The Principle of Happiness

Whilst on holiday in Scotland recently, I picked the weekend Guardian, and having time to sit down and read the supplement all about happiness (being on holiday and chilled…and it was raining…), I liked a lot of the principles.

The various articles outline the fact that happiness research has come a long way. Research has hit upon a list of principles and activities that can have a lasting effect:


  • Express gratitude every day (sounds cliched, but “attitude diaries” where you list 3-5 things regularly for which you are currently thankful seem to work even for the most cynical!)
  • Cultivate optimism; visualise a future in which everything has tuned out the way you want it
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoid obsessing over things or paying too much attention to what others are doing
  • Practice acts of kindness; more than you are used to
  • Make time for friends; be supportive and loyal
  • Develop coping strategies; write down your feelings when you are feeling upset and try to see that traumatic evenets often make us stronger
  • Learn to forgive
  • Immerse yourself in activities and be open to new people and new places
  • Savour life’s joys; linger over a sandwich rather than just mindlessly consuming it
  • Work towards meaningful works/goals
  • Practice religion and/or spirituality
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend your money on experiences, not objects