Live The Life You Want: DIY Happiness Make-Over (& Giveaway!)

This is the first in a series of Live The Life You Want posts : sponsored by the National Australia Bank. Be sure to check out the ACE giveaway at the end of this post! 

Happiness. Gosh. It’s the Holy Grail of to-dos in this modern age, isn’t it? There are more books on happiness than there are hot meals, worldwide. Well. Perhaps that is exaggerating a titch, but my point is that happiness has become our raison d’être, our ultimate goal.  And a worthwhile goal at that.

Sometimes, though, I think we’re coming at happiness from the wrong direction, in the wrong shoes, carrying the wrong stuff, with the wrong expectation. It’s kind of like fronting up at an impossible to find secret gig, overdressed, over wanting and wearing too much lipstick. I think we need to rein it in a bit, that it’s not as hard as we think, this happiness gig.

I think we can do happiness in leggings and a t-shirt with absolutely NO lipstick, if we so choose. From the comfort of our own home, if we so want.  Let’s go for happy moments. Let’s break it down and make it less of a secret gig and more of an everyday happening.

Here’s my Happiness Make-over in 5 Easy Steps:

1. Journal or List
Perhaps you used to keep a journal when you were growing up? Angsty thoughts all buckled up in a lock-up diary? Or maybe you keep a journal as an adult, writing your daily or weekly thoughts, perhaps a doodle or two? That is ACE. Or perhaps you don’t journal at all. Perhaps you write lists. Lists are like the favourite cousin of journalling I think. Lists are good too.

Whether you journal or list, keep doing that. And if you don’t, you really need to start. It can be scrappy and impossible to read, or it can be creative and beautiful. Don’t put pressure on yourself, though… it’s MUCH more important to DO IT than it is to DO IT PERFECTLY.

The Artist’s Way advocates writing a stream of consciousness style, THREE pages of text each day. That’s a lot, right? I think that even if you write ONE page, and do it MOST days and try to handwrite it and get everything out of your head, you will be happier.

I know this, because I do it most days. I get up very early, get out my dorky spiral bound note book and write down everything that pops into my head.  Some days this is one page. Some days it is three. And some days I forget or just lie on the couch drinking in the quiet dawn and forget about it til later in the day.

Daily list making or journalling, however brief, will remove all that useful or stressful or creative stuff that’s swirling around in your head and put it somewhere that you can do something about it. Or not. Make this your almost daily habit. Even if you do this ONE thing, you will be happier. I promise.

2. Exercise
Gah. I know. You’re either pro-exercise or you are contemplating getting under the doona as you wince-ily read this. Well don’t be wincey. It’s okay. Exercise can be on your terms. It doesn’t have to make you The Biggest Loose-Pants. It doesn’t have to Transform Your Body. All I’m suggesting is that you move your body and that you do, indeed WEAR pants.

It’s vitally important to move your bits every day. I’m not talking about optimum fitness or weight loss or endurance. I’m talking about giving yourself a little bit of time to keep your machinery running nicely. It’s a bit like when you put a car in the garage for a long time. After a while it won’t start. It’ll look a bit dusty and it’ll sound a bit spluttery. MUCH better to get the motor humming regularly and invest a little time maintaining the duco, too.

Your exercise program can be a walk to the shops and back. Or it can be busting a few stretches in the lounge room. Or you can go massive and try the gym (I don’t) or some home exercise equipment (I do!)  Maybe it’s just getting up from your chair every hour and trying to do those planky yoga things.  It can be a small effort. It can be bigger effort. But just make an effort. Even if you do this ONE thing, you will be happier. I promise.

3. Feed you
I’m really not talking about chocolate, but if you want to have a little bit of good quality dark chocolate every day, then you should totally DO that. I’m talking about putting the things into your body that make it work better.

I’m not sure about YOU, but I know there are certain things I eat that won’t give me any benefit at all. Things that make me feel tired or heavy or hungry again in five minutes. For me, I’m talking about white flour, processed food, sugary treats and fried food.

