“Happiness HELPS… to liven up our lives and prevent mental illness. Happiness can be created by doing. Helping others, exercising, learning something new, playing and spiritual growth are activities that create happiness”.
– Dr Jerrie Bezuidenhout, Psychiatrist
Over the years positive psychology has placed strong emphasis on how positive affect can improve health. This prompted Vista Clinic to develop the Happiness HELPS campaign as a means of improving positive affect in patients. The aim of the campaign is to promote mental health and to reduce the symptoms of depression. The Happiness HELPS concept consists of a set of practical actions that can be carried out on a daily basis in order to combat the negative emotional affects of depression and anxiety.
The acronym “HELPS” provides an easy-to-follow guide which can be used by everyone to promote and maintain their mental health.
HELPS stands for:
Help others e.g do random acts of kindness for others
Exercise e.g take the stairs instead of the lift
Learn e.g Learn to say hello in a different language
Play e.g sign aloud along with the music
Spiritual growth e.g. read your bible, pray
It’s often said that it’s better to give than to receive. It’s no secret that doing something nice for others makes you feel better about yourself and the world. In healing others, you heal yourself.
After helping others we moved over to the more active side of the campaign. However, this may not mean what you think it does. Many believe exercise is only a physical thing, but it is not. Physical exercise is important, but we also need to exercise other aspects of our lives, such as using less technology. Instead of sending an SMS or e-mail, rather communicate face-to-face.
Learning something new every day is important, as it keeps the brain active. A positively engaged mind promotes a positive mood. Engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as Sudoku or word puzzles.
This particular theme proved to be more of a challenge than we anticipated. After all, how do we play at work? We have to make time to play and to have fun in order to live balanced lives. Incorporate playful aspects into your everyday activities, such as using your waste bin as a basketball net, or arranging your drawing pins in a fun pattern. Whatever you choose to do, just remember the famous words of George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Human beings have an inherently spiritual element within them which needs to be nurtured in order to achieve optimal mental health.