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Laughter Yoga as a way to Happiness?

Apparently it’s the latest thing….  Laughter Yoga is a form of Yoga specifically designed to improve well-being.

Laughter Yoga is a series of very simple breathing and clapping exercises, and laughter.

You might like to watch this 2 minute video about the benefits of laughter yoga.

Click here:

Fancy giving it a go?

As part of the happiness-related voluntary work I do,  I facilitate the Manchester Happiness Group.

Find us here:

For our next meeting, I have invited a Laugher Yoga Practitioner to give us a taster session.

Find out more and RSVP here:

Sounds fun – I can’t wait to try it.

You might be wondering how Laughter Yoga contributes to long-term happiness.  Practising it regularly achieves more than a short-term lifting of spirits.  This is because it taps into several of the keys to well-being that I mention in  my happiness report which you can download from this site.

Going to a class, especially a positive one, involves connecting with other people.  And engaging with others is one of the key things we can do more of to increase our feelings of happiness.  Another thing proven to make us feel better is doing any form of regular physical exercise, even something very low impact like walking or breathing exercises.

If you want to read more about the things you can do to feel better, download my report by clicking on the link top right on each page of this website.


Can exercise make you happier?

Can exercise make you happier ?  Really?

Yes, it can!

Stretching your body, with even gentle exercise, releases chemicals that enhance your mood.

Ways to stretch your body might include:

  • move more; be active; exercise;
  • join a yoga class, a walking group, or a sports club;
  • go outside and smell the flowers or play games with friends;
  • use movement, breath and proper rest to energise you

Our body and mind are connected – so not only does moving more make us physically healthier, being active makes us happier.

Questions to help you think about how to put more movement into your life:

1. How could you put more movement into your journey to work, or journeys to visit friends, etc?  E.g. get off the bus one stop earlier, cycle, etc

2. How could you put more movement into your day generally? E.g. take the stairs rather than the lift, etc.

3. What sort of activities might you enjoy doing outside, in the fresh-air, which would get you moving more? E.g. walking, playing Frisbee with friends…

4. What groups might you join that would involve movement? E.g. walking club, football team, aerobics classes….

5. What sort of movement have you never tried before, that you might fancy trying or learning? E.g. salsa dancing, rock-climbing, paragliding….

6. What do you do to help yourself to sleep well?
For more information on better sleep see:

7. What could you do to relax and breathe deeply, to get more oxygen to your brain, in a gentle way? E.g. yoga, meditation, etc
For more information on meditation see:

The questions above are just the starting point to thinking about how to put more movement into your life, but hopefully it has given you some food for thought…

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share what you have done to put more movement and/or exercise into your life, and how you felt afterwards – can exercise make you happier ?  – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

Use NLP to be happier

What is NLP and how can you use NLP to be happier?

NLP, or Neuro-linguistic Programming to give it its full title, is a set of tools that some coaches use with their clients.  I find that NLP techniques can help my clients to achieve even more powerful life-changes through their coaching with me.  It’s hard to describe in a sentence, but it works by using language to influence mind and behaviour, to make positive changes in our lives.

I won’t attempt to describe NLP techniques here (there are lots of different ways to use NLP to be happier).  But here are some basic ideas from NLP which, if taken to heart, and acted upon, can lead to real change:

  1. Be clear about what you want in life – Coaching helps with this one!  But it is about having a clear idea of where you are now, where you want to be, and a strategy to get there using the resources you have (or can get).
  2. Pay attention to all the feedback you get – Once you know what you want, and have a strategy, pay attention to what results you are getting – it’s all feedback.  Feedback helps you to know what to do next to keep you on track.
  3. Be flexible – keep fine-tuning what you are doing in the light of the feedback you get.  If what you are doing is not working, then try doing something else.  And the more choices you can create for yourself, the more strategies you have to get what you want, and the greater your chance of success.
  4. Choose to feel positive towards others and yourself, by believing that all actions have a purpose and a positive intention – we are always trying to achieve something, even if we may not realise what.  Our actions are to achieve something we value and that benefits us.  If someone seems to be behaving badly, or raising obstacles to you getting what you want, then remind yourself that a person is not their behaviour – when people can find a better choice of behaviour that also achieves their positive intention, then they will take it – be flexible – try to find choices, for both of you, that achieve a win-win for all involved.
  5. Take responsibility for communication – There are no failures in communication, only responses and feedback.  If you are not getting the results or responses you want, then change what you are doing, how you are saying things, and what you are saying.
  6. Believe that there are no unresourceful people, just unresourceful states of mind – so when you struggle with any of the above, pause, and think what you might do to put yourself in a better mental state, so that you can be flexible, see more options, feel better about others, etc. – it is tremendously empowering!

The ideas above are just the starting point in how to use NLP to be happier – there are a whole range of tools and techniques beyond these that I use with clients to make our coaching sessions powerful – I hope you have enjoyed this little taster!

Think about how you might apply the ideas above to the things you want to change in your life…

Got any questions?

Or, want to tell me what you think? – perhaps share how you have used the above, and how you felt afterwards.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

How to have happier relationships with others

The 7th step in my “Steps to a Happier Life” is to Engage with Others, and it is all about having happier relationships.

People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.

This has been on my mind over the Easter break, as I have connected with those close to me like my Father, who came to visit.

Springtime is full of new life, and some people celebrate springtime, or Easter, by giving one another eggs – I bought my Dad a mint chocolate egg, which seemed to go down well! The ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs for their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. Later, Christians began exchanging eggs as a symbol of Christ’s tomb (or the boulder at its entrance) from which they believe Jesus rose, alive once more, on Easter Sunday.

