If you are searching for happiness, you may well find that happiness eludes you. Happiness is not something that we find outside of ourselves. If you are expecting something or someone to ‘make you happy’ you are going to be disappointed. Being happy is a choice that we all have, whatever our circumstances, in any given moment.
Back in 2005 there was an experiment in Slough in the UK, which was filmed by the BBC. It was called ‘Making Slough Happy’. Below is the Happiness Manifesto, which is taken from the project.
The 10 simple steps outlined in the manifesto, can make a big difference. Why not follow the manifesto and see for yourself how powerful these actions are? Before you start, you could ask yourself ‘how happy am I right now’? (on a zero to ten scale) and then measure your happiness afterwards.
The Happiness Manifesto
1. Get physical
Exercise for half an hour three times a week.
Regular exercise improves your sense of wellbeing and reduces stress
There’s significant evidence to show that exercise can improve your mental
health, with none of the side effects common to pharmaceutical remedies.
Regular exercise improves your sense of wellbeing and reduces stress.
2. Count your blessings
At the end of each day, reflect on at least five things you’re grateful for.
Everyone has things in their life for which they can be grateful
Psychologist Richard Stevens explains: “What you think about influences how
you feel. If you spend all the time thinking about problems, as some people
do, you’re unlikely to feel very happy. Everyone has things in their life for
which they can be grateful. Spend more time thinking about these and you’ll
feel a lot better.
Dealing with negative thoughts
3. Talk time
Have an hour-long uninterrupted conversation with your partner or closest
friend each week.
Talking to friends is a good chance to share your feelings and experiences,
and a chance to catch up on the latest gossip! Expressing your emotions can
help you to think more positively about life.
Love and intimacy
4. Plant something
Even if it’s a window-box or pot plant. Keep it alive!
Growing plants gives a sense of achievement. You could grow some herbs on
your kitchen windowsill.
5. Cut your TV viewing by half
Too much TV is linked to unhappiness
Put an egg timer on your TV and turn it off after a maximum of three hours.
There’s good evidence that too much TV is linked to unhappiness, perhaps
because it uses up the time we could spend on things that do make us happy:
time with our partners, exercise, learning new skills, socialising, even
Controlling children’s TV viewing is also important.
6. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger
At least once a day.
Smiling has a real positive effect, not only on making you feel better, but also
on other people around you. It’s hard for other people not to respond
positively to you if you’re smiling.
7. Phone a friend
Make contact with at least one friend or relation you’ve not been in contact
with for a while and arrange to meet up.
Having a strong social network makes you feel supported and secure, which,
in turn, leads to feeling content.
8. Have a good laugh at least once a day
It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine. It’s a great stress reliever.
9. Every day make sure you give yourself a treat
And take time to really enjoy it! Be good to yourself and Make more time for
10. Daily kindness
Do a good turn for someone each day. Think about volunteering.
For more about the project in Slough, go to
Do you practice any of these suggestions? Do leave a comment.
Speak soon ….