Three steps to becoming happier

Something as simple as fresh bed sheets or spotting a squirrel in the park can make us smile. But real, lasting happiness takes work. To help you make a start, here are three practical things you can do today.

1. Start a gratitude journal

Each week you write down five experiences from the previous week that you feel grateful for (the entries can be about anything, big or small). The aim – backed up by research at the University of California – is to help you appreciate positive events that you might otherwise take for granted.

2. Get rid of the clutter

The writer Graham Hill suggests we edit the material objects in our lives, asking ourselves, ‘Will this make me happier?’ about each one. Think about how little you can live with and picture the freedom a smaller footprint will give you. You’ll end up with more space and a lot less stuff to worry about.

3. Get good at doing nothing

Turn off any distractions and find somewhere quiet. Try to do and think nothing for 10 minutes. There’s no need to sit crossed legged or burn incense – just focus on the moment and get things in perspective. In Britain, this technique of mindfulness is even prescribed by the NHS as a treatment for depression.

What would you suggest as a fourth tip? Share your happy advice in the comments.

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