That’s not to say that I never eat those things. I am not Our Lady Of Virtuous Habits. What I do, though, is avoid those thing when I can. I eat lots of vegetables and whole grains, because they seem to keep me going and make me feel super charged. They also don’t make me feel all slumpy and snack-wanty.

When you take the time to look after your body and eat good stuff, you feel good about yourself. When you repeatedly don’t, you feel terrible. If you’re not treating yourself nicely, if you’re eating stuff that makes you feel crappy or seedy or guilty very often, then you’re being self-destructive. And you need to dig a bit deeper and wonder why you don’t like yourself enough to take care of you. I’m sure you’re lovely…  Treat yourself lovely, love.

Play around with new recipes and healthy eating options. Think hard about the things you feel bad about eating, or the things  you eat that make you feel bad. Adjust your diet accordingly. (And you really DO have to allow yourself treats some of the time, lest you become Our Person of Virtuous Habits and put us all to sleep with your perfect-ness!)   Even if you do this ONE thing, you will be happier. I promise.

4. Stop
These are busy times. I bet you are busy right now. You are probably skimming this post trying to make bullet points in your head and get up to the giveaway….! Are you doing that?!

We’ve been taught to squeeze the most out of every moment, to time manage with military precision, to diarise, schedule, prioritise and produce. In fact, for a lot of us, the only time we STOP is when we are procrastinating. We tread water mulling stuff over and letting thoughts bounce tightly around in our heads, feeling worried or stressed or under pressure or guilty. Argh.

I say STOP. Don’t procrastinate. You don’t need to fill those arrested moments with what-to-do-nexts. Just STOP. Sit down. Do nothing. Push thoughts away. Pat the cat. Watch Wheel of Fortune. Watch the dust drift.  STOP being torn and single task, for once.

I kind of hate the term ‘be present’, so make the moment YOUR present. Your gift to you. With a big bow and a whole lot of NOTHING inside. Stop bouncing all the life-stuff and to-do around and be boringly nothing-y. Gift yourself this nothing, every day, more than once, even if it’s just for two minutes. Let it be your present to you.  Even if you do this ONE thing, you will be happier. I promise.

5. Sunshine
Gosh. There’s been so much important talk about staying out of the sun over the last 20 years or so. (You can read the Cancer Council’s advice on sun exposure here. Be smart about protecting your skin from sun exposure.  Use a good SPF and stay out of the sun in the middle of the day).

Let’s not forget, however,  that we really do need small doses of sunny day in our life. We need Vitamin D to keep our bones healthy, eyes keen, immunity boosted and a whole other host of feel good/be good benefits too.  And we need fresh, outside air.  A morning walk or a late afternoon stroll on a sunny day will not only get some D in the bank, it’ll clear your head, get you moving and spark fresh ideas. Go outside. Feel the sun. Wander about. Notice your neighbourhood.  Do it when it’s not sunny, even. Just go for fresh air.  Even if you do this ONE thing, you will be happier. I promise.

Giveaway

Perhaps you’d like to know more about my take on happiness?  Glean a few more creative living tips?

I’m giving away a 1 hour Creative Living Session. You and me. A pot of tea. And SKYPE.  

You can ask me any questions you have about work/life balance, my work, making things, juggling parenthood and creativity, happiness, creative heroes, awesome books, blogging, publishing, technology, food, inspiration, useful resources…

And we can drink tea and solve the problems of the world. I will even send you my recipe for choc chip cookies so we can eat those together*

To win a Creative Living Session with ME, tell me your top 3 tips for a happy life.**  in the comments below.

To enter, tell us:

What are your top 3 happiness tips?

Good luck!  Remember even if you do one of the above things every day, you will be happier!

x Pip

* May not be healthy
**  Make sure you register your email address when you comment with Disqus, below!

Entries close on Friday 1st March at midnight (Melbourne time).
My favourite entry will win – judged on creativity, usefulness and/or cleverness
WINNER will be announced on JustB on Monday 4th March at 3pm.

all images are by Pip Lincolne
prize value : priceless! 

