There are many ways to happiness. And many ways of being happy. If you want to know what makes people happy then maybe the best way is ask some happy people what they do stay happy.
This list is the outcome of interviews with thousands of happy people, people who are able to put a smile on their face every day. The research was done in the UK trying to find what it is that makes people happy, what happy people have in common. The ways to happiness are simple and surprising. If you do each of these things every day you are on your way to making yourself and those around you feel better.
1. Plant something and nurture it.
Taking care of something living, something undemanding that grows and changes is a way of rewarding yourself with progress. It can be a plant or a pet, anything that you can nurture. Even a goldfish can put you back in touch with nature.
2. Count your blessings - at least five - at the end of each day.
Go over all the good things that happened today, reminding yourself of all the little things can make you feel good. If you feel life is getting on top of you, write them down each night, and then look them over at the end of the week. You will surprised at how many good things happen to you.
3. Make time to talk - have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week.
It doesn't matter what you talk about, just make sure you get your weekly appointment with someone close. Someone you can talk to about how you feel, what you want. Really listen to each other. And refuse to spend time with negative people who put you down all the time.
4. Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up.
The ways to happiness are mostly based on human interaction. Keep your contacts alive by regularly sending a text, or email them something interesting you saw on the Internet, or just call to say hello. Before television invaded our homes, visiting other people was the main social activity. Get into the habit of having a coffee with someone, or go shopping together, anything that reinforces your friendship.
5. Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it.
Make sure you put a little bit of joy into every day. No matter how stressed you are, or how busy you are, you can always plan some little pleasure. Even if it is just a cup of tea while you look out of the window, or a few minutes to yourself in a busy day. You deserve a treat.
6. Have a good laugh at least once a day
Laughter is the best medicine. Go out and have fun. Tune in to a comedy or read a few pages of a light-hearted book.
7. Get physical - exercise for half an hour three times a week
Physical exercise keeps you healthy, but also makes you happy. Go for a walk with the family after dinner, or leave the car three blocks away and walk to work, join a dance class. It is easy to put some exercise into your daily routines.
8. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
Practice smiling at people as you walk along the street - you will be surprised at how many smile back. Say hello the moment you enter a lift, you can make a new friend. Modern society has separated people, even a little encouragement can go a long way towards building social networks.
9. Cut your TV viewing by half .
TV viewing is essentially solitary and prevents people from doing other things. Much of TV is good, but it can become a default behaviour and grow to dominate free time. Dare to turn it off for a night.
10. Spread some kindness - do a good turn for someone every day
Giving other people a little pleasure means you get a good feeling too. Why not contribute a little to that feeling of community by making someone else’s day? Look for something unexpected you can do, something nice. You never know, it might be your turn tomorrow.