The children who visited my house during January had a set of the popular Mr Men books. Mr Happy smiles a lot and spreads his sunshine around, Mr Grumpy seems to carry a black cloud around with him and so on. Each character is locked in to which ever adjective he or she is known by. Fortunately we don’t have to be locked into a perpetual state of misery like Mr Grumpy for example; We have the power to adjust our attitude. If we expect to be happy we will have a better day. Even when things don’t go so well there will always be something pleasant to notice.

1. Start the day with breakfast and a plan. Coffee on its own is not breakfast, although may be a welcome addition. Breakfast raises our blood sugar level and kickstarts our metabolism for the day, getting us off to a good start. My suggestion is to make it something super easy to prepare; a cereal like unsweetened muesli or oatmeal, with milk and fruit that you don’t have to think about every day helps to create a habit. If that doesn’t work for you then think of something easy that includes some protein for lasting power, fruit or veg for nutrition, complex carbohydrate for energy and a small amount of fat for nutrition and staying power. Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat unless you consume too much. Some people like to organise their time at the end of each day so they start each new day with a purpose; others like to start early and spend a few minutes at the beginning of the day diarising their priorities. If we start with the most important task, or the most difficult, we set ourselves up for success, and it’s a good feeling to get the hard stuff over with.

2. Smile a greeting to people you encounter; family members, people you regularly see on your way to work, workmates, colleagues, staff. When you smile at people they will usually smile back. However even if they don’t your effort will make you feel better.

3. Pay genuine compliments and notice when others do something well, especially those close to you because they can easily feel taken for granted.  Appreciate someone who gives you good service. Say please and thank you.

4. Plan to end your day eight hours before you need to rise. A good night’s sleep works miracles. Develop a calm evening ritual; turn off the television and all electronics a good hour before bedtime, play soft calm music if you like it, read something recreational, enjoy quiet conversation with your partner. Be creative, develop your own routine from things that you enjoy. Limit alcohol to one standard drink for women, two for men if that’s what you enjoy and allow for three alcohol free days each week. Your liver will thank you.

5. End the day reflecting on three things that went well and what it was that contributed. What did you do, was someone else instrumental to your success. It’s natural to go over problems that need to be evaluated, and corrected if necessary but don’t be velcroed to them.

So what’s one extra thing you can do today that will make you happier?


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