This collection of 100 happy tips for life is just as much a reminder for myself as it is for everyone. Some are purely my opinion, and others are more universally recognised as truths for greater happiness.
Write 10 things you’re grateful for every day, meditate on gratitude for five minutes, say thank you more often and mean it…Even when the universe just seems to be against you, don’t scrimp on the gratitude — there’s always something no matter how small to be thankful for.
I came across a laughter journal in a bookshop last year and loved the idea, so started recording times when I’d really laughed hard. It’s great to read back if you’re ever feeling a bit down.
Take an objective look at your life both physically and mentally and throw out anything that no longer serves you. Which clothes haven’t you worn in years, do you really need all the stuff in your house, are there any limiting beliefs holding you back?
Even if you just spend five minutes every day learning something new, your brain will thank you for it in the long run. Do sudoku, listen to new music, memorise a new mantra or poem …
I recently read a post on my friend Darius’ blog, Let’s Sandbox called Do you believe in magic? As children, many of us believe anything is possible but as we age we accumulate limiting beliefs. Don’t let your mind hold you back — dream, believe and imagine possibilites — this is what magic really is.
About five years ago, I met a guy who’d been living as a Buddhist monk for 7 years, and it struck me how focused and present he was. He listened intently, remembered details and was genuinely interested in what everyone had to say.
This one was bound to crop up on the happy tips for life list — not that I’m preaching or anything, but it is scientifically proven now that meditation makes you happier. You don’t have to sit chanting OM to reap the benefits — just do a search for guided meditations, free meditations, fun meditations … whatever takes your fancy. Find something that resonates with you.
It’s a bit of a controversial one and I know many people would disagree with me on this, but from a personal perspective, I’ve felt much happier as a result of leaving the room every time someone puts the news at 10 on. Instead, read about stuff that will actually benefit you and if you’re still not convinced, ask yourself what purpose watching the news really has and how useful it is for you to know? Plus you’d be surprised how how much you still know even when you do disengage because people are constantly talking about it.
Don’t let your world turn grey. Samey routines and boring work schedules might cloud your vision but, always try to find something to spark your curiosity of the world every day.
Never stop learning, but relax and don’t beat yourself up for not knowing stuff. And don’t feel like you have to appear that you know more than you do — people will see through it. Plus keeping up a front like that is exhausting.
Continuing on from ‘happy tips for life no 10’, this one goes without saying. Just because your formal education may have ended, doesn’t mean you can sit back and never learn anything new. Keep your brain sharp and your mind endlessly curious — pick up new books, learn a new skill, watch TED talks.
Your comfort zone might feel nice but if you’ve never pushed yourself out of it, you might look back on your life and think, ‘I wish I could have been a bit more courageous’ and pushed to do the things I really wanted to do.
Last Christmas I was at a Christmas get together with loads of my boyfriend’s family and everyone seemed to know impressive card tricks including the children. I had one, which stopped being impressive after the age of 10.
Take a step back from worrying about the future or things that might never happen and become fully absorbed in the present moment. Set goals, dream and reflect on the past, but don’t forget what’s happening now.
Don’t wake up in 20, 30…years time and think, I wish I’d taken better care of myself in my 20s and 30s. As my Mum says, “In your 50s and 60s the chickens come home to roost.”
Observe for a week what you think about most. Are your thoughts predominantly positive or negative. The average person is supposed to have over 50,000 thoughts a day. If our thoughts and feelings help to create our future lives, make sure yours count.
Learn to laugh at yourself, allow yourself to fail without beating yourself up and smile more. If you don’t, in hindsight you’ll wonder what was worrying you so much.
Volunteer, do random acts of kindness, be there for a friend when they need you, cook someone you care about a meal served with love. You don’t have to do anything massive — it’s the small everyday gestures of kindness that count. Think, the movie, Amelie!
I won’t go into an in depth explanation here, but it’s a powerful book written by a psychologist during WW2 — It’ll help to give your life a bit of perspective. Plus it’s a short read, so doesn’t take too long to get through.
