Monday, 25 June 2007

Happiness Tools

Top 10 Happiness Tools

Following on from yesterday's post about the Open University Psychological Society's Psychology of Wellbeing Conference , I'd like to share with you the Top 10 Happiness Tools, devised by Dr Richard Stevens, Dr Jane Henry, Linda Corlett and Nevia Mullan , which were tried and tested during the BBC2 documentary ‘Making Slough Happy’.

1. Physical exercise - take half an hour of exercise three times a week.
2. Count your blessings - see our previous post for more information.
3. Set aside some time for talking to your partner or closest friend - an hour long, uninterrupted conversation.
4. Plant something (pot, container, window box) and tend it carefully.
5. Cut your TV viewing by half.
6. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once a day.
7. Phone a friend - make contact with someone you haven't seen for a while and arrange to meet up.
8. Have a good laugh at least once a day.
9. Give yourself a real treat every day and take the time to savour it.
10. Do a good turn for someone every day - see this post for further information, or look at Random Acts of Kindness for ideas.

To this list, and following Bernard Gesch's nutritional advice mentioned in yesterday's post, we would also add:
11. Ensure you're getting the recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and minerals.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be looking at some of the research which supports these Happiness Tools.

Stevens et al suggest you try using them for two months and see the difference they make to your happiness. On average they made the citizens of Slough 33% happier, so they can work for you too. Let us know how you get on.


Yang-May said...

"Smile at a stranger"

The one single thing that changed everything for me was "Act as if" - so if I was feeling a bit low or grumpy, I'd try and act as if I was positive and cheerful. It meant that people responded more warmly towards me and that itself made me feel more positive and cheerful ie in a real way and I could then actually BE positive and cheerful.

Great advice, Bridget!

Neil said...

I've been to Slough. If this can make people who live there happier then I think it could definitely be a huge countrywide success.

Seriously, this is an excellent exercise and I think it's something that would be extremely interesting as a countrywide experiment - perhaps the BBC might be interested in the project, following on from the Slough programme?

p.s. Perhaps Sir John Betjeman would have been forced to compose a new ode to Slough were he here to observe the transformation.