Researching happiness principles I found spiritual lists, legal rights lists, and some that would need a psychology degree to not feel inferior when reading, so I chose this list which is aimed at mums but can easily be used by everyone.
The 10 basic Happiness Principles:
1. Count your blessings
We've all got something good going for us so be thankful for it. Yes, it's good to have goals and to plan for improvements but knowing what you have is already good can change your outlook. Any enhancement then becomes a bonus and not a disappointment while waiting.
When did you last have a good laugh? You don't need to buy a ticket to a comedy club or watch a TV show to be amused. Chat with a friend and remember something fun together or watch your kids or pets playing as there's something to make you smile every day. And if it can make you guffaw then that's all the better.
3. Do a good turn with a daily kindness
Sure, it's great if you can walk the neighbour's dog or bake cakes for the local old people's home but it's the little things that can help too. Offer your seat on the bus without being asked, make a cup of tea for a colleague – just the way they like it, or take in a neighbour's delivery when they're out. And it's a clever one this as it makes two people feel good.
4. Treat yourself every day
You don't need to hit the shops every lunchtime and spend more money than you have to make yourself feel good. A treat could be indulging in some 'me time' and wandering around the park for an hour or getting to the gym earlier so you've got some evening left when you get home. Sure, cake is always good but treats come in many shapes and sizes.
Watching TV is meant to be a pleasure so when you find it's just on all the time but there's nothing you want to see it's time to switch it off. No-one's telling you that you can't watch TV anymore if you want to be happy just don't plan your life around a TV schedule when you could record your favourite shows and watch them when it suits you.
6. Say hello to a stranger
This isn't as odd as it sounds. Stay safe, of course, but chatting at the bus stop or the supermarket checkout queue are fine options. Pass the time of day by talking about the weather or anything that's not complaining. Saying the bus is late or the line never seems to move forward at the supermarket is not the way to make you, or the stranger, feel good. (You could even combine 'do a good turn' by letting them get on the bus first.)
Being green-fingered is not a natural state for everyone but there's a plant out there that all of us can keep alive. You don't need to have a garden as the kitchen windowsill can fit a small pot. Choose something hardy so you don't feel bad if you forget to water it some days.
8. Get physical
Get to the gym if that's your thing or run in the park if that works for you. You might prefer an exercise DVD at home or just pop on some music and dance around the living room. Jumping around and getting your heart rate up raises endorphins that make you feel happier. Plus, after exercise you should sleep better and feeling less tired is another way to feel happier.
Talking to someone important to you every day helps keep you connected. You may not have time to see each other but a quick call to say hi can be a boost for you both.
10. Talk time – an hour's conversation with a good friend or partner
Easy to combine with no. 9, and no. 5, as while the TV is off you can have a really good chat each day with someone you care about. Hey, it's also no. 4 as you can treat yourself to some dedicated time talking to someone you want to chat with. Remember to listen too and enjoy the time together.