There’s nothing like the right music for lifting your vibration or happiness levels. Turn up the volume and dance or turn it down and meditate.
It’s a cliche and can be annoying when someone says ‘Cheer up love’ or ‘smile then’, but smiling even if you don’t feel it at first, does actually help to cheer you up and make you feel much better. Just like forced laughter, forced smiles will eventually lead to real smiles and happiness.
I live in London, and automatically, whenever I go back to my parents who live in the Yorkshire Wolds, I instantly feel calmer. Don’t underestimate nature’s ability to heal and rejuvenate you – -even if you’re not the outdoorsy/ nature type.
I did Bikram Yoga for one month and felt incredible during (once I’d got over the initial migraine!) and afterwards. Health wise, I don’t think hot yoga is any better for you than regular types of yoga, but I was drinking heaps more water than I normally would and felt much more clear headed as a result. If you really don’t like the taste, do as my housemate Connie does, and drink it hot — add a slice of lemon for a bit of taste.
I’ve got a thing about eating brightly coloured food. As a child we’d go on holidays to Greece and I’d always think how prettier the food looked. English food can be so grey and stodgy sometimes. There is a place for chips and gravy, but not every day.
I’m a massive believer in synchronicity and that when you trust your intuition or gut, you start noticing more positive synchronicities in life. Remember, the unconscious mind always knows the answer, you just have to learn to listen to it. With some things it might not make sense at first, but my intuition rarely fails me. It’s a powerful guide and in my opinion, one of the most important happy tips for life.
This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people surround themselves around people who bring them down. Of course, be there for good friends when they need you, but re-evaluate who you spend the majority of your time with — do you enjoy the company of these people? Do they inspire you? Do they make you laugh and feel happy about life? If the answers are no, then perhaps reconsider how much time you’re spending around people like this.
You might be in a situation where you hate your life, you want to quit your job, get more money, be more clever, more beautiful…change your attitude first otherwise you’ll be like lottery winners who are bad with money. They end up spending all the money super quick and find themselves back where they started or in an even worse position.
Check out this site A Year of Productivity to help save yourself time. It’s amazing how much we procrastinate as a species — from overly checking emails, to thinking the same unproductive thoughts and repeating the same patterns.
This means being honest with yourself as well as others. Some white lies are ok — but maybe to begin with, observe your thoughts and assess how authentic or honest you really are.
A lot of the time we hear, ‘live life in the present’, ‘don’t worry about the future’. However, at the same time, I think it’s important not to be neglectful of our goals and dreams in life. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have everything figured out, but some goals to work towards could be a positive move forward, especially if you feel like your aimlessly drifting.
There’s an exercise I really like where you have 20 minutes to write down a 100 things you’d like to do, achieve, be…They don’t have to be realistic. You can be as imaginative and creative as you like. The idea that makes you go tingly or even cry is what you’re supposed to do.
One of the most useful self improvement books I’ve ever read was What Color is your parachute. It shows you how you can craft a career for yourself either working for yourself or others, by combining several of your interests.
Dreams are the language of the unconscious. As soon as you wake up, write down what you remember and see what new things you might learn about yourself.
It’s often said that to love others you have to learn to love yourself first.
Holding grudges or continuously thinking bad thoughts about people does not harm them. Don’t let people who have wronged you zap any more of your energy — let it go. You will thank yourself for it.
Read books you might not usually be drawn to, write yourself a book list and expand your knowledge.
Listen to the people you love, but make your own mind up. Don’t let petty opinions of people you only vaguely know get the better of you.
I was at a lucid dreaming talk by Charlie Morley at Secret Garden Party Festival a few years ago and he said “I’m sceptical, but never cynical” and I’ve loved that saying ever since. When you’re sceptical, there’s room to change, when you’re a cynic you’re stuck in your ways.
