Are you feeling anxious today?

Awe. Surprise. Joy. These are the emotions that are like oil to our wheels, yet other emotions shouldn’t be avoided or disappoint when they arrive – we simply need to learn how to ride the wave a little better with a considered response and interpretation. Recently, I nailed a quick fix for an occasional emotion that I suffer from, that may help you too.

It’s starts with a knot in my stomach and then a tingling of the skin shortly follows. My head may feel slightly foggy and disorientation, forgetfulness and unease takes over. I’m talking about how anxiety can consume me and it’s usually due to social or workplace trigger where the fear can set in and not leave for the rest of the day.

Despite what we see reported on the news, we actually live in a world where less people are starving, more people are educated and healthy than ever before. Yet those of us in the western world, are experiencing an increase in levels of unease and mental health issues. In the 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey, 1 in 6 New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives (including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder) and that is only those diagnosed!

I started Happylocal as an experiment to see if engaging in regular local experiences that ranged from workshops, festivals or micro-volunteering would help improve people’s wellbeing and community connection. And so far it’s going pretty good. The community has been letting me know that they appreciate having one source for what’s on in the region, leading to more opportunities to meet new people and participate in fun activities. But does this work well when you’re having an off day?

In the depths of a recent anxiety-laden manifestation, I must admit that the last thing I wanted to do was get out there and socialise with strangers at an event I had signed up for. I questioned “is the approach then failing those who really aren’t feeling their best at times?” That’s when it came to me, put into practice what you’ve been preaching – “do some good in your hood”.

Doing good can be a selfish act. Yes you read right, selfish. But it isn’t bad by any means, rather that there is something in it for you too. By doing something for others; feeling useful or creating a situation where you are needed or appreciated – this makes YOU feel happier, as well as of course doing something thoughtful for another. So on this particular day, I acknowledged a job I’d been meaning to do for about a week, which was to bake a cake for my wonderful son’s teachers. To me, this could be a viable option to escape my pity-party, fingers crossed for some success! And guess what? It did. The look on their faces when a warm banana cake came in just on 3pm to have with their afternoon tea…priceless. A win-win for all involved; my anxious mood got kicked to the kerb making way for a social evening ahead and people had some deliciousness in their tummies.

Perhaps you’d like to try doing some micro-volunteering featured on our app or try a random act of kindness next time you feel a rocky road coming your way, it would be great to hear how you get on so send us a message or comment below!