We LOVE Rachel Kelly's new book, Walking On Sunshine. Here are some of her tips to get you on your way to feeling great...
We all know, and envy, someone who seems relaxed, content and can face whatever life throws at them. Whilst certain people are genetically predisposed to be more positive, happiness is a state that we can all achieve, and thanks to Rachel Kelly’s latest book, Walking On Sunshine: 52 Small Steps To Happiness, pretty easily.
After suffering from a deep depression, journalist Rachel Kelly wrote a diary of her year filled with strategies that helped her stay relaxed and happy. Throughout the seasons, Rachel noted the things that brought her inner peace, such as poetry and spending time with her children, and the things that didn’t, like saying ‘yes’ to all invitations and drinking alcohol.
“You cannot simply become happy, like flicking a switch in your head. Rather happiness is often an indirect consequence of the way we think and our actions,” she writes. You won’t go from grumpy to grinning automatically, but by incorporating some of these easy techniques into your day, you’ll soon notice a difference in your outlook.
It’s easy to take things for granted, to live on autopilot and to let your happiness fall by the wayside. Luckily, Walking On Sunshine isn’t another weighty self-help book to clog up your shelves. It’s short, sweet and totally doable. And while her tips are unique to her life, the philosophy behind them can be applied in anybody’s daily life.
So it’s no wonder that this little wonder is already on its sixth reprint and is tipped to be a Christmas bestseller. Can’t wait for your copy? Read through some of Rachel’s easiest tips here on woman&home…
Walking On Sunshine: 52 Small Steps To Happiness is out now (Short Books, £9.99).
We’re all guilty of hanging on to things that we no longer use. Rachel coins the term ‘stuffocation’, which can overwhelm your mind and dampen your mood. Clearing out cupboards helps clear the mind. Save only what you use right now (no, not what you used 2 years ago, and not what you think you’ll use in the future – you won’t). However, you don’t have to clear out every bit of tat – hold on to things of sentimental value that make you happy. Click here for more tips on how to declutter your wardrobe.
You’d be surprised how few of us breathes properly during our day. Rachel details a 3 Step Breathing Exercise in her book to help bring a sense of calm, or if you’re feeling jittery and need a quick fix, her secret exercise of holding one finger against one nostril works wonders. Breathing through one nostril helps to lower blood pressure and trigger the body’s relaxation response. Read more about incorporating meditation into your day.
It’s no secret that taking care of your physical health will undoubtedly improve your mental health. Find an exercise that you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. And make your plate as colourful as possible – vibrant fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, whereas white foods tend to be refined and will cause an energy spike and slump.
How you speak not only affects how people perceive you, but how you perceive yourself.
Changing the way you say things out loud and internally can help improve everything from relationships to your diet. For example, be careful using the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ when talking to yourself, and these can be discouraging of healthy habits.
Had a rough day? This is the tip for you – by jottiing down three good things that you’re grateful for, e.g ‘I enjoyed my breakfast this morning’, you’ll be able to shake off your bad mood and feel happier. Keep a notebook on your bedside table to help remind you to write each night.
Attempting a new activity, even if it’s just the once, can be extremely rewarding. Grab a friend or go solo and book a new class. You don’t have to commit to it forever, but even a small deviation from your regular routine will make you feel more alive, help you meet new people and get you learning a new skill.
Trying to become happier takes practice and patience. There will be days when you won’t feel great, but that’s okay. Rachel stresses that it’s perfectly normal and healthy to feel sad, and that it is better to wallow in the emotions rather than bury them. A sour mood will pass if you allow it.