because….life is too short not to be happy
(The Happiness Institute)

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Protecting and restoring our rivers requires committed, skilled and caring people.  At the ARRC we know that across Australia there are people who are passionate about rivers and the communities, ecological and social, that are connected to our precious waterways.  Positive psychology is a discipline that focuses on what makes people feel happy – it is based on the premise that we have spent decades focusing on what makes people sad, but relatively little time on the factors that enable people to thrive and flourish in their lives.

We know that many people working in river management feel stressed and often overwhelmed at the tasks that confront them.  It is for this reason that the ARRC is following the work of  Dr Timothy Sharp’s Happiness Institute, to tailor positive psychology ideas, techniques and approaches for those of us working in river and natural resources management.

We start with the idea that we can C.H.O.O.S.E. Happiness by thinking about, and using Dr Sharp’s six strategies:

C – Clarity (of goals, direction and life purpose)  Happy people set clear goals and determine clear and specific plans to ensure these goals bcome reality.

H – Healthy Living (activity, exercise, diet, nutrition, sleep) Health forms a crucial part of the foundation of happiness – it’s hard to be happy when you are literally sick and tired all the time.

O – Optimism (positive but realistic thinking) Happy people search for more positives in their life, and the good news is that even if this does not come naturally to you, you can learn through practice how to make it a part of your daily routine.

O – Others (the key relationships in your life)  Research strongly indicates that happy people have both more, and better quality relationships, in their personal and professional lives.

S – Strengths (your core qualities and attributes) Rather than trying to ‘fix’ their weaknesses, happy people spend more time identifying and using their strengths.

E – Enjoy the moment (live in and appreciate the present)  The past is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, and today is a gift – that is why they call it the present.  Live in this moment and enjoy life more.

These six strategies can help you start to think about how to be happier in the work you do – give them a go for a week or so and see how you feel, we suspect you will feel happier and more optimistic.

We can work with you to develop these strategies in your workplace, and to assist those you work with to apply these ideas in their day to day work.  Contact Siwan if you are interested in finding more about positive psychology and natural resources management, or go and have a look at The Happiness Institute to access resources, ideas and newsletters focusing on these topics.

Books:

The Happiness Handbook – Dr Timothy Sharp

Authentic Happiness – Dr Martin Seligman

A Primer of Positive Psychology – Dr Christopher Peterson

The How of Happiness – Sonja Lyubomirsky