  • Michelle

    You really need to have a hobby…
    Be a part of what’s happening in your community…
    And love, even when your heart getting broken…try, try again…it’s worth it…

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      You are right. Community is really important. Thanks Michelle! x

  • Gillian

    Great tips Pip, mine are
    1. If the kids are grumpy, add water as in beach, pool or just fill up a bucket outside with some toys or put them in the bath works for me.
    2. Long drives make me happy, get lost, find somewhere special enjoy the scenery and get inspiration from people’s houses, gardens.
    3. Get a hobby, knitting, baking, sewing it’s good for the soul.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      I like that last one A LOT, Gillian! x

  • http://www.facebook.com/merryn.byrne Merryn Byrne

    Hi Pip, …my 3 top tips…live, laugh, love!!

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thanks for sharing your tips, Merryn! x

  • Deb Dane

    I would love this session! Great tips too.

    My 3 tips would be:
    Nurture – yourself mind, body and spirit, your relationships, your interests
    Learn – who you are, what you want, new things, find the silver linings
    Surrender – breathe through it, let go, don’t try and control, be led sometimes, acceptance

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Oh hello! Those are GOOD ones, esp Surrender. Thanks, Deb! x

  • http://twitter.com/krfedosenko Katie Fedosenko

    Pip, I loved your tips, especially ‘Stop’. I just read ‘Down to Earth’ by Rhonda Hetzel and I’m feeling like going slow is so important. I just started working as a full time freelance writer and communications consultant. Most days are full of energy and excitement with a dash of nervous energy. It’s a bit scary to take a big leap into a life I love.

    My tips for happiness are:
    1. Shed what doesn’t serve you. Whether it’s clothes you don’t wear or toxic friends, let go of things in your life that don’t enrich it.
    2. Count to 10. In moments of anger or anxiety, give yourself a pause to reflect and think, to let the steam fade. Once the charge is gone, you can think clearer and get back to being happy.
    3.Celebrate. Whether it’s finding a new favourite coffee joint or landing a new contract, celebrate what brings you joy through story telling, journaling or simply smiling wide.

    Cheers,
    Katie

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      I am a fan of Rhonda’s too, Katie! x

  • Sabrena

    My top tips:

    1. Remember that happiness is the journey not the destination.

    2. Listen to your fave tunes and sing along – loudly.

    3. Just do it, life’s too short for what ifs.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thanks for your very excellent tips, Sabrena! x

  • disqus_OLNowwzDMt

    1. Love Life; enjoy every day as though it is your last, you never know how long you have on this earth. That means enjoying the trivial things, the simplistic things, the treasures you have now may not be there tomorrow, laugh more, laugh loud, enjoy the sunshine, eat that mud cake, be silly.
    2. Treasure People & Animals; sometimes its easy to drift away into time alone, keeping busy in our own world for weeks. But what we forget is relationships bring joy into our lives, a chuckle, a ganter about work/ relationship/ home issues, sharing stories, these people are who will remember you, and who you influence and affect, and make that lonely time no longer! Make people happy, smile, and enjoy people for who they are!
    3. Do what you want. Don’t believe others putting limiting beliefs onto you. And don’t do it to yourself! Know your vision, and work hard to get there! But don’t forget to enjoy the simple things in life along the way, the two points above, people and the love for everyday.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Ah! Good advice! Thanks for sharing your happy rules! x

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.paterson Donna Rae Paterson

    Keep it simple
    Laugh out loud
    Love

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      I like your short and sweet tips! x

  • Adrienne

    Ohhh I just baked cookies, we could swap recipes and compare and contrast, in my chocolate chips I have every confidence.

    When it all seems a little to much I find the following, although not deep and meaningful, help

    1) have a bath and make shampoo shapes with your hair
    2) lie down, watch the clouds and really concentrate on breathing the air
    3) let you inner ballerina out, demi plie, pirouette and arabesque, many things just seems better in french.

