Wellbeing Wednesday - 17th March 2021

Jane Fowler
Jane Fowler - Head of Customer Support Services

When a colleague mentioned to me several years ago that she had been to an event where the best speaker by far was a ‘Professor of Happiness’ I couldn’t believe it….  but it was true! And now that we are discussing wellbeing, emotions, mental health and overall happiness so much more than we did in the past, perhaps it doesn’t sound quite so surprising any more.

There is well documented research into how a positive mood can support us to reduce stress and anxiety and that the release of endorphins or the ‘feel good’ hormone gives us a physical rush and makes us feel great.

So this week to mark International Day of Happiness on Saturday, we are highlighting information and hopefully provoking you to think and change the way that you act to boost your happiness and improve your wellbeing.  And whenever you can – smile or laugh – it’s infectious!!! 

International Day of Happiness 20th March 2021

Get your happy on!

he International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March and was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012.

The theme for this year is:-

Keep Calm

There are lots of things outside our control. Let’s remember to breathe and focus on what really matters so we can respond constructively.

Stay Wise

Making wise choices helps everyone.  Let’s choose positive actions that support our wellbeing and help others to do the same.

Be Kind

We’re all in this together, even when we’re forced apart.  Let’s stay connected and reach out to help others who may be in need.

Action for happiness have a useful coping calendarWhy not try the daily challenge of picking 1 thing to improve your health and wellbeing….go on, what have you got to lose?

Coping calendar

The council’s EAP service Health Assured have a great webinar which covers the importance and benefits of being kind to ourselves.

Laughter and wellbeing

Laughter and its benefits on the body

Laughter is a direct side effect of happiness, so thank you to those of you who have sent sent us some interesting information to share on laughter and it’s postive effects on our wellbeing.

In these times where our face to face contact is limited, being able to laugh and share humour over the phone or video call is an important way to help maintain emotional connections when communicating.  The author of this article from The Wellbeing Project discusses the importance of laughter in human behaviour.

Laughter can make us better learners, help boost our memory and help lower stress as highlighted in this article from Stanford Medicine

As well as helping us to feel good emotionally, laughing can also help release muscle tension and counter act any aches and pains from hunching over a computer screen or being slumped in front of the TV.

 How funny your jokes are and whether they get a laugh or not however is up to you!

Jennie by Paul Gallico

Jennie by Paul Gallico

Book review by Julie Hallett

This week’s book review is a children’s book, which I first read as a child but have re-read recently after a dear friend of mine sent me a copy as a birthday present.  It is no secret that I am slightly obsessed with cats, especially Oriental varieties, and this is a lovely book for older children (recommended age 9+) and adults alike - especially if you like cats!

Paul Gallico is famous for his animal books and this story was first published in 1950.  It follows the story of a rather privileged little boy, Peter, who despite his perceived advantages, is very lonely and is desperate to have his own pet cat.  Following a freak traffic accident, Peter wakes up and finds that he has been transformed into the body of a small white cat!  However, Peter still thinks like a small boy and has to learn how to survive being alone on the streets of London, where he is lost and afraid and doesn’t have any idea how to “be” a cat.  Luckily he soon meets Jennie, a rather scruffy stray tabby cat who sets about teaching Peter all the essential street-cat skills such as hunting, finding a warm place to sleep and never to trust humans (based on her own experiences).  The two soon form a strong bond of friendship and have a number of adventures together, including a trip to Glasgow as stowaways on a steamer.

This could so easily be a sweet and lightweight little story about cats, but it is so much more than that.  At times funny and at others sad, the book explores issues around betrayal, loneliness and abandonment which can be quite upsetting, but the overriding message throughout is the importance of friendship, trust and love.  There is no doubt that Paul Gallico knew a thing or two about cats and his observations of feline behaviour are finely observed and very accurate.  He also writes very eloquently and descriptively, although the writing style may challenge some younger readers, it is definitely worth the effort. 

As you may be able to tell, I love this little book and it may be old but it is still a good read for adults and children alike.  Enjoy!

What are you reading at the moment?  We would love to hear your book recommendations and/or reviews to feature in future Wellbeing Wednesdays.  Please email them to wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk