What is happiness? It’s an unusual question, isn’t it? Most of us probably don’t believe we need a formal definition of happiness. We know it when we feel it, and we often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude.

In her book; The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

2020 has put us all through the wringer, with lockdowns, isolation, and an ominous feeling that ‘winter is coming’, so pursuing happiness can feel like a bit of a struggle at the moment. But there are some simple ways that we can increase our happiness during this time.

We’ve built our online programme to develop an increased sense of happiness within our communities through clubs, fun activities, events, and workshops, helping you to connect with others and get creative at home. Now we’d like to let you in on our ten simple steps to improve your happiness, and how you can do it with our online community.


1. Building relationships 



Our connections with other people are at the heart of our happiness. The ability to connect with family, friends, neighbours, and work colleagues provides love, meaning, and support, and increase our feelings of self-worth.

Being connected in a community allows us to feel like we belong, which has a significant impact on our own happiness, that of our family, and the community.

We’ve built our online community with relationship-building in mind. It can feel tough to develop or maintain relationships right now, but did you know that relationships can be easier to create when you share common interests with other people? Being part of the Live Work Grow community means that you can join any of our virtual clubs or groups and spend time with people who share common interests.

You can enjoy our virtual Book Club, Coffee Club, or Knitting Club all through our Facebook page and enjoy chatting to people who share the same interests as you. Email Hazel (hegallagher@centralpark.ie) from the Live Work Grow team to find out how to join.

2. Giving


Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness and wellbeing. Helping others is not just good for the recipients, but it also increases our sense of happiness too. When we do something for charity, that benefits others, rather than ourselves, we can see the long-term effect it has on others, and watch it spread outward through relationships by actions or deeds that we have set in motion. In other words, it can give you a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

We’ve teamed up with LauraLynn again to bring you our Halloween colouring competition, to raise awareness for Ireland’s Children’s Hospice. You can also sign a Live Work Grow team up to do their 3,000 Press Ups in October Challenge. Why not get involved in helping a great cause, and in increasing your own endorphins while you do it?

Find out more about the 3,000 Press Ups in October Challenge here.

3. Exercising


Our bodies and minds are connected, so it makes sense that the better you feel physically, the better your mind feels. Being active has a significant impact on our mental health, instantly improving our mood and even helping to ease feelings of depression. The good news is you don’t need to run marathons to get your fix of endorphins.

As part of our community, you can take part in our exercise classes or excursions, including online yoga classes, and night-time hiking excursions. Not only will the physical activity make you feel happier, but you’ll also get to spend some time with people from your community (plus those night hike views are pretty sensational!).


4. Mindfulness and meditation


Sometimes, all it takes to make you feel happier is to just stop and smell the roses. Practising mindfulness and meditation can help you to tap into the feelings of happiness which are already present, but that could be hiding beneath layers of thoughts and other emotions.

Setting aside time each day to stop, relax, and appreciate can lead to an increased sense of happiness and reduce feelings of anxiety in the long term. We’ve included regular morning meditations as part of our online programme, as well as online yoga classes to help you practice mindfulness throughout your week.


5. Trying new things


Many people thrive on routine, but research shows that saying ‘Yes’ new things can lead to a much happier state of mind by exposing us to new ideas and helping us to stay curious and engaged. Learning new things doesn’t have to be tedious or mean hours of studying. It just means trying something that might be a little bit outside of your daily routine or comfort zone.

We’ve included several classes in our programme to help you get involved in new things. Why not try one of our webinars such as ‘Service Your Own Bike’ or our Instagram 101 session, learn how to knit, or paint, or join our virtual book club.


6. Direction or goals



We all need something to look forward to and feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. Our goals should strike a balance between being challenging enough to motivate us, but also be achievable. Trying to achieve the impossible, can add stress to our lives but choosing ambitious but realistic goals will bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve them.

Whatever your goals include, whether it’s increasing your fitness, managing your money, widening your social circle, learning a new skill, or finally finishing that book you started months ago, we can help you achieve them through the online community. 

If you have any suggestions for online classes or webinar topics please get in touch with the Live Work Grow Team.


7. Enjoying simple pleasures


Taking some time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures can lead to an increased sense of happiness during times of stress and anxiety. Simple pleasures can be any brief, positive experience that comes about during everyday settings, and which are accessible to all of us with little or no cost.

Whether it’s reading, chatting with friends, walking, enjoying a cup of coffee or getting creative with painting, knitting or just old fashioned colouring, you can increase the amount of simple pleasures you enjoy by becoming part of the Live Work Grow online community.

8. Building positive emotions


If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things don’t always go to plan. Being realistic about life’s ups and downs, while having a positive outlook on life (i.e. focusing on the good things) can go a long way towards long-term happiness. Practicing positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride, can cause an ‘upwards spiral’ of emotion helping to build our resources of positive emotions for when we need them most. Why not try writing a gratitude journal to help build positive emotions?

9. Resilience


We all experience times of stress, anxiety, trauma, and failure in our lives. As this year has taught us time and time again, we can’t choose what happens to us. What we can choose, however, is how we deal with what comes our way. It’s not always easy, but it turns out resilience is something that can be learned.

Finding ways to cope during yet another lockdown can feel like a challenge. But our online programme is designed to help you get creative, get fit, get social, or relax (whatever tickles your fancy!), all at home, to help keep you going during times of lockdowns and isolation.

10. Being a part of something bigger (being a part of a community around your home or work)


Being a part of something bigger than ourselves can create a feeling of meaning and purpose in our lives. This can help to make us feel happier, more in control, and get more out of what we do. Not to mention, our wellbeing increases when we engage in community networks and neighbourhoods (whether that is a home or work neighbourhood).


When you live or work at Live Work Grow in Central Park, you can become a part of a community that’s bigger than just yourself. 

Why not check out all the activities, clubs, workshops, and events taking place this month, all taking place virtually, and with social distancing measures in place?