be happier.
Unhappily, students are also highly likely to suffer from depression and/or other mental health issues.
It’s understandable why. University life can be a tricky balancing act and it is all too easy to let everything build up on top of you, particularly at this time in the semester.
Good students remember to eat most of their five-a-day and go for a run and pop to the Student Health Centre for regular physical check-ups, but they can neglect the most valuable part of themselves – their brain.
It’s the amazing bit of you that got you into university, that dazzles your friends with its wit and humour and that empathises with those around you. If you can see a friend whose usual sparkling self has dampened a little lately, then please recommend they talk to someone.
The University offers some wonderful mental health provisions, but the hardest part is seeking that first contact with someone who can help.
So there, my suggestion for a regular mental health check up manages to encapsulate many of the suggestions of Action for Happiness, including take care of your friends, take care of yourself and keep a positive outlook.
If I can only pad it out some more (always eat dessert, wear warm socks, learn Spanish, etc), I can have a self-help book ready to publish by graduation. I’ll call it “Happiness – The Idiots Guide” and you know what, it’ll still sell.
Need to speak to someone? The University offers mental health advice.