Recently, I took part in a group meditation as part of my meditation teacher training course with Inside Meditation, and afterwards we were all instructed to either write poetry or streams of free writing consciousness. I’ve always found free writing to be an incredibly soothing exercise whether you do it alone or after meditation. Read more about free writing and how to do it.
We don’t really write letters to friends anymore, but I love receiving and sending them. Your friends will be grateful.
I had my first lucid dream after three weeks of prep work and it absolutely blew my mind. Read more about lucid dreaming here: An introduction to lucid dreaming and how to do it
Don’t let age rot your imagination — use it to dream, see opportunities and make life more colourful.
Even when others disagree with you and fail to see where you’re coming from, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same. Try to understand and empathise with people without taking things personally. Understanding someone is not the same as accepting someone’s behaviour.
Just read anything written by Wim Hof to find out the benefits of immersing your body into freezing temperatures. First hand, I can vouch and say, when I lived in northern Scandinavia, I often went swimming naked in freezing lakes and found the experience totally exhilarating. And if you don’t have a lake near by, try the bath — just be careful! Read more about Wim Hof (Iceman) or watch the video below.
If someone takes a disliking towards you, it’s often their hang up so let it go and don’t take it personally. Focus on the people who love you — they’re the ones who count.
Use mantras, affirmations, creative visualisations, time framed goals… do whatever feels right without forcing it, to manifest the future you deserve and dream of.
Ok, some of you may not have pets, but if you do, go and stroke your cat, play fetch with your dog or talk to your lizard. My friend Fiona, has often said, animals give off Reiki energy — whether this is true or not, they certainly help to calm me down if I’m ever feeling a bit stressed.
You don’t even need to necessarily visit a new country. Get out of your regular routine for a few days, weeks, months, years… and explore new territory. Meet new people, learn a new language, become accustomed to a whole new way of living. It’s a good way of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, or if you don’t want to travel so far from home, adding a bit more variety to your life.
Food tastes better when it’s been made with love and home cooked or baked. If you don’t know how, pick up a cookbook and learn a few simple recipes. Don’t fill yourself up on endless packaged meals and processed snacks.
This one isn’t as boring as it sounds. by taking responsibility, I mean having a high locus of control and realising that you are in the driving seat. External stuff will happen that’s out of your control, but you are essentially responsible for how you react to what’s thrown your way.
I need to properly take my own advice with this one, but it’s so important to take a bit of time out each day even if it’s just for a few minutes, to properly let your body and mind unwind. You might find the body scan meditation effective for this.
Do something more productive with your time — you’ll also find yourself saving money because you have fewer irrational desires to buy stuff you don’t need. This was certainly the case with me anyway.
Similar to listening to other people, I wholeheartedly agree that time is often the best gift you can give someone when you’re truly rooted 100% in the present.
Call me old fashioned (at the grand age of 27), but I think being able to write, using punctuation in the correct places and being able to construct sentences well, is an underrated skill. The world is full of words, let’s see every word as an opportunity not to be missed.
Be aware of your presence when speaking and listening with others. Make eye contact with everyone you’re talking with. People not looking at me when they’re speaking or when I’m speaking with them, is one of my pet hates.
No one really likes to confront their demons, weaknesses, and the things they’d rather keep hidden, but confronting this stuff will leave your head feeling freer in the long run. You don’t need to declare all your bad points to the world, but accepting them is a first step. You can then work on dealing with them and improving yourself if you feel it necessary to change.
We live in a world (in my opinion) that only favours the grand gestures, the record breaking achievements and the people who climb high mountains. There is however, a lot to be said for the little things — because in life, it’s the accumulation of lots of little things that eventually make up the big things.
If one of your goals is to be the director of x company ask yourself why you’d really like that position. If you want to travel because you feel unhappy in your life right now, ask yourself if travelling is just a way of running away rather than confronting a problem.
You don’t have to have everything figured out — well, ever really — that’s the beauty of being human, we can change our minds and craft the lives we’d really like to live. Give yourself the flexibility to try lots of things, experiment and discover what you really truly enjoy. No one is saying you have to stick doing one thing for the rest of your life!
