Help Yourself to Happiness drop-in event
The ShopAssist scheme, part of Ilkley Good Neighbours, will be hosting a drop-in event to bring some welcome cheer to the bleak month of January, whilst offering the chance to find out more about becoming a volunteer. The ShopAssist scheme offers social and practical support to older Ilkley residents through its team of volunteers, who assist clients with their weekly grocery shop.
The Help Yourself to Happiness event will promote the idea that volunteering is proven to be one of the best things we can do for our own mental well-being and happiness. Many scientific studies have shown that doing a kind act - such as volunteering - is not only good for our health, but also has an interesting side effect: it makes us happier.
In 2008 the ‘Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project’ was published by the UK Government Office for Science. After collecting data from a wide range of disciplines relating to mental health and collating them, it concluded that one of the ‘5 ways to mental wellbeing’ was to ‘Give’. The report stated:
‘Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.’
The Help Yourself to Happiness event will give visitors a chance to explore this idea and find out more about how we can help ourselves.
ShopAssist Volunteer Recruiter, Jessica Jeffrey said:
“With modern society feeling busier than ever, our time is perhaps the most precious thing we have - so it's vital that we choose carefully what to spend it on. Volunteering could be one of the wisest things you could for your own well-being. Many people, myself included, have found that helping others is an incredibly powerful way of increasing your own happiness levels.
On a chemical level, there is scientific evidence that shows that connecting with someone in this way gives us a ‘helpers high’. Opiates, serotonin and dopamine flows through our brain and body, helping lift our mood and make us feel more positive and optimistic.”
In addition to volunteering, there are many other science-based techniques that people can do to boost their mood and help tackle stress. The drop-in event will give visitors the chance to sample some of these, offering a number of activities to give a 5 minute ‘boost’ of happiness.
These will include:
A CD player with headphones playing up-lifting classical music (studies have shown that specific pieces of music can increase dopamine levels in the brain).
A lightbox (said to mimic day-light, and brighten your day during the dark winter months).
A gratitude tree for visitors to attach a note to, detailing something they feel grateful for that day (expressing gratitude is said to be extremely health-giving and a popular practice in positive psychology).
Adult meditative colouring books (studies have shown that tools such as these can help with getting into a creative ‘flow’, leading to a reduction in stress levels).
Mindful Mediation teacher, Suzanne Shaw will be giving 5-minute guided meditation sessions (a technique used in order to achieve a sense of ease and joy within the body). Suzanne is a Learning and Development Consultant with a passion for helping individuals and teams be the best they can be, with a specific interest in boosting wellbeing and increasing resilience.
The event is open to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It will take place on Tuesday 21st January 11am to 3pm in the Lower Hall, Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley. Access is through the main steps leading into Christchurch and the Christchurch café (directly opposite Crew Clothing) and the lower hall is the first door on the left.