I went to my first School of Life event the other week and it was all about the power of “Letting Go”. Quite honestly, I had no idea what that really meant going into the evening, and exactly what topics were going to be covered on, but I walked away with such a great reminder about this endless pursuit for happiness that human beings seem to continue to aspire to. The session had 3 great speakers, all with very different topics, yet with the same message around the value of letting go.

Letting go of the “Wellmania” pressure that we put on ourselves and our ridiculous detoxes, diets or retreats that we pay for all in the quest to feel “well”. Letting go of anxiety and pressure that we put on ourselves to do and be and look a certain way, or to have achieved x and y and z by a certain stage in our lives. And finally, letting go of this insane pursuit of constant happiness – and thinking that the only way you can live a good life is by always being happy! If you are ALWAYS happy, you haven’t really lived a life!!! As Hugh Mackay said in his presentation, the most beautiful part of being a human is that you can feel every emotion that life has to offer, and how do you really know what happiness actually feels like if you’ve never experienced anything else.

Why do we try so hard to always be happy? How do we really know what happy is, let alone appreciate it? Where does fulfillment come from, if it isn’t setting and achieving our personal goals? The wellness industry has become a multi-trillion-dollar industry all based on the premise that we need to pay to feel good!

I am calling bullsh*t on that, and here are 10 things that will make you feel well and happy that are FREE!!!

  • Take a nap – sleep should not be overrated as something that can be good for both your wellness and your overall happiness! AND, its free!
  • Water – we live in a lucky country where for the most part we can drink water from the tap from wherever we are and it is FREE and good for both your body and your mind.
  • Snuggle with your dog (or someone else’s!) – research shows that pets, and in particular dogs, can have a positive impact on the happiness of individuals as well as connecting people! Get out to the park and go and play with all the dogs immediately ?
  • Spend time with family or friends – this doesn’t cost a thing and is good for the soul. Human beings ultimately crave connection, so what better way to get that than spending time with your loved ones.
  • Light a scented candle – Ok fine, sure this one is not exactly free because you need to buy the candle, but the power of a scented candle is both calming and a good way to get you to slow down and take some deep breaths.
  • Get outside and get some fresh air – the difference that a walk in the park or a walk along the beach can have to the mind is astounding. A nice relaxing walk allows you to unwind and decompartmentalise from your day. Getting out with nature always leaves you feeling a bit more centred and appreciative for the beautiful world we live in.
  • De-clutter something – Clean out an old sock draw, your bathroom cabinet or your shoe closet (too far??!) – the feeling of decluttering and getting that closure when you see a part of your house organised with everything in its place is a great feeling for your happiness.
  • Go and explore somewhere you haven’t been before - The human mind is curious and it ignites when it is somewhere that it doesn’t recognise. So, get out of your suburb, head somewhere new and explore.
  • Pay it forward – partake in a random act of kindness and you will instantly feel happy. Whether it be holding the lift for someone, giving them your unfinished parking ticket, donating something – it is what makes the world a fabulous place.
  • Think about what you have and what you are grateful for -a woman I work with mentioned to me the other day that the hardest thing she found about coming back from holiday (bar the post-holiday depression), was the reminder about just how lucky we are compared to others in the world, and almost the guilt that goes with that. So, take the time, and reflect on what you have in your life – good friends, family, a healthy body and the ability for most of us to have a choice on how we live our lives. Also, FREE!

I am not saying don’t go to the retreat, or don’t enjoy the juice cleanse, but it is important that we get a bit real in what these wellness and happiness strategies will really do for us in the long run.  Invest the money focusing on your goals, your friends and family, or your career growth. Meeting and achieving YOUR personal goals so that they are sustainable in the long run will make you far happier than a short-term injection of “happiness” will.

If you haven’t heard of The School of Life either you should totally check it out – they have some awesome topics and events on that you can really learn a lot from. Click here to learn more.