    Thank you for the chance at such a thoughtful prize.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Cookies are important, right?! x

  • Pippa

    I try to remember these things, when I’m lacking some healthy perspective.
    1. You only need a little of what you want, not allot of what you don’t.
    2. If it’s not working for you, try something else.
    3. Happiness is the gift you give yourself and everybody around you benefits.
    I would love a ‘tea and biscuit’ chat with you Pip but it might take a while for my Cheshire grin to fade and babbling nonsense to stop! :)

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Great advice, Ms Pippa. Thanks for sharing! x

  • girl_from_nara

    1. Be grateful for what you have
    2. If you’re not sure, pause and breathe, the space can be helpful
    3. Smiles and giggles are infections, use them liberally

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Giggles are VERY important and often forgotten! x

  • Marja Heemskerk

    Hai Pip,
    This makes me happy:
    1. Sleeping, because with à shortage of that I absolute disfunction.
    2. Paper of all kinds to make and create.
    3. Walking, after about 10 minuts it is like meditation.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Those are GOOD ones, Marja! x

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  • signora aurora

    Love your tips, pip!
    Three things that makes me happy are:
    1. I try to don’t compare to others and honor my own doing. Instead feeling mad about all I can’t I try to focus on the things I’m able to do and looking at others like teachers I can learn from.
    2. Create something. Sometime I sew, othertimes I go outside to pick flowers for our home, give a fresh coat of paint to a wall or furniture, make jewellery, bake and create things with the kids.
    3. Every evening I journal three short things that made me happy this day! It makes such a difference for me! Every day becomes positive focussing on the good things and then falling asleep with them in mind makes for me also a good start for the next day!

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      I like your tips too! xx

  • Steffi G

    I really like your tips Pip (Pips Tips) especially STOP which is what I am doing right now readin my fave Blogs of the day. Here are some things I do to help me unwind & smile:

    1. Hug your kids & partners & family & friends. Its such an amazing feeling to hug & be hugged back.

    2. Go to the beach. Eat fish n chips. Look at the ocean. Push the sand through your toes. It is such a calming part of our world.

    3. Make something for a friend. A card from scraps. A cake. Wrap a second hand book in fabric & bows. Sew A library bag. Bunch together A posy of flowers. Its so special to give & receive something handmade.

    More tips Pip! Stef x

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thanks for sharing YOUR tips, Steffi! x

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.gaggiano.7 Melissa Gaggiano

    I am still trying to get it right but here are the things that work for me at the mo’.
    1. Playing with my daughters.
    2. Reading books.
    3. Creating something – whether it is drawing or sewing dolls.

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thanks for you happy tips!

  • Sassv

    Hi pip this is my favourite topic and I have done a lot of research.
    1. De-clutter & simplify
    2. Have fun and laugh
    3. Have no limit

    Is that three or more?! Hmmm

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      That is totally 3! Thank you! x

  • Kate

    Ooooh I would love that cuppa and tea!

    I guess my top 3 would be:
    1. Purpose: whether it’s planting a vegetable patch, saving the world, or helping a friend move house- Pointlessness to a day, month or year give room to long days in bed- not the good ones)
    2. People: Surrounding myself with people who build me up, and having the strength to place boundaries on relationships that pull me down (or where I’m pulling them down)
    3. Naming it: Knowing my strengths, weaknesses and naming them for what they are. When I am open and honest about these, the weaknesses don’t seem so bad, and I learn to value what’s awesome about me.

    I’d love to talk more about it over Skype & Cuppa!! xxx

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thank you for you ace tips! x

  • Clare at catseatdogs

    Oooohhhhh cookies! Well, that’s number one right there surely – cookies!
    No really, here are my three.
    Making stuff – baking or sewing or knitting, just the act of creating something.
    Smile – listen to some comedy on the radio or tell jokes with your kids, much better when the kids make them up!
    Be you – don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else, just keep up with you. Just Be!
    Pip, I have been batting around the idea of starting a journal again and you have inspired me to go and get a lovely new book to write in! Thanks x

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thanks for your great ideas! xx

  • http://www.bearlovesdove.com/ Little White Dove

    Pip chat and cuppa? Oh yeeees please! Ok, here goes with my top 3:

    1. Meditate – Empty your head! It doesn’t have to be all zen like, just be still, breath slowly, and try as best as possible to empty your mind of all the thoughts and to do lists. A little wishful daydreaming is also perfectly acceptable too as I reckon this help the dreams come true.

