3 Simple Ways To Be Happy

And they’re free!

Last year, I completed a course that allowed me to deep dive into the science of happiness — something I’ve explored over the years with my mindfulness and meditation training. However, I was ready to immerse myself deeper into the neuroscience of it all. It was fascinating!

So, I wanted to share three simple and proven strategies to bring more presence and happiness into your days. And it’s all free and already at your fingertips!

Here we go…

1) Gratitude: being aware and grateful for moments of happiness.

We’re all aware of the power of gratitude — it’s almost become a little cliched. But that’s because it works. If we wallow in a world of all that is wrong in our lives, we saturate ourselves with negativity. But if we accept that even when things are tough, there are still things we’ve enjoyed or appreciated, we see the glimmers and the sparkles in our day.

When I first began being aware of how grateful I felt, many years ago, I wrote a daily gratitude diary. This was useful to establish a routine and a habit but, honestly, it became just another thing I had to do in my already busy day.

Research says that if you take time just once a week to consider three things that made you happy over the past week — that is enough to improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. Aim to write them down each week.

Rather than scribbling down a quick:

“I loved hugging my daughter”

“I enjoyed going for a walk”

Think about the detail and note the moment in all its magic:

“I loved hugging my daughter — the sweet smell of her hair and the feeling of her tiny heartbeat reminds me of holding her as a newborn and feeling that little heartbeat against my chest”.

“The morning sunshine was stunning today – even though it still had a crispness in the air, seeing the blossom on the trees and hearing the birds sing made me feel like I could cope with whatever the day had in store.”

It’s still just one sentence, but I can tell you that reading back through the more detailed version brings all the happy vibes!

I now keep a gratitude jar and write on little pieces of paper as and when I feel grateful. Sometimes I might have several in a week, and other times a few weeks may pass before I remember to write them, but by the end of the year it’s bursting with moments. And reading them through on New Year’s Eve, as I stick them in a book, is beyond beautiful.

Through regular reflections of gratitude, you also begin to notice that the things that make you truly happy are the seemingly insignificant things in life — the people, the food, nature, moments of quiet, doing something you enjoy that reminds you of being a kid — dancing, sport, playing.

Over time, you begin to notice these moments all the time and life becomes a happier, more meaningful place to be.

2) Mini ‘breathing space’ meditations:

There’s a misconception that meditation has to be about sitting cross-legged in a quiet room with a totally clear mind.

The reality is that meditation is something you can weave into the fabric of your days, little and often. It’s this form of meditation that was my most used survival tool back in the overwhelming, overflowing days of the corporate world and education leadership.

Here’s what you do (in a simple ABC structure if that helps you remember):


Stop what you’re doing and be aware of the moment you’re in.


Close your eyes for a moment if it helps. As you breathe, bring your awareness to your breath (feel the breath as it comes into your body and then as it leaves – don’t try to change it or control it, just observe the breath – feeling the sensation as it enters and leaves your body).

Ask yourself how you’re feeling — check in with your body — is it tense? Is your heart beating quickly? Are you holding on to any areas of tension?

Check in with your emotions — how are you feeling? Know that it’s ok to feel whatever you’re feeling and continue to feel your breath.

Imagine breathing out what you don’t need anymore (tension, confusion, impatience, overwhelm — whatever you need to let go of) and visualise breathing in what you do need (calm, perspective, love, clarity — whatever you feel you need to carry with you).


Carry this calm and clarity with you as you continue with your day.

You can do this anywhere. You really can. It takes just a moment — a minute or so at most.

I began by integrating mini meditations each time I made a coffee, when walking from one place to another, when washing my hands, even in a meeting — especially useful when you feel frustrated by the way a conversation is heading. It’s a conscious way to get off the treadmill, check in with yourself, regulate your breathing and find clarity on how to move forward.

Over time, these mini-meditations help create new neural pathways in our brains and increase our resilience, our ability to handle stress, and our overall happiness.

3) Kindness:

I’ve said it once already — it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Kindness can be as simple as a smile and a ‘good morning’ or asking somebody how they are doing and genuinely listening.

My daughter describes kindness as ‘spreading the colour’ — as if life is all a bit grey until you have kindness and then bit by bit, it spreads, adding gorgeous vibrancy and colour to your days.

I imagine kindness like glitter. Have you noticed how glitter goes everywhere? And then it sticks. You can have a fleck of glitter on your face for hours – days even — it’s the same with kindness. If someone is kind to you, it’s contagious. It sticks. You’re more likely to be kind to others and in being kind to others, you fuel your inner contentment.

And it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture… just a smile, holding a door open, helping someone, putting your phone away and genuinely listening.

The hardest thing to do is to be kind to yourself — to show yourself compassion, to go to bed early, to nurture your body, to take a moment for yourself, to do something you enjoy without feeling guilty.

It may begin as a conscious exercise but over time, in consciously being kind, you become kinder and notice moments of kindness all around you. Ultimately, you become more grateful for all these small but magical moments of human thoughtfulness and connection.

That’s my starter for ten — a reminder of three strategies to bring more happiness to your days.

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