Skychology is the easiest, simplest wellbeing trend to start today (and it's free)

look up autumn sky wellbeing skychology
Skychology: The easiest, simplest wellbeing trendWang Yukun - Getty Images

Sometimes, it's the simplest things that can have the biggest benefit on your wellbeing. Taking time to slow down, live in the moment, notice your surroundings and, most of all, appreciate them is one of the easiest ways to practice mindfulness.

Doing this doesn't cost us anything, nor does it involve technology but, often, making time or space for these simple things is easier said than done. And, after a turbulent few years and the current cost of living crisis, many people will be looking for affordable alternatives to mindfulness classes or subscriptions, which can be costly.

Introducing "skychology" – the simple act of looking upwards, towards the sky. It has been found to have a positive effect on our wellbeing.

The practice of skychology was coined by Paul Conway, coaching psychologist and founder of the organisation, Successful Humans.

The school of thought is based on 'positive psychology' – the scientific study of what makes life worth living which came to fruition in the late nineties. Also known as 'the science of happiness', it looks at the "strengths, capacities and potentials we already possess, and how we can use these to enhance the quality of our lives," Paul told The Metro.

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images

Paul explains on his website that character strengths – humour, humility, social intelligence, honesty and kindness – are the cornerstones of positive psychology. It's aim is to "develop a more optimistic attitude that will enhance, rather than disrupt one’s social, professional, and spiritual life," according to Psychology Today.

Paul began looking further into the practice of skychology during his masters degree, after finding it was a form of escape. It helped him to "feel better" as a child, as he grew up surrounded by alcohol, gambling and drug addiction.

Paul has led a study looking into the benefits of skychology, where the results found looking up at the sky was:

  • Immediately calming

  • Contributes to the experience of wellbeing

  • Appears to be a highly effective form of emotional self-regulation

  • Appears to enhance mindfulness and feeling present in the moment, experienced as feeling a greater sense of clarity and perspective

  • Promotes a greater sense of connectedness and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves

  • Appears to be an everyday window to the experience of "awe" – a complex emotion positively associated with wellbeing, perspective-taking, humility, creativity, prosocial behaviour, reduced inflammatory response and enhanced immune system health (Stellar, et al, 2015)

  • Appears to negate the effects of "hedonic adaptation" (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013). Positive activities lose effectiveness over time, as we become used to them. However, looking at the sky, it seems, never gets old – suggesting we can experience its wellbeing benefits at any time, throughout our lives

Paul also found the practice encouraged a sense of awe, due to the huge, incomprehensible expanse of the sky that appears never-ending. This emotion has both positive and more negative connotations, such as fear, but Paul told The Metro that "studies have identified links between awe experiences, reduced stress with an enhanced overall life satisfaction".

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed or in need of a simple calming break, don't forget to look up at the sky.

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