Some people say it takes 10,000 hours to get really good at something. As well as trying out lots of different things, I think it’s nice to have a skill, hobby, passion that you really enjoy and feel you’ve mastered well.
Listen to calming music, think about what you enjoyed most that day, meditate … do whatever feels right for you so you can go to sleep peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the world with enthusiasm.
Although Facebook has now become a platform for us to voice our thoughts, keep a diary that is free from judgement — a place where you can voice your innermost thoughts honestly. If you do this regularly, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge etc. It’s a great tool for greater self awareness.
This book had such a positive influence on my life, it’s strange to think that I put off reading it for so long because I thought the title sounded shallow. It helped me to figure out what I was worth though — prior to reading the book, I was working 10 hour days for little more than minimum wage. I’m no millionaire now, but I can now afford the things I’d like and I have more time to do stuff I love doing. This book helped to change my attitude towards money more than anything else.
Introversion is seen as such a negative trait, but why should it be? Introverts a great listeners, they’re empathetic, in tune with their intuition etc. If you haven’t already, read Quiet: the power of the introvert in a World that can’t stop talking
Meditate on your heart chakra and wish your enemies well. Try to understand that with every action, good intention was the driving force, even if it was because hurting someone else would make that person feel better. It’s a controversial one, but if you can at last forgive your enemies, you’ve made the first step to lightening your load.
If you’re not happy with something, confront the person you think is responsible, try to make a difference and take action instead. Complaining doesn’t get you anywhere.It might feel like a pleasant release at first but, tackling the problem head on with action will feel much better.
Stop looking to others for validation — what do you think?
Bring a sense of adventure back into your life. It doesn’t even have to be anything really big: try food you’ve never eaten before, explore a new city in your home country, spark up a conversation with a stranger…
This one came from my housemate Carrie and really, don’t all problems occur in the first place because of some kind of communication breakdown? Work out the communication style of people you work with or are close to so you can see their point of view more clearly and avoid any future communication catastrophes.
Give the people you love the freedom to be themselves and the comfort of being able to open up to you whilst still knowing you will love them and you’re not judging.
In the middle of writing my list of happy tips for life, my housemate Carrie showed me her mirror which was full of positive post it notes in with random inspiring quotes and sayings. Another friend of mine, Leila, said she used to put up a different positive quote in her locker every week at college.
Go mobile free on your way to work, resist the temptation to pick up a paper and read badly written news, turn off the TV… You don’t have to do these things all the time, but minimising them might help. I only bought my first smart phone less than a year ago. Prior to this, I never had the internet on my phone. Now, however, I’ve had to stop myself from wanting to check Twitter, Facebook and my emails every few minutes.
I believe everyone is creativity in some respects. You don’t need to take up painting full time, but you could try learning a new instrument, going to a life drawing class, tking up dancing — whatever floats your boat.
Notice the emphasis on ‘try’. Personally, I hated languages at school and have had a fear of learning a new language up until the last few years. I am, however, learning Spanish at the moment and enjoying the process without focusing on the desire to be able to speak Spanish fluently. On an entirely different note, you can learn a lot about a culture by taking up their language, plus the act of learning it will help sharpen your mind.
This is one of the most powerful and inspirational books I’ve ever read. Biologist, Bruce Lipton, confirms the stuff I’ve always thought was possible — that we can control our immune systems and bodies on a cellular level.
Alcohol is a drug — an enjoyable one at times — but in excess it’s nasty. We live in a world where many of us will go through life having spent no longer than a few weeks without a drink. Try giving it up for a month and see how you feel.
If you’re a naturally driven and enthusiastic person, this one might ring true with you. By all means, go out and do lots of stuff, but just make sure that by doing lots of different projects isn’t affecting the quality or stressing you out. Prioritise what’s most important to you.
