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This Thursday is not only the start of spring, it’s also International Day of Happiness. But what does it mean to be happy? And if you're a Londoner feeling a bit sad, what can you do to help yourself?

There’s no doubt about it - happy is a much-used word. You’ve probably used it several times already today; I’m not happy about this, I’m not happy about that.

But in our ever-busier lives, many of us have lost touch with what happiness means to us, as we find ourselves doing more things we don't like than we do; sleepwalking from one thing to the next and not making time for the things we feel really passionate about, and really enjoy doing.

Somehow these seem to easily slip off our agenda - despite the fact that these are the very things that contribute most to our happiness. Want to give your happiness levels a reboot? Try these suggestions on for size...

Take some time out in London’s parks and green space:

Londoners are spoiled for choice when it comes to green space we can tap into and benefit from every day. Check out an A to Z and you’ll probably find there’s a park or garden a short walk from your office – giving all of us the opportunity to spend at the very least 15 minutes a few times a week away from screens and devices to switch off, unwind and think more clearly.

I live and work in London and over the years, I have explored many of the Capital's green spaces. Victoria Park (E9), Regent's Park (NW1), Green Park (SW1), Gordon Square (W1)  – to name just four; are very different spaces, all different in energy, appearance and size but with this in common: they are all fabulous green spaces and like all green spaces, they are wonderfully good for our wellbeing.

An exercise for getting the most out of your 'green space' moment:

Take a walk on your own, ideally in a green space. Slow down your pace. Take a few deep breaths. Start by naming four things you can see, four things you can hear and four things you can feel (physical sensations like the sun warming your face); then go on to name three of each, then two of each and then one. Try to identify different things for each of the four stages.

This will heighten your experience in nature and help to ground you in the present moment. Give it a go and see how you feel at the end.

Karen Liebenguth from Green Space Life Coaching offers life coaching while walking in London’s parks and green space. For a free 30 minute taster session, email karen@greenspacecoaching.com

London Gardens Online provides information on over 2,500 parks, gardens, squares, churchyards, cemeteries and other sites of historic interest across the whole of London.

Image credit: Thinkstock


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A guide to staying happy in the capital
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