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The Eight Secrets of Happiness

A group of the Savvy Team had the opportunity to hear Dr Michael Carr-Gregg recently, one of Australia’s leading psychologists. Dr Michael’s presentation was titled, ‘How to be happy – the latest lessons from Positive Psychology.’

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s highest profile psychologists. He works in private practice in Melbourne and is a columnist for Girlfriend Magazine and Australian Doctor. He specialises in the area of parenting adolescents and adolescent mental health.

Dr Carr-Gregg explained the outcomes of research in the area of Positive Psychology over the last decade, which has identified the key factors to authentic happiness, which can be described as an ‘engaged, meaningful and pleasurable life.’ He asked the audience to ‘figure out what your strengths are and to use those strengths in your life.’  He suggested that we should focus on what is going well, rather than what is not. He indicated that this does not mean you should ignore the negatives; rather recognise what you have and focus on the positives if you want to live a happier and healthier life.

Here’s a Summary of Dr Michael’s 8 Secrets of Happiness . . .

1. Be thankful. Thank a mentor – write a 300 word letter to someone who has made a positive impact on your life – and read it to them aloud.
2. Express Gratitude. Count your blessings – write down three things that you are grateful for every day
3. Perform random acts of kindness – if you want to feel good, do good.
4. Savour life’s joys – take time to stop and notice good, pleasurable moments or things.
5. Invest time and energy in family and friends – have two good sets of friends in your life.
6. Develop strategies to cope with stress and hardships – positive self talk, be flexible in your thinking.
7. Take care of your body and health – be active, sleep, relax, exercise, stretch, smile, laugh. Important: students especially need between 8.25 and 9.25 hours of sleep per night.
8. Learn to forgive – write a letter to someone who has wronged you, this will help you release the negative emotion – but you don’t have to send it!

During the presentation, Dr Carr-Gregg recommended several books, including works by Dr Martin Seligman such as ‘Flourish’ and Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book ‘The How of Happiness’.

He also suggested the audience should consider visiting the following websites:

www.authentichappiness.com – do the Brief Strengths Test to find out your character strengths

www.happyrambles.com – sign up to create and maintain a gratitude journal for life

www.actionforhappiness.org – a movement for social change

Following him posing some thought-provoking questions, the appreciative audience were left with an inspirational take-home message that they can take steps to live a happy life with some very practical strategies for how to do it! Author of at least six books, his message is an inspiration to all ages. You can check out his books here.

Two great books by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg – ‘When to Really Worry’, “Surviving Adolescents: The Must-Have Manual For All Parents”

1: “When to Really Worry: Mental health problems in teenagers and what to do about them”

In this insightful book, one of Australia’s leading authorities on adolescent mental health, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, offers practical information on the symptoms, causes and treatment for everything from ADHD and eating disorders to anxiety and depression. Michael also includes tips on:

  • detecting early warning signs
  • encouraging your teenager to visit a doctor
  • finding a youth-friendly GP, counsellor or therapist . navigating the public mental health system

When does normal teenage behaviour become something you really need to worry about? When to Really Worry by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg will help you find out. When to Really Worry is an essential reference for parents, teachers, coaches or anyone who works with young people.

2: “Surviving Adolescents: The Must-Have Manual For All Parents”

Young people today enter puberty earlier than ever before and leave home later. The good news is that teenagers aren’t impossible to live with, especially if parents adopt the common-sense strategies set out in this book.Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s leading authorities on teenage behaviour. Surviving Adolescents is a clear and very down-to-earth manual, drawing on his wealth of experience and wisdom. It has advice on all the thorny issues that confront families with teenagers – sexuality, risky behaviours, laziness, school and study problems, and much more. And it is full of practical tips for everyday survival, including: – communicating effectively with young people- defusing family conflict- setting limits- keeping the stress of parenting at bay- avoiding common mistakes like fighting over things that don’t matter. Surviving Adolescents is the sensible, sanity-saving guide every household needs.

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