In a World where we’re constantly stimulated by stuff, sometimes it’s important to just sit and do nothing at all. Stop what you’re doing now and just breathe.
I’d love to fully master this one — but there’s no harm in trying. A good starting point would be perhaps not taking offense when someone has conflicting views to your own. You can still disagree of course — you don’t have to take up permanent residence on the fence — just don’t feel threatened.
Are you more likely to change your actions by observing someone who is a living breathing example of what he believes, or by someone who is preaching at you, not allowing you to get a word in edgeways? I know which one I prefer.
Some of the people I admire most are those who can mindfully live all parts of their lives with love — completing all tasks to the best of their ability — and not just focusing on stuff they enjoy. I think if we can learn to seek enjoyment out of the more mundane repetitive parts of life, we’ll all lead richer lives.
Often we’re the hardest on ourselves — give yourself a break and indulge in something you love. Run a hot bath, buy yourself a present, make yourself a cup of tea and read a good book…
Here’s another one from Carrie — you’ll feel better when you don’t have stuff continuously building up on your ‘to do’ list.
No one deserves to be talked down to, or looked upon as an inferior human being. Develop your compassion and realise we’re all connected.
My friend Michael who is really into fashion introduced me to this idea over the weekend when the two of us went for lunch and shopping in Central London. Admittedly, owning good clothes isn’t something that is high up on my priorities list, but after feeling some purely heavenly fabrics over the weekend, I’m making a vow to myself to ditch clothes that don’t good. The same can be said for bed sheets.
Many of us go through life subconsciously saying, ‘I can be happy when…I’ve got my new house, I’m earning more money, I’ve bagged the man of my dreams… (insert your own phrase here). In reality, with this attitude, you will always be in a state of endless, tiresome striving. Take a step back and give yourself permission to be happy now.
Whatever your fear: public speaking, heights, social situations …
Here’s one of my bad jokes: I went to the zoo the other day. There was only one dog there — it was a shih tzu. On the whole though, I think I just prefer it when people are naturally, dryly funny.
Here’s one from my boyfriend Dom — grow anything from watercress to a whole allotment full of vegetables. There’s something incredibly rewarding about watching something grow from nothing.
Be comfortable in your own skin; learn to love silence; and be happy when alone.
Before bed, I always put coconut oil on my face; my Mum does the same — she’s 58 and has incredibly skin. You don’t need to splash out on expensive creams, just make sure your skin is well hydrated.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s a cliche because it’s true and very right. Only when you don’t start something because you’re afraid of failing have you truly failed. Read Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway if you need encouragement or watch this short TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Wear ear plugs at load gigs if you still want to hear music at 80.
Cycle to work, go for a run, practice yoga…do whatever feels right for you. You’ll feel physically fitter, but also mentally more alert and full of energy. If you have depression or anxiety, exercising even for 10 minutes a day will really help.
When Dove conducted research a few years ago to see how many people found themselves truly beautiful, only a small percentage of people felt saying they were. Feeling beautiful is a right we all should have.
Call up a friend and suggest a spontaneous road trip, have a campfire, build a treehouse…break free from your regular routine for a day, and do something completely different. If you’ve been working non stop, this could be as simple as lying in, eating breakfast in bed and doing nothing all day other than things you really enjoy.
Just like in relationships — learn from everyone you meet. If you find yourself really disliking someone for no obvious reason, question which parts of their character you dislike. I’ve often learned a lot about myself this way, even if the stuff isn’t always pleasant.
Children have no fear when they draw — they’re not afraid of producing work that looks bad. Think back to when you were a child — were you endlessly curious? Did you approach projects with no fear of failing? Did you think anything was possible?
Dance in the rain, walk barefoot through puddles, enjoy a steaming hot bath once you’re inside again. In other words, see opportunities for fun when many people might run for shelter.
Psychologist Viktor Frankl says “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I was inspired to write my own collection of happy life tips after reading this post from High Existence a few years ago: 50 Life Secrets and Tips