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Show Notes:

Welcome to Hello Rebecca Ray, our collective home for courage, growth, and human to human connection. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Ray, human, clinical psychologist, author, and educator. I know only too well how fear, comparison, and self doubt can stifle your potential. This podcast is all about brave and meaningful living, and how you can make your authentic contribution to the world today, and everyday.

Hi lovely one, welcome to episode number 64 of Hello, Rebecca Ray. In this episode, I want to take you through a happiness audit. Because following on from our last episode, where we looked at the counterintuitive path to happiness, I want you to ask yourself, how happy are you, really. So I want to take you through six science backed questions to assess your happiness levels. But before we start, I just want you to think about what score would you put on your happiness? And what would you use as your scale? Maybe you might automatically think about your income, or your postcode, or your number of likes on the most recent pics that you posted on social media. But I’m hoping that you won’t use any of these, because science tells us that they actually don’t matter much. Despite the fact that the media bombards us with messages that tell us that they do. In fact, according to Dr. Sonya Liabermeski’s happiness pie. What contributes to our happiness is far less about what we have. Only about 10% of our happiness comes from stuff and life circumstances, and far more about what we actually do. A whopping 40% of our happiness is down to the intentional activities that we choose to fill our days. The other 50% is down to what’s referred to as a genetic set point. That is the general level of happiness we attain thanks to our personality and our general genetic makeup.

Taking a moment to self audit your happiness levels can give you valuable information about where you are on track or off track. To do so though, we need to look at what you’re doing with your 40% sized piece of happiness pie. And I’m here to help you decide how best to fill that slice based on what science tells us about ideal psychological well being. While everyone is different, and these questions are not exhaustive. They are a good starting place for evaluating your current state of well being and fulfilment. So I want you to listen as we go through them and see where you see it at the end of the assessment.

Question number 1, do you have at least one person in your life who loves, understands and supports you? Dr. Martin Seligman, sometimes referred to as the father of positive psychology, reminds us that as social beings, we don’t thrive without love. And I’m talking about love in all its forms, not just Valentine’s Day approved love. It’s not about quantity, or Cupid. It’s about quality and connectedness. And many superficial relationships will not replace one loving solid relationship or friendship, whether that be with a family member, a partner or a friend. So who we surround you meeting the needs of your heart.

Question number two, do you have activities in your life that put you in a state of flow. Positive psychologists also are very interested in what you do to get in your flow zone. That is the activities that you do that absorb your attention and give you a sense of losing time, because they are so enjoyable. These kinds of activities are crucial for happiness, they add to our sense of well being. So what are you doing in life to spark inspiration, keep yourself motivated and feed your soul. Now hint, hint, this actually may not be your job and it doesn’t need to be your job. So if you’re thinking, oh my goodness, I spend my time in a job that doesn’t really fit for me. That’s absolutely fine. Perhaps you do pottery on the weekends or perhaps you love reading to your toddler or perhaps you adore writing poetry or you love walking your dog in nature in the morning. But I want to know what is the activity or activities more than one is also so great, that actually gives you that sense of flow. Maybe it’s just reading a great novel. These activities are really important.

Number three, can you identify the things in life that give you meaning, and make you feel grateful? What or who are the things that have your heart? What or who makes you feel #blessed? I’ve actually never used that hashtag and never will. But I know you’ve seen that a million times in social media. So because we’ve all seen it, what is it that makes you feel blessed or who is it that makes you feel blessed? Dr. Seligman notes that identifying the important things in life, and practising gratitude makes us feel even happier in happy times, and also helps to stabilise us through difficult emotional times.

Question number four, are you working towards goals that make you excited at the prospect of achieving them? If you want to truly flourish, then the science tells us to work towards something. They don’t have to be big goals, although there might be. But they do need to hold your interest and be relevant to you, as opposed to working towards something to please someone else. What is your thing? What is the thing that is in the distance that you would love to achieve? And what are you doing today to work towards it? Because it’s this that also deeply counts towards your well being?

Question number five, how much of your attention is focused on the here and now? The skill of being mindful allows us the relief of just being in the present moment rather than being caught up in the melodrama that our minds can create. Beware of spending too much energy and time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future instead of focusing on the here and now. Mindful people, that is people who keep bringing their attention back to the present enjoy higher levels of well being. Just bear in mind that someone who’s skilled in the practice of mindfulness doesn’t stay in the present moment. 100% of the time, that’s impossible. Minds are very adept at dragging us into the future, or taking us back to the past. It’s more that people who are skilled at mindfulness are very skilled at being able to observe their mind and to quickly bring it back when it attempts to do some mental time travelling. So question number five is how much of your attention is focused on the here and now?

And finally, in our happiness audit? Question number six, do you practice being kind towards yourself? Psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff speaks of how our culture has gotten it wrong when it comes to how we relate to ourselves. She says, I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self compassionate, is that they are afraid they will become self indulgent, they believe self criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be. But it’s not. This is the thing lovely ones I want you to understand that whipping yourself if it worked would have made you perfect by now. Cultivating a loving and compassionate attitude toward yourself is life changing for happiness, offering yourself loving kindness honours your humaneness. It honours all your efforts, even when you mess up at times. And it will revolutionise your relationship with yourself, which is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Because how you are with yourself defines how you are with others. So lovely ones, how happy are you really?

Let’s go through these questions. Again. Question number one, do you have at least one person in your life who loves understands and supports youa, that person who really gets you? Number two. Do you have activities in your life that put you in a state of flow? Number three. Can you identify the things in life that give you meaning and make you feel grateful? Number four, are you working towards goals that make you excited at the prospect of achieving them? Number five, how much of your attention is focused on the here and now? And number six, do you practice being kind to yourself?

Here’s to answering yes to the things that fulill our souls, warm our hearts and feed our minds. I hope that these questions help you to identify the things that you might like to work on in order to increase your well being. We are here for such a short time, so let’s make it as meaningful as possible. I’ll catch you very shortly for the next episode of Hello Rebecca Ray.

Lovely ones, thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you’ve got something meaningful from this episode, then the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes, and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe, and if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much. I love seeing your shares on social media. So please tag me, catch you next time.