Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How's YOUR self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance could be the key to a happier life, yet it’s the happy habit many people practise the least.

Happiness is more than just a feeling; it is something we can all practise on a daily basis. But people are better at some ‘happy habits’ than others. In fact, the one habit that corresponds most closely with us being satisfied with our lives overall – self-acceptance – is often the one we practise least.

5,000 people surveyed by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different, rated themselves between 1 and 10 on ten habits identified  as being key to happiness.

How often are you kind to yourself and think you’re fine as you are? 
When answering this Acceptance questionpeople’s average rating was just 5.56 out of 10. Only 5% of people put themselves happily at a 10 on the Acceptance habit and almost half (46%) of people rated themselves at 5 or less. There's some work to be done there (tips below).

How often do you make an effort to help or be kind to others?
Giving was the top habit revealed by those who took the survey. When asked the question above people scored an average of 7.41 out of 10, with a generous one in six (17%) topping 10 out of 10. Just over one in three (36%) people scored 8 or 9; slightly fewer (32%) scored 6 or 7; and less than one in six (15%) rated themselves at 5 or less.
Being connected to others boosts our happiness so making an effort with
 those people who matter to us is a happy habit.
How often do you put effort into the relationships that matter most to you? 
The Relating habit came a close second. The question above about how well we maintain and nurture our close relationships produced an average score of 7.36 out of 10. 
And a lovely 15% of people scored the maximum 10 out of 10!

Overall how satisfied are you with your life?
The survey also revealed which habits are most closely related to people’s overall satisfaction with life. All 10 habits were found to be strongly linked to life satisfaction, with Acceptance found to be the habit that predicts it most strongly. Yet Acceptance was also revealed as the habit that people tend to practise the least, generating the lowest average score from the 5,000 respondents.

How often do you spend at least half an hour a day being active? 
Treating our bodies to regular physical activity is another proven happy habit. Yet the survey revealed that this is another habit that we don't all get round to practising. The average answer to the exercise question above was just 5.88 out of 10, with 45% of couch-huggers rating themselves 5 or less.

How do you get the happy habit?
If you want to boost your happy habits check out the new Do Happiness programme. It costs just £15 for a profile and regular small positive actions (Do’s) by text and email, customised so you can practice your happy habits daily. 

And signing up will be your first act of Giving because, for each programme sold Do Something Different, gives one away free to someone who can't afford it.

How to practise the self-acceptance habit.

Here are three positive actions that people can take to increase their levels of self-acceptance:
·      Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn. Notice things you do well, however small
·      Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you
·      Spend some quiet time by yourself. Tune in to how you're feeling inside and try to be at peace with who you are.

Where did the happy habits come from?

The happy habits included in the survey are based on the Ten Keys to Happier Living framework, developed by Action for Happiness based on an extensive review of the latest research about what really affects mental wellbeing. Together the Ten Keys spell the acronym GREAT DREAM, as follows:

·      Giving: do things for others
·      Relating: connect with people
·      Exercising: take care of your body
·      Appreciating: notice the world around
·      Trying out: keep learning new things

·      Direction: have goals to look forward to
·      Resilience: find ways to bounce back
·      Emotion: take a positive approach
·      Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
·      Meaning: be part of something bigger

Don't forget if you're feeling like you've let your happy habits slip, you can still get them back and turn your life around. Check out