9 Habits to Bring Joy to Your Life This Autumn

Nearly everyone I have spoken to lately has been slightly dreading autumn and winter.  Complaints and concerns have ranged from the fading light, the dark mornings and evenings, to not wanting to be outside as much because it's chilly, and not having any 'oomph' left.  Perhaps we Brits all have a collective version of ASD.  But there are ways to find joy even in the darker, colder months.

By adopting a few new habits over the coming months, we can all stave off the autumn and winter blues.  Research has consistently shown that making small, incremental changes regularly can add up to a whole new mindset and a whole new life.  By introducing a new daily habit each week, come Christmas time we will all be bursting with get up and go.  So instead of giving in to the feeling of gloom, adopt one of these changes every week and see how much difference it can make.

1. Do something you love every day

Whether it's taking a bath, reading a book, praying, meditating, gardening, walking, sewing or something else, take some time every day, just 20 minutes will do, to do what you love.  At the weekend or on your days off, see if you can carve out more time.  Invest in your joy.

2. Find your inner peace

Whatever your beliefs, take some time to cultivate your spiritual journey.  Attend a place of worship, read scripture or inspiring books, spend time studying nature, or practice yoga.  Connect with your inner voice and your god or goddess by taking time out from the physical to nurture your soul.

3. Surround yourself with joyful people

Connect with people who give you joy, those who build you up and make your heart sing.  Carefully distance yourself from those who bring you down with criticism or negativity.  Entrepreneur Jim Rohn famously said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."  Do your five bring you joy?

4. Be kind to yourself

Quit the negative talk.  Forgive yourself for the recent and the distant past.  Remind yourself that you did what you did with the information and the needs you had at the time.  You did what you did, you did your best, and let go.

5. Hug someone

Hug someone, every day.  More than one person if possible.  Hug your pet, your child, your partner, your parent, your sibling, your friend, hug away!  Oxytocin boosts all round.  Same goes for smiles, smile at strangers in the street and your neighbours and colleagues, chat to people at the bus stop, spread the joy - it's contagious!

6. Be kind to yourself, part 2

Evaluate what you have right now, compare it to what you need, and realise that it's OK.  No you don't have the latest iPhone/car/home cinema/designer wardrobe, but so what?  You have a roof over your head, you have food in your fridge, you have people who care about you.

Looking forward, change what you need to to make your life better, but not so that you can get the latest iPhone/car/home cinema/designer wardrobe.  Happiness is right here, right now, not in some arbitrary moment or purchase in the future.

7. Start a gratitude journal

Either literally or metaphorically, list three to five things you are grateful for every morning or evening.  You already have so much in your life that is great, take a few moments to think about what.  Listing it helps in two ways: you notice what you have, and secondly, you attract more of it because you begin to look for things that bring you joy and that you are grateful for.

8. Write down your dreams and life goals

Not in an Alpha, over-achieving way, unless you like that, but in a creative, inspiring way. A full and bountiful vegetable patch, to complete a quilt for your bed, to start writing a daily journal, to make your own Christmas cake, to run 5k, these are all dreams, and achievable. Write down what you want to achieve and then start thinking of baby steps towards your goal.  Try to achieve one tiny step every day. You'll be amazed at what you can do!

9. Perform random acts of kindness

A smile, a friendly hello, a compliment, hold the door open for someone, buy food for a homeless person, ask a friend or neighbour if they need help or something from the shops, bake for someone, point out someone's best qualities, buy coffee for the person behind you, offer change to the person who is short or struggling with counting coins, buy flowers for someone just because, send someone a card or letter, tell a manager about the great service in their shop, phone an old friend, paint rocks or leave notes with kind words in random places for strangers to find, the possibilities are endless.

Got 9 weeks to make some real changes to your life? Yeah you do! Start today, this week, and in just 9 weeks (2 months) life will be better and you will have more joy - we guarantee it! Enjoy your journey.

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