Happiness tips for exhausted and over-worked parents and their children on International Day of Happiness
International Day of Happiness – Monday March 20th 2017
Natalie Savvides is a married Mum of two young children under five who lives in South-West London. She is also the author of Full Circle, published in 2016 by Pegasus, which is a memoir with a difference. Natalie Savvides, now in her early 40s, has been called ‘the real Bridget Jones’ on many occasions, but the difference between her book – Full Circle – and the likes of Bridget Jones is that it’s 100% real!
Her book is packed with unedited extracts from her diaries from the age of 13 through to when, through a chance meeting, she fell in love with her husband, as well as memories and reflections on the different times of her life – from school playground politics to leaving home for university, finding her place in a different town, then in a different country, meeting new friends, discovering truths about people she thought were friends, battling an ongoing problem with her weight by eating erratically and drinking too much, the infamous dating game we are all too familiar with, launching onto the career ladder, burning the candle at both ends, and much more, Natalie’s life story is told with such raw authenticity thanks to the diary extracts.
Natalie hopes her book will be read by teenage girls so they know they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings, and for their Mums, so they can remember a little of what it used to be like growing up!
International Day of Happiness is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations.
Five of the suggested ten changes you can make TODAY to help you feel happier
International Day of Happiness – Monday March 20th 2017
1) Talk To Yourself: “It’s going to be a good day!”. Believe it. Every time something appears to get in the way remind yourself again: “It’s a good day”. Positive psychology can be powerful. Convince yourself that all is well and you will create a sense of wellbeing. Take time in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening, even just a minute each time, to be mindful of where you are and what is happening around you. Tell yourself: “It’s OK, it’s a good day, I’m OK”.
2) Smile: It sounds like a cliché, I know, but it really works. Even if you don’t feel like it – smile. The act of smiling is proven to release stress. Smile at yourself in the mirror (force it if you must…), smile at others in the street. When you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious, stop and smile. You will feel the benefit throughout yourself.
3) Stop The Comparisons! Don’t compare others’ external worlds with your internal one. Lots of people project images that are not a true reflection of their real selves or lives. Social media is a perfect example of how we often only project the best version of our life – the happies photos, a comment about the best part of a day. People rarely share photos of themselves at their unhappiest. You don’t truly know what is happening in other people’s lives…Comparisons are the thief of joy!
4) Be Grateful: Gratitude cannot be underestimated. Focus on all the good things in your life and feel real gratitude for them – your health, the roof over your head, the hot cup of tea you just drank. Feeling grateful and appreciative sparks happiness and it builds momentum over time. The more you do it, the more it will come naturally.
5) Take A Deep Breath: Remember to breathe, take deep breaths from the bottom of your stomach, not shallow, quick breaths from the top of your chest. Be still and listen to your breathing for a few seconds and take a big, deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth: five seconds in, seven seconds out. By doing this regularly, you will feel more relaxed and energised. The deep intake of oxygen circulates and energises the body and mind.
Natalie now dedicates her time to helping others with their problems, much like a ‘happiness coach’. While she may have been brought up in a ‘nice’ part of London, given opportunities to go to university, travel and enjoy exciting new experiences, Natalie also went through myriad challenges of growing up, finding her place in the world, and looking for love, like so many of us do (and quickly forget/erase from our memories as we get older!).
Her ability to recall the exact language and feelings of times in our lives that so many of us choose to forget gives her an incredible empathy with teenage girls, those in their early 20s living away from home for the first time, through to women in their 30s on the dating bandwagon trying to find love after a string of bad relationships!
In honour of International Day of Happiness Natalie will, on the morning of March 20th, be giving away free copies of Full Circle to teenage girls, career women and Mums on Kensington High Street. Her aim is to show these women that they’re not alone in their problems, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and to give people another reason to feel happy on this International Awareness Day.
Natalie is also going to be visiting secondary schools throughout south-east England, during the summer term and new academic year, to talk to them about the experiences and emotions that are so overlooked and not commonly discussed in schools, from bullying to eating issues, drinking to friendships, drugs to anxiety. She will be gifting each school a copy of her book – Full Circle – for the library. She aims to continue this connection with the teenage students by returning to the school to answer their questions after reading the book (the content usually sparks a series of questions) and to offer one-to-one support when required.