A LOCAL charity is launching a Help Yourself To Happiness day to help blow away the winter blues.

Ilkley Good Neighbours Shop Assist Scheme is hosting the free drop-in event for people to find out how helping others as a volunteer can help improve their own happiness. Visitors will also have the chance to test different ways to boost their mood and tackle stress.

“Our Help Yourself To Happiness event will hopefully give visitors a chance to explore this idea and find out more about how we can help others and ourselves,” said ShopAssist volunteer recruiter Jessica Jeffrey.

“With modern society 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 do 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.

“With our Shop Assist Scheme one of the special things about becoming a weekly volunteer is that it gives you the chance to connect with someone regularly. It’s not just a one-off event where you might have fun, you get thanked, but then it’s over; instead you get the chance to build that relationship over time and see first-hand the way you can improve the quality of someone’s life.

“There is positive scientific evidence that shows that on a chemical level connecting with someone in this way gives us a ‘helper’s high’. Opiates, serotonin and dopamine flows through our brain and body, helping lift our mood making us feel more positive and optimistic. Add to this the ‘giving something back’ factor which means that you are helping to build a kinder, happier community for those you love to live amongst.”

The event also features: five-minute guided meditation sessions; uplifting classical music; a lightbox; a gratitude tree for visitors to attach a note to, detailing something they feel grateful for that day; adult colouring books (studies have indicated that tools such as these can help with getting into a creative ‘flow’, leading to a reduction in stress levels).

The event is open to visitors of all ages and backgrounds and takes place on Tuesday, January 21 from 11am to 3pm in the Lower Hall, Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley. For more information contact Jessica on email: volunteer@goodneighboursilkley.org.uk , call 07309 730241 or visit www.goodneighboursilkley.org.uk