A happiness boosting project organised by 'Netmums'
According to research, mothers are at their least happy stage in the first few years of bringing up their children. Increasingly more women are finding it difficult to juggle their working life along with bringing up their family. More and more mothers feel socially isolated, stressed, and overworked, and many do not receive adequate practical and emotional support. This is why 'Netmums', an online support group providing a wide range of information and advice for mothers around the country, launched their 'Making Mums Happy' project. Their aim was to improve the well-being of mums by teaching them how to be happy.
Over 1,000 mums took part in the project, which was designed by the team involved in the BBC2 programme 'Making Slough Happy'. Each participant was required to complete a 4-week programme of daily tasks based on scientifically grounded happiness principles.
The tasks included keeping a 'Happiness Diary', where participants were encouraged to reflect on positive aspects of their life and write them down at the end of each day. These tasks involved thinking more positively about personal issues, such as, '10 things you like about yourself', '10 good things in your life' (e.g. people, health, work, food, sport), '10 people you are thankful to have in your life and why', '6 wonderful things about each of your children'. The daily diary tasks also required participants to 'count their blessings' about broader issues, such as, '10 reasons to be grateful for our abundance of water', '10 good things about the weather', '10 things that are great about living in the UK', and '10 things in your house/life that a mum in rural India would consider as the wealth of kings'.
Other consistent daily tasks aimed at increasing happiness levels involved saying hello to a stranger, talking to a friend or doing someone else a good turn. Mothers were also encouraged to do more exercise, watch less television and spend quality time with their partner.
The programme also instructed participants to try to have a good laugh every day, as scientific research has shown that laughing has many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress hormones, boosting the immune system, and producing a general sense of well-being.
Participants' levels of happiness were scored before the experiment and on a scale of 1 to 100, the average score was 52. However, the average score increased by over 10% to 64 after following the happiness principles for a period of 4 weeks. The findings of this project demonstrate that, by making small changes to our everyday lifestyle and by thinking more positively about life in general, we can all help ourselves feel happier.
For full details of the programme, which is simple and easy to follow, go to: