Happiness doesn’t come from doing more - psychologist

Weekend Life 21/07/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

A psychologist believes you can rewire your brain to lead a rich and rewarding life.

The key? Eliminate stress through mindfulness.

Clinical psychologist Dr Chantal Hofstee told RadioLIVE’s Carly Flynn that while everyone’s stresses are different, she has noticed some common themes in her research.

“Life is getting more and more busy, and it seems to be more and more relentless,” she explained.

We’re trying to be happier by doing more.

On top of today’s busy world, people feel the need to keep up with the rest of society in diet, their social lives, among other things. All the while studies show that people are getting less sleep.

“We’re trying to be happier by doing more. And in reality, what actually makes us happier is doing less and being more present with the things we choose to do.”

Dr Hofstee has drawn on her years of experience to compile tips and recommendations to combat such stress in her new book, Renew Your Mind. But the new author emphasises that not all tips work for everyone, which is why she provides a range of tools in the book.

One trick is to savour a moment each day, even if it’s just two minutes. Dr Hofstee starts her day off with a mindful cup of coffee, which she suggests helps set her brain up for mindfulness.

“When I have my coffee I’m not checking emails, I’m not checking my phone. I’m just present with that cup of coffee,” she told RadioLIVE.

She recommends connecting mindfulness with activities you already do to make it easier to stick to.

By reducing stress through mindfulness and other techniques, Dr Hofstee suggests people can achieve a ‘green brain’ state of mind. She describes ‘green brain’ as a state of reduced stress where the individual can enjoy full brain power, calmness, better connection with other, among other benefits.

Mindfulness, Dr Hofstee explains, can help reduce secondary stress that the brain creates on top of stressful situations. While some situations are certainly stressful, she explains that our brains will often unnecessarily add thoughts beyond what’s required.

Listen to the full interview with Chantal Hofstee above.

Weekend Life with Carly Flynn,10am - 2pm on Saturday and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.