> Happiness

How to be happy

Use our five-step plan to improve your mood.

Be happy

Since we’re all different, there’s no one recipe for happiness that suits everyone. That said, there are a number of common elements that can help to build a solid foundation for happiness. Here are five ‘get happy’ strategies to put in your positivity toolkit.

1. Nurture your relationships.

Happiness is not just about ourselves, but others too. It’s about feeling good and doing good. Plus, a study conducted by renowned ‘happiness experts’ in the US found that happy people have strong, high-quality relationships. So foster your marriage, friendships and family ties by spending time together as often as possible. Pushed for time? Show you care with a handwritten letter or set up a Skype account and lock in regular phone chats for free.

2. Count your blessings

People with a more grateful outlook on life tend to exhibit a heightened state of wellbeing, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers concluded that: ‘Gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness and hope.’ At some point during the day make a simple list of five things you’re grateful for in your life, at that moment.

3. Help those in need

According to a review study published in 2013, people who volunteer regularly have lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced wellbeing. Visit govolunteer.com.au or volunteering.org.nz to find out more about the volunteering opportunities near you.

4. Find things to look forward to

Not only is partaking in experiences scientifically proven to improve happiness more than buying material goods (so think spending your money on a holiday to somewhere interesting, rather than a shopping expedition), but just the act of planning those experiences can pay off. It’s because being able to look forward to doing something is a mood booster, all on its own.

5. Take up yoga

Physical activity always pays off as a mood pleaser, but for an extra shot of happiness, try yoga. Over time, it boosts levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA – and low levels of that have been linked to a bigger risk of low mood and even depression. Plus, practising yoga regularly makes falling asleep easier and overnight sleep quality better. Who doesn’t love a two-for-one tip! For best results, do some yoga moves three times a week.

Article first published 1st of January 2017