Top 20 ways to be happy

By Dr Mo Zoha, expert in Happiness at London’s Nightingale Hospital

  1. Realise money doesn’t buy you happiness. It has been found that as long as you have enough money to pay for necessities and live comfortably, anything above that does not necessarily equate to more happiness.
  2. Spend money on experiences, not objects. Objects and possessions do not necessarily make us happier, but spending time with family and friends does.
  3. Enjoy the moment. Older people tend to be happier, perhaps because they are better at living in the present.
  4. Work. This provides routine, structure and self-worth and find a job you enjoy.
  5. Be independent. Personal control makes you happier, especially with regards to work: there is better life satisfaction for those earning less but in control of their working practice than those who are richer but have less control.
  6. Maintain close relationships. Healthy, strong, close relationships make you happy. Putting more effort into spending time with friends, family and loved-ones is an important part of happiness.
  7. Live near to friends and family. Those who live closer to friends, family and loved ones get to spend more time with those they are closest too, and this therefore makes them happier.
  8. Meet new people. Make new friends where you live, for instance by talking to your neighbours more or joining sports clubs.
  9. Take part in group activities. Sports, singing, playing music and dancing are all group activities that can boost your happiness as well as helping you to meet new people and make new friends.
  10. Focus on your strengths. Identify and develop your strengths, either in work or as a hobby. This will encourage you to become more immersed in what you do and give you a greater sense of self-worth.
  11. Challenge yourself. Challenging yourself is rewarding, helping you to develop your strengths and find new skills.
  12. Altruism. Finding local charities, community projects and organisations or various other causes to donate your time to can help make you happier, connecting you to the world around you… And you might even make new friends.
  13. Kindness.Set yourself a weekly target for random acts of kindness towards friends, family, neighbours, or even strangers. This will further increase your connection to the outside world.
  14. Focus on the positives. Being attentive and focusing on positive tasks helps us enjoy the moment.
  15. Keep a diary. Write down at least five positive things each day or five things you are grateful for. This can help retrain your mind to focus on good things, rather than negatives.
  16. Meditate. This is proven to help with positive mental health.
  17. Say “thank you”. Expressing gratitude is the single most effective exercise in positive psychology. Even saying thank you to small gestures and acts will help with this.
  18. Positive memories. It is possible to focus only on particular aspects of a memory to notice the positives more than the negatives. Those who remember bad events in a more positive light are happier. For example, a happy person would reinterpret an event involving rejection more positively, preserving their self-esteem.
  19. Don’t exaggerate the negatives. Sometimes bad things do happen, but exaggerating how bad something or someone is only makes you feel worse about it.
  20. Use technology less. This will give you more time to carry out activities which engage with the world around you.

Photocredit “My Grandfather Photo from January 17” by Diego Grez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



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