How to feel happier in just 5 minutes

The GP, author and broadcaster says that our extensive plans to get healthy rely too heavily on motivational willpower. ‘Motivation and willpower are finite resources – they will eventually run out,’ he explains. ‘The way you transform your health and wellbeing for good is by making small, simple changes.’ ‘I’m not talking about the organ that pumps blood around the body,’ he explains. Dr Chatterjee says this ‘360 approach’ – targeting several key areas all at once – can address many different health issues, from digestion problems, to weight gain, to anxiety and insomnia, and physical pain like headaches and back-ache. ‘Perhaps you’re feeling stressed or have low self-esteem, so if you target mind, body and heart, the rest will follow.’ But can five minutes really make a difference? You’d have less energy, the shape of your body would change, and you might experience the first symptoms of more serious problems. For example, you could keep small dumbbells by your kettle to remind you to do a quick workout before having a cup of tea. This will help clear your mind of all that mental clutter, so you can focus on what’s important. If you struggle switching off with meditation, you’ll be pleased to know you can reap the same rewards from doing something creative. Spend five minutes each day absorbing yourself – or getting into the ‘flow’ – of a pleasurable task, like reading, colouring or doing jigsaw puzzles. Skipping is one of the best ways to work out in a short period of time, and helps with agility, balance and coordination as well as cardiorespiratory fitness. Get yourself a skipping rope and start simple, then add in some more complex movements like criss-crossing arms, high knees and jumping jacks. Gratitude helps you focus your attention on the positive things that happen every day. When you sit down for dinner, ask everyone in your family the following questions: What have you done today to make someone else happy? WHEN: In the evening or during your lunch break at home with your partner or family member. MAKE IT STICK: Keep your favourite tea and biscuits in a special ‘tea ritual’ tin.