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Simple Ways to Feel Happier

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Here are six ideas to help boost your happiness.

Stone with the word 'smile' written on it.

Write a thank you letter every month: Prof Martin Seligman, a psychologist, has researched countless interventions to see which really work to make us happier. One of the tasks he discovered produced the highest levels of positive emotion for a month after is writing a letter to someone who has somehow improved your life. It can be to anyone who’s done something big or small: just write the letter, and send it.

Call, text or email a family member or friend every day: Research from Harvard University suggests that meaningful relationships can help improve emotional, mental and physical health and while there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, making the effort to stay in touch with one of your family members or friends each day is a good way to strengthen these vital bonds and get a boost of happy hormones.

Commit to a random act of kindness every week: Research has shown that being kind to people increases our levels of happiness. And it doesn’t matter who those people are. Maybe buy an extra coffee for the next person in the café or tell someone’s boss when you get great customer service.

Set a reminder to smile: Although we think we only smile when we are happy, the mere act of smiling stimulates the release of happy hormones in your brain and reduces the level of stress hormones. So even if you have literally nothing to smile about, set a reminder in your phone to smile – or even laugh – three times a day and it will improve your mood.

Take one deep breath: If you’ve failed to get your head round meditating with a phone app, don’t panic. “Meditation is beneficial, but even just being more focused on breathing really helps,” says meditation teacher Chloe Webster. “Just start with one deep breath and then three: the next thing you know, you’ve activated your parasympathetic system (which sends a signal to the brain to let the anxious part know that you’re safe and to hold off on the fight, flight or freeze response) and you’re on your way to feeling calm again.”

Cleanse your social media feeds: For all its benefits, social media can be a toxic space. So, why not try muting or unfollowing accounts that make you unhappy about your body image. The same applies to anything on social media that riles you, whether it’s your bragging colleague on Facebook, or the envy-inducing travel pics of a schoolfriend on Instagram: if it makes you feel bad, unfollow.


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