Happiness: 7 easy things that could make you happier

by Simon Henry @simlington

The things on this list require no equipment, no expenditure and very little time.

Why not try one of them and see if you feel a bit happier?

I won’t bore you with any definitions of ‘happiness’ – definitions won’t make you happy.

Simple ways to be happier

1. Write a short list of things that make you happy and then try to do one of them.

Some things on my list are at the end. They include: ‘Cutting my toe nails so I stop making holes in my socks.’

So the good news is that mundane things can make us happy.

We really don’t have to try that hard. Just try a little bit, that’s all.

2. Look at something in the natural world. Clouds are good. Or – if you get a stiff neck looking up – leaves are good too.

So are slugs and birds.

Frogs can improve any day. They're just green and springy. What's not to love?

Frogs can improve any day. They’re just green and springy. What’s not to love?

And if you see a frog, it may just make your day.

3. Do something kind or give something away. Giving blood makes you feel wonderful – honestly – and you get unlimited free chocolate biscuits afterwards.

If this sounds a bit extreme, you could give a homeless person a quid, or hold a door open for someone. If you’ve got kids you’ve got this part covered (about 1,000 times a day).

4. Spend a few minutes not actually doing anything.

Why not do a bit of meditating? This isn’t anything mystical or weird.

All you do is feel your breath going in and out of your body. Then when you realise you’re thinking about something else – you just bring your attention back to the breath. More about meditation.

Or you could think about something nice, like a holiday or your favourite band. You might even pray.

Anything, as long as you just stop and give yourself a break from your routine. 

5. Find something to make you smile or laugh. Here’s a list of great short jokes.

Or you could watch a video of the happiest penguin ever (44 secs).

Or Peter Kay talking about misheard song lyrics. (This is very, very good. 6 minutes 30 seconds of silly bliss.)

Our world has countless opportunities to smile, laugh, giggle and even wet yourself.

Why waste them?

6. Always look on the bright side of life. Here’s the video from the Life of Brian (3 mins 10 secs).

It’s possibly the best advice any film has ever given humankind.

7. Go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long walk – but it’s amazing how many of us just don’t give our bodies any exercise at all.

Even a 10 minute stroll to the local shop could make you start feeling a bit better.


If all else fails here’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need – updated for 2014.

If anyone claims you can have a meaningful life without a good WiFi connection, they're probably ill. And wrong.

If anyone claims you can have a meaningful life without a good WiFi connection, they’re probably very ill.

Just make sure you’ve got a good WiFi connection – and everything else will fit into place.

Some stuff that made me happy one day last week

The sound of the cats crunching their biscuits in the dark while I was dozing.

The sound of my shoes squeaking on the floor.

Hearing a man shout ‘Hello’ to someone across the street.

Hearing a bird’s wings flapping.

Having a wee when I was desperate.

Playing some music on the piano that I haven’t played for ages.

Watching a video of two baby elephants messing about in a paddling pool.

The sound of ducks quacking.

Getting an email that had some swearing in it.

Brushing my teeth and hearing them squeak

Seeing a silhouette of the church against the sky.

Being followed by a friendly black and white cat walking down the street.

Looking at the buds on a cherry tree.

Seeing the first bee of 2014.

Spotting a little man wearing a flat cap and a mac. He looked like he was from the 1930s.

Feeling the cold on my nose.

Hearing the whir of bicycle wheels going past.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014


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