Happiness Book Club 5: How to be happier

Vanessa King, positive psychology expert at Action for Happiness, recommends a book every month to improve our happiness levels


Happiness Book Club 5: How to be happier

Psychological research into what helps us lead happier lives has exploded in the last few years, but if it just exists in academic journals, what good is it? That’s why I wrote 10 Keys to Happier Living – A Practical Handbook for Happiness (Headline, £12.99), to help people get to know the active ingredients in happiness, those areas where we can take action in our daily lives.

The 10 keys are a menu, not a prescription. We’re all different, so what works for us varies. It will also vary at different times, too. When things are going well, it’s good to know how to maintain and enhance that and, when we’re facing challenges, other actions help us to pull through. Explore what works for you.

One habit I’ve developed since learning about its benefits for my mind is moving more. I make sure to get outside each day for a jog or a walk – even if only for 10 minutes. This helps me think more clearly, creatively and effectively, and also helps me cope with stress.

Experimenting, trying new things and learning are all keys to happiness. As well as being a source of pleasure and fulfilment, they can fuel our creativity. You don’t have to take a big plunge – just get curious and learn or try something new.

Three questions to discuss this month:

  • What daily actions that you do currently most contribute to your happiness?
  • What ways of thinking help lift you up when you feel down?
  • What one new happiness-boosting activity will you try?

For more on Action for Happiness, go to actionforhappiness.org. Create your own Happiness Book Club here.

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Photograph: iStock

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