This blog post was originally written for, and posted on All The Buzz.

Last month, the charity Action for Happiness released the results of a survey they completed trying to find out what makes us happy. They compiled a list of things science shows tends to improve happiness, and asked people to mark which of the activities they completed, and how happy they were. These habits (with their average score from 0-10) were…

  1. Giving (Doing things for others) – 7.41
  2. Relating (Connecting with people) – 7.36
  3. Exercising (Taking care of your body) – 5.88
  4. Appreciating (noticing the world around you) – 6.57
  5. Trying Out (Keep learning new things) – 6.26
  6. Direction (having goals to look forward to) – 6.08
  7. Resilience (finding ways to bounce back) – 6.33
  8. Emotion (take a positive approach) – 6.74
  9. Acceptance (be comfortable with who you are) – 5.56
  10. Meaning (be a part of something bigger) – 6.38

Are you surprised to find that income, money and position in society didn’t make the list? Often we think that next raise will make us happier, or if we could just get those new shoes we’ve been eyeing. What makes us happy are the small healthy habits we can work on each day. The researchers also found that the habit with the highest association with reported happiness was self-acceptance, yet it was the habit that people were the least likely to perform.

As Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, said

“Our society puts huge pressure on us to be successful and to constantly compare ourselves with others. This causes a great deal of unhappiness and anxiety. These findings remind us that if we can learn to be more accepting of ourselves as we really are, we’re likely to be much happier. The results also confirm us that our day-to-day habits have a much bigger impact on our happiness than we might imagine”.

So, do you want to improve your happiness? Action for Happiness has provided many great materials to help you start working on each of these ten easy, everyday steps to work towards improving your levels of happiness. You can view their Action Pack HERE for free!

Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.

10 Easy Steps to Improve Your Happiness
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