The small actions that will make you a whole lot happier

What are you waiting for?

Words by Harriet Griffey

To be happy 100% of the time is unrealistic, but often it’s the quite simple things that can help up your happiness quotient – and getting in the habit of doing these, or utilising them when you need a strategy for downtimes, can be helpful in your overall happiness. Ready, set, go.


Smiling works both ways: we smile when we’re happy, but the physical act of smiling actually tells our brains we’re happy. You can’t force it, but even just watching a funny cat video on Reddit will make you smile – and, suddenly, you feel happier.


Take that smile further and get into the habit of exchanging pleasantries with those you come into daily contact with, at the local newsagent, the bus stop, in the office. Build social relationships in person, not via your smart phone.


Physical exercise releases feel-good factor hormones that lift our mood while reconnecting us to our bodies, socialising and having fun. Factor in something every day, even if only a short walk or a 10 minute yoga session in your bedroom, to take your mind off your mind and give yourself a break.

Practise gratitude

Just a brief note in your diary about something nice that’s happened soon builds to a record of positive experiences, which you can use to remind yourself that happiness is always available to you.

Take care of yourself

How you feel physically can affect you’re your emotional health: enough regular sleep and eating regular, nutritious (avoid junk food) meals can both help stabilise mood.

Do one thing…

… each day that brings you personal pleasure. Keep it simple: taking a walk, sharing a coffee with a friend, reading a book, but savour it and enjoy it.

Harriet Griffey’s new book I Want to Be Happy is out now (Hardie Grant, £7.99)

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