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During the winter months, we have seen less sunlight than at any other time of the year. Without the sun, we feel the effects of the dark cold days. Many of us may have suffered from the “winter doldrums”. To help lift our mood before Spring arrives, we now need to consider the fifth Pillar of Health: Positive Thinking.

Although may not be able to change the world around us, we can change the way we think about it. And, if we can develop a positive attitude, we may experience an inner sense of peace, self-worth and happiness. Letting others touch us deeply through their kindness is also important to our wellbeing. We can cultivate positive attitudes and emotions by engaging in valuable relationships and acknowledging the accomplishments of ourselves and others.

Six keys can help unlock our happiness in challenging times. By deepening our understanding of each, we gain vital tools to manage our responses to what happens around us and within us:

1. By cultivating friendliness towards those who are happy, we too experience happiness.

2. Being able to sit with someone who is unhappy and feel compassion teaches us how to feel for others. It also helps us develop compassion for ourselves.

3. We can find a sense of joy when we notice others acting honourably which feeds our own integrity and encourages us to behave well.

4. But, when we turn away from bad behaviours, we stop feeding them. They then lose their power over us. We stop giving away the power to control our happiness to someone or something else.

5. Live with a sense of purpose. Even simple commitments, if they are meaningful, like fulfilling your promise to bake a cake for a local event, can energise us.

6. Taking care of ourselves as well as others feeds our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Simply eating well, moving regularly, especially in the fresh air, and taking time to rest will build and maintain both our physical and emotional health promoting a positive attitude.

Try using the six keys above together with all the Five Pillars of Health (adequate breathing, a balanced diet, moderate exercise, restful sleep and positive thinking) to unlock your own happiness and share that with everyone around you. Now that Spring is in the air, embrace it with all your senses and enjoy!

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