Psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton has revealed his 10 secrets to happiness, learnt from his many patients over the course of a long career in the NHS.
Life can get really complicated, and there are some days when just feeling happy can seem like an enormous effort. However, there are a few things you can do which can make all the difference.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Dr Max has put together a list of simple tricks to help people boost their personal happiness levels, by making positive and do-able changes in their day-to-day lives.
Make your happiness and personal growth a priority in your life. The more you take care of yourself, the more you can take care of others.
— Learning (@FactsGulde) August 19, 2017
1. Worry less. Dr Max recalls an anxious patient who would write a list of things she worried about, although none of these concerns ever came to pass. He suggests others to make a similar list, advising them to, ‘revisit this list a month or even a year later. I promise you the vast majority will have come to nothing’.
2. Realise what’s really bothering you. Dr Max recalls a woman who was very angry about her husband for not washing up, however it quickly became apparent this gripe was merely symbolic for a much graver concern: her husband lacked interest in her. Figuring out why the little things are bothering you is clearly important when identifying and working through the big issues.
3. Treat yourself with kindness. Dr Max notes how his patients often judge themselves much more harshly than they would judge others. He advises readers, ‘if you wouldn’t say it to someone you love, then you shouldn’t say it to yourself’. Wise words.
Good days give us happiness Bad days give us experiences.
— Inspire (@inspirestagram) August 19, 2017
4. Make sure to be kind to others too. Dr Max asks readers to always consider what other people might be dealing with in their own lives, making sure to always give them the ‘benefit of the doubt’.
5. Your job can make you unhappy. Dr Max asks people to take a step back from their day job to consider whether the positives outweigh the negatives. He recommends seeking careers advice if you feel your job is causing you mental distress.
6. Don’t try to change others. Dr Max advises against trying to alter the behaviours of those around you. Instead, he stresses the need to accept people as they are, adapting accordingly or else keeping a distance from them if necessary.
— Positive Quotes (@livepositive11) August 19, 2017
7. You shouldn’t pretend you are feeling fine if this is not the case. Dr Max encourages people to, ‘try hard to articulate what you’re actually thinking or feeling — and listen in return’.
8. Learn to say ‘no’, politely but firmly. Dr Max explains how people often find themselves in unhappy situations out of fear of saying no, or appearing impolite. According to Dr Max, ‘Learning to use this word in a polite but firm way is one of the greatest tools for ensuring happiness’.
Happiness will never come to those who don't appreciate what they already have.
— Jb Cruz (@johnbrylecruz) August 19, 2017
9. Remember to talk to people. Dr Max believes everyone would benefit from a couple of sessions of psychotherapy, which would help them to ‘share the load’.
10. Remember to tell people you love them. Dr Max believes love is, ‘the one thing that drives us, that motivates so much of what we do, that underlies our deepest fears and anxieties, is the need to be loved’. However, all too often we go through life without letting people know how much we care about them, only to regret this neglect on our deathbeds.
What are your secrets for a happy life?
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.