It is possible to feel slightly happier every day - for free. That's according to Dr Teresa Belton, an education expert at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the author of Happier People Healthier Planet, who gave i100.co.uk these tips:
1. List five things for which you are grateful – whether big things or small
"For example I live in a country where there’s easy access to clean, running water; I can read and write; it was good to see the shop assistant’s smile this morning; I just caught the post with my urgent letter. Doing this every week for ten weeks has a real effect: research has shown that this practice results in lasting, measurable increases in wellbeing, as it gets us into the habit of seeing our life through a positive lens."
2. Give stuff away
"Creating space by de-cluttering relieves stress and gives us a feeling of lightness; giving away possessions, donating them to charity, rather than selling them, is a form of generosity and being generous makes us feel good. Look through your belongings and get rid of things that you just don’t use."
3. Go for a walk in woods or fields, or visit your local park
"Time spent in green surroundings has been shown time and again to be calming and restorative. Even a green view is beneficial. If you can’t see any trees or shrubs from your window buy some plants for indoors."
4. Invite someone to tea
"Or offer to help your neighbour with their garden, leaking pipe, shopping, etc.; take up regular voluntary work. Social connectedness, a sense of community, feeling needed, and making a positive difference in the world all contribute a great deal to our own satisfaction with life."
5. Get stuck into something
"Active engagement is a major factor in personal wellbeing and if you really enjoy your chosen activity and it stretches you a bit you will lose yourself in it and experience a wonderful sense of “flow”, forgetting about yourself in solo endeavours and feeling closer ties to others in collaborative ones."
6. Fix a time and ring a friend for a good long chat
"People who have a number of friends with whom they can discuss things that are important to them are much happier than those who can’t or don’t. Having cordial relationships, whether with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues or fleeting acquaintances, is fundamental to personal wellbeing."
7. Be playful
"Playfulness brings new possibilities, creativity, practical solutions, aesthetic pleasure, interest, new skills and achievement."
8. Take charge
"Make a decision or take an action you have been putting off. Feeling in control of one’s life and being proactive is important for subjective wellbeing."
9. Get physical
"Physical activity gets us out of our heads and generates endorphins which make us feel good; dig the garden, cycle, walk or dance."