International Day of Happiness was on Friday 20th March, did you miss it? Oh well don’t worry, you can wait until next year to be happy. Just kidding!

Do we really need a day to remind us to be happy? Surely this is something we should be feeling everyday (ok, well at least most days) isn’t it?

So are you happy? When you ask people ‘what do you want?’ most reply by saying, ‘I want to be happy’, but what does being happy even mean?

See the thing is, too many people are looking for external things to make them happy, when happiness is actually an inside job. When I realised this it made my life so much more, well, happier. Because when you realise that you are responsible for your own happiness it means you are in control rather than handing it over to other people or even worse, things.

Often we are pursuing material things or expecting others to make us happy, but ironically BEING happy can help us have better relationships, more fulfilling careers and make more money. Oh my god, we’ve got it the wrong way round!

Another key to remember is that we seem to think that we should be happy all of the time but there is no pleasure without pain. One of the keys to happiness is how we respond to adversity.

So if you’re feeling glum take action. Get moving because physical activity is good for the release of dopamine, your happy hormone. Do something good for someone else as compassion and loving kindness has been shown to make us happy because we stop focusing on ourselves. Random acts of kindness rock!

Play, new experiences, friends and family, doing things that are meaningful and appreciating what we have can increase our happiness and it cost nothing. As they say, the best things in life are free.

There is a definite benefit in cultivating your happiness. Research has shown that happy people are healthier and live longer, just ask the people of Okinawa in Japan, they have more centenarians per capita than any where else. Bhutan has got it right too, as a country they have started focussing on GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

So here is what makes me happy to name a few and in no particular order:

A vase of flowers on my window sill, hugs, A cup of tea and slice of cake (yes I do eat cake, just not everyday), the sun streaming through the window in the morning, cute puppies and fluffy kittens, a day at the zoo or farm, having a purpose, writing in my gratitude journal, dancing around the living room with music turned up when no one else is around, family gatherings, cooking for friends, walking barefoot on sandy beaches, singing, colouring in and lazy Sundays watching 80’s movies and comedies.

One thing is for sure, happiness is one of those things that the more you have the more everyone around you has too. IT’S CONTAGIOUS!

What makes you happy? Tell me in the comments below.

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