To Be Happy: Connect

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Hawkes

Get the most out of social media

Only join in an online conversation if you have something of value to offer;

Read links before you share them;

Access social media when you can give it your full attention, not every second of the day;

Say something kind rather than something unkind;

Consider others before posting distressing photos, eg of animal cruelty;

Keep politics and religion out of it unless you are a political lobbyist or a minister of the church;

Enjoy the experience before you snap a photo and share it;

Be authentic.

IF YOU want to live a good life, one that will satisfy you, forget about buying things that you think will make you happy.

Instead, focus on connecting with others in a rewarding way, says social researcher and author Hugh Mackay in his new book, The Good Life.

Mackay argues that postcode, status, wealth and all the other accoutrements of material success will not result in long-term satisfaction.

Those who feel most fulfilled are the ones with the strongest community links, he says.

Volunteering at a hospital or retirement village, helping a neighbour who is sick or disadvantaged, taking part in a clean-up day or even a community market are all practical ways to raise your feel-good quota. Philosophy isnat enough, the rewards to your wellbeing are in the doing, says Mackay.

He also believes there are three particular disciplines that bring out the best in us and in those around us.

aThink of them as the three great therapies of everyday life: to listen attentively, to apologise sincerely and to forgive generously,a he says.

aNone of them requires exceptional skill, though each calls for some courage.

aIt we were to integrate them into our way of living many other manifestations of goodness would flow naturally from them.a

But there is a fourth one that can also make our lives better a make aem laugh.

aWhat type of email do we most commonly forward to our friends? …