    2. Absorb – Fill your head! Not with anything but things that make your heart sing like fave music, books, blogs, movies, exercise, recipes, classes, craft… Keep learning new things and finding something to be interested in. Absorb the goodness of life in the areas of life that make you tick – and if you don’t know what makes you tick this will help you find it.

    3. Be kind to yourself! This little mantra is a pearl of wisdom my mum always says. We beat ourselves up without even realising that we are doing it half the time. Treating yourself kindly, like you would your nearest and dearest friend, is liberating – not only for you, but for those around you too. It kinda makes it OK for everyone to do it and I think the world would be a much happier place with a bit more kindness in it.

    Thanks for the never ending inspiration Pip :-)

    • http://www.justbaustralia.com.au/ Pip @ JustB

      Thank you for entering!! :)

  • Livemorecreatively

    1. Pick up my morning pages again to start the day off with a “flush”
    2. Take walks and smell all frangipannis in bloom before the season ends.

    3. Wake up just a touch earlier so I can notice the way the light is changing as the sun gently moves lower in the sky for the pass into Autumn.

    3a. Tell my mum I love her :) Sorry sneeked that extra one in because it’s vital.

  • Angela Hogan

    1. 1day a week, turn off electronics & alarm the night before and let yourself wake up naturally.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal and write down something every day that you are thankful for or that brings you happiness.
    3. Take a break each day & savor a great cup of coffee or tea, depending on your mood. : )

    Thank you!

  • Amy

    Lovely prize. Me please!
    1. Meditate
    2. Crazy, silly dancing and singing with my little people in the living room
    3. Appreciating nature

  • Reannon Hope

    I agree with all your points Pip!

    My three are-
    1. Know what makes you happy. Sometimes we confuse the things other people like with things we like. We don’t all have to like the same things! It’s ok to have things that make you happy but are not the same as your partner/friends/family.
    I made a list of all the things that make me happy a year or so ago & it’s nice to look back on the list & see if I can add or subtract anything

    2. Take time for yourself. When your a mum/partner/employee to let those roles take over your life but I think you need a few moments when it’s just about you!

    3. If you don’t like something change it! If something makes you unhappy & you can do something about it the DO IT! Don’t wait for others to do it make the change yourself.

  • lille be

    thanks for the tips! such a great reminder at the end of a european winter not to let the need for the australian sun get you down…
    my sanity/happiness tactics change, depending on where i am and what i’m doing. at the moment they consist of
    1. making time to watch the birds feeding outside the back door
    2. no matter how busy i get make/create things!
    3. get out of the house being outside makes you feel better! especially getting your hands dirty planting beautiful things that you’ll appreciate in better weather :)

  • Cate B

    Oh what fabulous blog post……and what a totally amazing prize!
    I’m a big believer in the greatest gift we can give anyone is our time, it’s a gift beyond measure .
    My little mantras for happiness….
    * don’t compare yourself to others, everyone has their own story and journey, yours is unique , celebrate it.
    * give back wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. Random acts of kindness are great serotonin stimulators….both for the giver and the receiver.
    * care for a pet…….dog, cat, goldfish, budgie, pet rock, whatever. Love and happiness will fill your life. Well, not sure how demonstrative a pet rock would be but it will never judge you or put you down! :)

  • Lucy D’Amico

    Pip, you’re such a clever gal! Thanks for sharing the love and helping us brighten our days :)
    My three tips:
    1. Listen to your favourite music & sing along at the top of your lungs (if you’re brave enough!) Music is the key to your soul and can make you shine from the inside out.
    2. Listen to your gut and take advice offered by others with a pinch of salt – rather than trying to please everyone else, know within yourself that these are your choices to make and you should be making them for you and not for everyone else – this is the only way to ever really be happy – let go of worrying about what everyone else thinks.
    3. Smile and laugh – even if you don’t feel like it….smile at a stranger as you walk down the street, the response of a smile returned will give you that little buzz you need. Laughter is the best medicine…don’t take life to seriously, it’s ok to be light hearted sometimes! Crack a joke, share a funny story or fake laugh so bad that it’ll make you crack up laughing at yourself hahaha…plus…it doubles as a good ab workout ;) WIN WIN!!

