Happiness al fresco

Posted on October 7, 2011

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I’ve spent this afternoon doing research for a magazine feature on the Science of Happiness.  It’s a massive subject and hugely fascinating so needless to say, I keep getting side-tracked.  There are tools and techniques, tips galore, suggestions and more … and whilst countless research studies over the years have produced substantial evidence that happiness is not fancy fluff, sometimes it is the simplest of things that bring us most happiness.

One such tip I read this afternoon is to simply GO OUTSIDE, a pleasure that crossed my mind this morning as I enjoyed a run up to Atlantis in the cool October sunshine.

Light deprivation is one reason that people often feel tired and lacklustre. Light stimulates brain chemicals that improve moods and increase motivation. It improves our concentration and increases our immune system.

Yet sadly, many people spend their day going from their front door, to the car door, to the office door or the mall entrance, and then do it all again in reverse.

Spending time outside gives us a feeling of freedom, of connecting with the seasons, of breathing fresh air and of not being so trapped by a schedule that we can’t be out in the world. And if we use our time outside for a brisk walk, a run or a good training session, we get double the benefits.

The weather is finally cooling here in Dubai and our sweltering summer temperatures will soon be long behind us.  Perfect opportunity then to make sure you max your time outside. Ditch the car and walk to the shops instead, meet your girlfriends for a coffee and cake round the corner so you can wander down on foot, walk to work if you can or take off at the weekend for a hike or a bike in the incredible desert dunes that surround us.

Statistics say we spend over 90% of our time inside. Bar the summer swelter, let’s strive to reduce this number.  It’s energising and boosts your physical and mental health. 

And …  back to my original point.  It makes us happy!  Chicken soup for the soul that simply can’t be replicated indoors.

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