How to be happy 

By  Lysette Offley

Wanna know how to be happy?

I know, I know…

It’s not the first time I’ve posted a link to the Happy song, and with apology to those few who can’t stand listening to it, I hope it does indeed make the rest of us happy.

Great video – Watch it and I defy you to sit still!

Oooh, and my favourite – Steve Carell’s dancing too. On a bus.

Of course he is!

Still smiling?

Of course you are!

It’s always struck me as highly amusing, that while most of us know how to make ourselves feel better – at the very time we need to, we just don’t feel like it!

So perhaps, instead of waiting for the doldrums to strike – we should be practising our happy skills every day, regardless of how we feel and regardless of whether we think we need to – to raise our happiness default level – which can’t be a bad thing you’d have thought…

Are you doing it right?

Just to make sure you have a bunch of ideas up your sleeve, which are known to keep us happy and healthy, here’s a list:


How to be happy - photo of chimpanzee, sittingToo much sitting and not enough exercise increases depression symptoms.

Fortunately, increased physical activity does the opposite and increases your supply of the anandamide, neurotransmitter known as the Bliss Compound. Never heard of it, but now I have – I certainly want some!

In a week where a total ban on ‘legal highs’ came into force in the UK, good to know we can change our brain chemistry the natural way.

Have to admit I had a little chuckle when it was announced on the BBC news channel. It went something like,

“…total ban on legal highs…”

and then as fast as you like, presumably to avert mass panic across the country,

“…except nicotine, caffeine and alcohol!”

So what legal highs are left then? Oh well… doesn’t matter now… I’m not allowed them anyway!!

Get out!

20 minutes of bright outdoor light is enough to make you happier. In fact, the optimum temperature for creating happiness is 57 degrees Fahrenheit (about 14 degrees centigrade) – probably not as hot as you’d expect.

Outside in the sunshine, your body makes vitamin D and also release endorphins, the “Happiness Hormone”. Not getting enough vitamins D is associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If you can’t get out, at least open the curtains and let the sunshine in.


One study concluded that money doesn’t buy happiness, but good relationships do. In fact, they said that relationships are worth more than $100 000. (Or £68 000 if you’re interested!)

Yeah – but just think what I could do with that £68K!

Apparently, hugging someone reduces stress hormones and activates the orbitofrontal cortex in the brain (whatever that is!) And makes you feel happier.

Maybe get permission first!

How to be happy - photo of small frog on a human handEat that frog!

Do something you’ve been putting off. Cross it off your list. What a relief to finally get it done!

Tidy your room!

Funny how when I was a kid, tidying my room seemed so much more important than doing my homework! However, these days, the time I find myself wasting a good five minutes looking for a piece of paper I was sure I left just here only a few days ago is a good reminder to keep things shipshape and Bristol fashion.

By the way – for your (and my) amusement and education I just looked up that interesting expression in Wikipedia. Turns out (and I bet some of you knew this already) a couple of hundred years ago when ships were moored in the port of Bristol, because of the high tidal range, if everything wasn’t stowed away or fixed, as the tide went out, and the ship keeled over on its side, the contents of the ship would crash down the slope and break. When cargos got wrecked, it cost many companies a lot of dosh. Lesson learned, eh!

Now where was I?


Helping others makes you feel good. Stop thinking about yourself – and turn your focus outwards – towards others. And help yourself in the process. So volunteer your help (er… where it’s wanted, of course!) It’s known as “Helper’s High”.

It’s a ‘high’ and I’m sure it’s ‘legal’. But the government haven’t banned it.


Gotta be worth a shot if you’re a bit down in the dumps.

Give a little bit

Share something of yourself – I don’t mean your kidney! (Well, certainly not both, anyway!) But give blood. Get a donor card. Hey, they’re welcome to the lot once you’re done with them!

How to be happy - photo of dog balancing a ball on its noseSmile!

Yeah, I know you don’t feel like it! But the muscle movement actually fools your brain into thinking you’re happy! Seriously! If you can’t bear to raise even a grimace, shove a pencil between your teeth and look skywards instead. The one forces those muscles into position and the other is the opposite of looking down in the dumps.

Old dog, new tricks!

Learn something new. Even 15 minutes a day reading up on a topic you’re interested in, or learning a new skill, such as knitting or golf makes you feel more engaged and cheerful.

Well, maybe not the golf!

What do you do to cheer yourself up? Let me know in the comments below.

How to get happy in just 30 minutes

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Lysette Offley

Genius Maker & Founder of Genius Material and The Genius Principles. Working with professionals who need exceptional academic & professional development.

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