  • EIlidh

    Oh, I’d like to hear and see you in real skype life. Happiness tips..be grateful, don’t try to do too much and get your hands in the air, because hands in the air = fun!

  • http://twitter.com/hollysg holly stanton-gillan

    how lovely it would be to have a skype date with the you!

    I might be so in awe of being in your skype-y presence that I may not be able to speak, at least there’d be cookies there.

    speaking of cookies, my first tip for a happy life is:

    • make things: I suppose this is a sort of combination of your points 1 + 4. I find myself being very happy when I have set aside time to make things, a combination of stopping/switching off while still being creative/mentally energetic (is that a thing?!) so that you feel that little bit inspired, stimulated, motivated or refreshed…you know what I mean…I assume.
    whether it be making cookies, making lists, making music, making bunting….whatever it is, making things can be much more satisfying than spending your free time scrolling through news feeds, headlines and blogs. just setting aside time to ‘productively stop’, technology free, makes me happy.

    • watch the sun rise or set: I read somewhere that watching the sun rise or set gives off endorphins. Now, I don’t know whether that’s scientifically true or not but I am blessed to live in Byron Bay where the sun rises directly over some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and it does make me sublimely happy to see the colours in the sky and just be reminded that I am part of something bigger. there’s a whole world out there filled with billions of people…people who face hard stuff every day and get through it every day as well. despite my day to day insecurities, upsets and let downs watching that sun set seems to take my worries with it and watching it rise again sends light into my cluttered mind. there’s something just inexplicably therapeutic about it, the quietness and peace where for that 5 minutes, as the sun says it’s hellos or goodbyes, I can know that everything will turn out just fine and that makes me happy.

    • make your time quality: I’ve heard it said that, ‘life is good when relationships are good’, and I totally agree. I think humans were made to be in relationship with one another. note: I’m not talking about a facebook relationship. I enjoy nothing more than switching off my laptop, putting my phone on silent and sharing a pot of tea with friends. don’t be distracted. listen. then speak. well that just makes me the happiest.

    I suppose my tips on happiness are inspired by a quote I read recently that was simple but shocking, ‘stop the glorification of busy.’ pow. bam. I felt it. why do we feel so ‘good’ when we’re busy? like we’re proving ourselves? why do we even need to do that? why is it so important what we look like to others?

    after a teenie tiny health scare last year that saw me crumble a little bit, I just came to realise that none of that stuff matters.

    happiness matters.

    joy matters.

    you matter.

    p.s writing this made me very happy. thank you.

  • Erica

    Thanks Pip! Why didn’t I think of the journal thing !? It sounds so very me writing about all that fluff and stuff floating about in my head along with a bit of daily doodling, perfect!

    My happiness tips are!

    -Be yourself and try to have one of those silly/funny/ticklish/giggly/goofy moments everyday!

    -Love it up! Cuddles, kisses, sweet nothings…..

    -Do something you love everyday for yourself! My faves are reading , have a leisurely porridge for breakfast and being crafty with a crochet hook or needle and thread!

  • Lee

    My happiness tips are-
    * stop and take a moment to be grateful for something in your life – especially when your are feeling down
    * Get out there and make things happen – don’t sit in your lonely room complaining that things never happen for you
    * know that not everyone is going to like you – you don’t like everyone either and that’s ok.
    Cheers
    Lee

  • http://twitter.com/billienz1 Belinda

    #1 be outside for some time every day, preferably in the company of four curious chooks and the garden

    #2 smile at people, especially friends, and laugh a lot

    #3 choc chip cookies

  • jodi mollard

    Wow, what a most wonderful prize for a competition!!! My tips for happiness are:

    1) There is ALWAYS so much to do, no matter whether you have 5 children (like me!) or none, or more or less, but I think it is important to make time for creativity each day. This will vary from person to person, but could be crochet or cooking or painting or writing or sewing, or making a card for someone, etc. This outlet is very important for each of us, even if it is only for 5 minutes of the day…….

