Could approaching your day like your own personal Olympics be the key to happiness?
That’s what Dr Andy Cope and Professor Paul McGee suggest on this week’s episode of Metro.co.uk’s mental health podcast, Mentally Yours.
Don’t panic – they’re not expecting physical excellence. You don’t need to do a load of training.
Instead, says Andy, it’s time to view your days as each having ten events – and question whether you’re going for gold.
‘None of the events require any skill or talent,’ Andy explains. ‘These are your 10 events that you take part in every day.
‘Event number one: working hard. Number two: smiling. Then having good manners, being passionate about life, expressing gratitude, encouraging others, having a positive attitude, being kind, showing up on time, and looking after your physical health.’
This might sound too simple, but that’s kind of the point.
In their new book, The Happiness Revolution: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life, Andy and Paul aren’t saying anything complicated – but they’re setting out to provide some answers to one of the big questions of our time: How do we become happier?
We invited the duo on to Mentally Yours to chat through the main takeaways from the book, break down whether these lessons still apply if you have a mental illness, and explain why so many of us struggle to grab happiness.
These are issues we’ve long faced, but Andy and Paul believe that now is the perfect time for a revolution.
‘The world has been knocked for six… thousand,’ Andy notes. ‘In the last 15 months, a global pandemic hasn’t helped.
‘But if you go back before then., mental health was already fairly wobby. We weren’t in a particularly brilliant place, mental health wise.
‘You could argue that even before the pandemic, there was an epidemic of unhappiness.
‘The modern world is relentless, it’s full-on, it’s unforgiving. But it’s when the world is doing it’s worst, which the world is, that it becomes even more important that we understand how we can learn to be at our best.’
‘Life, more so now than ever, is volatile, uncertain, and complex,’ agrees Paul. ‘We can look at our external world and think well, that’s not going so well, so therefore I can’t be happy.
‘But what Andy and I are trying to do is help equip the reader, and say okay, so the external is out of your control, but how about working on the internal stuff, that’s more in your control?
‘We’re told you need more, you need to look better, need to be more popular, have more followers, more likes, more experiences, more toys – it’s like the law of more, and we’re told if you don’t get that, you won’t be happy.
‘We consume stuff in order to try and fill this hole within us. But before you know it, the hole expands again. We’re looking for an external solution to an internal problem.’
The good news is we’re not all doomed to keep repeating these patterns. Andy and Paul reckon that just following their 10 manifesto pledges could save us all.
Andy and Paul’s manifesto:
To understand each point on the list and answer all your big questions about happiness, give Paul and Andy’s book, The Happiness Revolution: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life, a read. It’s out now.
You can listen to Mentally Yours on Spotify, Audioboom, and Apple Podcasts.
To chat about mental health in an open, non-judgmental space, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.
Follow us on Twitter at @MentallyYrs.
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