    2) Practice MINDFULNESS, put simply, not weighted down with worry or other emotions and feelings about the past or the future, but being PRESENT in what you are doing. It can be done throughout the day……whilst cooking, or hanging the washing out, having a glass of fresh water. It does take practice as the mind likes to wander, but to focus on what you are doing and not be ‘distracted’ by text messages, phone calls, etc will make a positive difference to how you feel. I have been suffering from depression, and this has also been a wonderful key to being happy and present!

    3) Each day do something you LOVE – no matter how silly or indulgent……reading a few pages of a book, singing/dancing (or both!) to your favourite music, watching an old favourite movie, having a relaxing bath, whatever takes your fancy really!!!

    These are some things that can really lift us and make us happy, so it is vital to take time out from work/children/house chores/ etc to do FUN and lovely things that make us happy inside…..it does make a difference in the long run, and we will be setting a great example for our friends, family and kids too!
    Jodi xo

  • Nelle

    My top three happiness tips are:
    PEOPLE – only hang with people that do and say things that make you happy. Haters will hate. Negative people drag you down. Being confident and inspired is the only way to get through the tough stuff.
    PLANNING – making time to think about what makes you happy and then working out how to fill your life with more of it, ensures you’re rarely stuck wondering how you ended up in such a pickle because you’re too busy on the journey! And if you do get stuck, you know you can plan a way out of it.
    PLEASURE – making sure you not only let yourself do things that make you happy but that you put time aside to do them!Doing things for pleasure, without ulterior purpose, is great.
    So: make a happy plan, to do pleasurable things, with good people. Thats it I think!

  • http://twitter.com/BELLA_and_WILL Catherine Jennings

    I’ve thought long and hard about this….top three, here goes:

    BAKE something – a big fat cake, a savory pie or even just bake a whole Camembert to dip bread or crisps in. Taking something hot out of the oven is instant pleasure!

    CAPTURE the moment – take a picture, buy a postcard, pick some flowers, take a leaflet, make a sketch. Document the small things that make you happy every day then look back and smile!

    CHAT to someone – your neighbour over the fence, the lady in the shop, phone your family, meet a friend for a cuppa and cake. Talking to anyone can share problems and share pleasures, do it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cmclairemurray Claire Murray

    Well currently I’m at my first year of uni and I was finding it hard because I felt so alone so I guess my first tip for happiness would be to go talk to someone. I was sitting down reading justb at uni and these two nice guys came and talked to me and now I have two new friends! Just getting to talk to someone new even if you won’t see them again will totally brighten up your day and make you realise how we’re not insular creatures. By definition humans like to be with other humans and so it’s so great to talk to someone. So build up the courage and go say hi to that man or woman sitting by themselves and talk to them. Your nervous with float away and you’ll be left feeling like you can make friends with everyone!!

    My second tip would be to listen to some community radio or read some community papers. In other words support someone locally, following their dreams, tell them that they rock. I study at the University of Technology, Sydney and I love picking up the student magazine Vertigo. It’s so hilarious and so informative and I also love tweeting at the editors and writers telling them how much I love their work. My friend Pip also has a show on community radio and she plays really cool music so it’s so great to support her, not only because she’s been my friend since I was four but because I also think she’s so very talented!! Everyone wants love so every so often pay someone a heartfelt compliment, it will brighten their day and hopefully it’ll encourage them to be loving to somebody else they see that day.

    My third tip would be to love your flaws. I don’t mean don’t grow. What I mean is that you can never really change unless you accept you for the way you are. Yes, it’s a paradox but it’s so true. Keep reading blogs, looking at photos, watching videos, meeting new people, attend religious services. It’s alright to let yourself be influenced by new ideas and different people. I’m studying Nursing and one of the ideas was the different opinions on what it means to have health. I really liked the idea that health encompasses all sides of yourself, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and others which I’ve probably left out. I’m follow Jesus and I think this is so true. I can be mentally, emotionally and physically well but when I’m lacking in my connection with God I don’t feel too good, kind of empty. So the third tip is love yourself for who you are because you were made that way and go out and experience life and keep growing to be the best version of you!

    If the images appear then they’ve all been taken by me, Claire Murray, in 2012. (Copyright: Claire Murray (2012))