In many traditions then, eggs symbolise new life. And they are often exchanged as tokens of friendship, love, or good wishes.

Gifting small tokens is one of many ways we can strengthen our relationships and connections with others. And strong relationships become happier relationships, increasing our own happiness too.

Answer the questions below to get you thinking about your connections with others:

Which groups of people do you connect with at the moment? (e.g. family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, community groups, charities, hobbies, sports…)

What other groups exist nearby that you could consider getting involved with?

Who could you have some fun with this month, to strengthen your relationship? What might you do together?

What could you do to improve your relationship with your partner?  See this website for some ideas:

Who haven’t you telephoned for a while, that you could call?

Who haven’t you seen for a while, that you could arrange to meet up with?

Who could you connect with more at work, perhaps for lunch, or for a coffee/pint after work?

Think about all the relationships and connections in your life – list all the possible things that you could consider doing to strengthen them?

One of the things I work on with my coaching clients is building happier relationships with the people close to them.  Amongst other things I help people to examine their behaviours in their relationships, to identify any limiting beliefs about them that are holding them back and to take action to make all their relationships better.

The questions above are just the starting point to thinking about how better to engage with others and develop good social connections, but hopefully it has given you some food for thought…

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share what you have done to strengthen your relationships and develop new ones, and how you felt afterwards – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:


How to feel happier – accepting yourself

The second step in my “Steps to a Happier Life” is Accepting Yourself.

Research by Robert Holden has shown that your level of self-acceptance has a huge impact on your happiness: Accepting ourselves makes us feel happier because it empowers us and brings us resilience and contentment.

Some times it isn’t easy to accept yourself – perhaps because it can be easy to focus on your own failings rather than successes.  In coaching sessions I sometimes do work with people on changing their focus, to see some more of the positives about themselves.

One thing you can do is to write down at the end of every day, for at least a fortnight, 3 things you think you did well that day, or are proud of.

Over time you will start to see more and more things that you like about yourself.  This makes it easier to accept yourself as a whole package: no-one is perfect, but seeing some of the positives makes the negatives less significant.

As you start to see more positive things about yourself, and see fewer negatives, you will begin to love yourself for who you are, and be at peace with yourself.  It’s not about ignoring our faults, and I am not saying that one shouldn’t strive to be a better person: life, ideally, is a journey of self-growth.  But that journey will be far more enjoyable if we are at peace with ourselves, wherever we are on our path, as we travel!

Another key part of self-acceptance is to forgive yourself the mistakes of the past – leave them where they belong.

We are often so much harsher to ourselves than we would be with a friend who has made a mistake.  Time to be kind to yourself.

Complete this statement with 10 responses:

I will forgive myself for….

Write them down and then throw the piece of paper away, or burn it, and really let go of your mistakes.  Learn from mistakes, but free yourself from guilt.

Finally, dismiss your negative mind-chatter in order to feel comfortable with yourself – complete these statements with 10 responses:

One self-defeating attitude I want to give up is….

One self-defeating behaviour I want to give up is….

One of the things I work on with clients is how to give up their self-defeating attitudes and behaviours.  I also help clients to examine their beliefs about themselves to determine if their mind is telling them the truth – what real evidence do you have for your negative self-beliefs?

The things above are just the starting point to accepting yourself, but if you put them into action you should notice some real benefits.

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share what you have done to accept yourself more, and how you felt afterwards – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

Sleep Yourself Happy

Getting enough sleep is essential to health and happiness.

Here’s the why and how of being able to ‘sleep yourself happy’.


Scientific research (and experience) tells us that people who don’t get enough sleep are more irritable, have problems concentrating and remembering things, don’t cope well with stress, are more accident-prone and also come across to others as sad and pessimistic.

In other words, they are far more likely to be unhappy, and to spread that unhappiness to others.

If any of that sounds familiar then you are probably not getting enough sleep. Most adults function best on around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.


There are several things you can do to help you regularly get a good night’s sleep:

– Sleep on a good mattress – invest in a good quality one; after all, you spend a third of your life on it! And your mattress should be replaced roughly every 10 years or so

Go to sleep at roughly the same time each night (even at weekends); and if you have a daytime nap, make it for less than 30 minutes

Relax for an hour before bed-time, by avoiding any stimulating activity (e.g. work, strenuous exercise, TV, etc)

For the 4 hours before bedtime, drink only non-caffeinated soft drinks and don’t smoke – alcohol, caffeine and tobacco affect the quality of the sleep you have

Only use your bed for sleep and sex – no TV or reading in bed – then your mind will better associate being in bed with falling asleep

Put yourself in a positive frame of mind before bedtime – make peace with anyone you have argued with; de-clutter your mind by putting aside any negative events in your day; think instead of at least 3 things you have been grateful for that day

If all this doesn’t work, then speak to your doctor as it is possible that you have some kind of sleep disorder.

It really is possible to ‘sleep yourself happy’ or at the very least become happier, through getting a good night’s sleep regularly.

Tell me what you think – share what you have done to help yourself sleep better, and how it has affected your happiness levels – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

How to be a happier Mum

With mothers being on our minds this week, here are a few thoughts on being a happier mum, starting with a quote from Jackie Hall (Mum, and author of “The Happy Mum Handbook“):

“I threw a loaf of bread across the room and slammed a nearby bread knife on the kitchen bench so hard that it bounced off the bench and narrowly missed my son’s head. I screamed, “I HATE MY LIFE” and ran out of the kitchen into my bedroom crying uncontrollably…

My life had become a repetitive cycle of getting angry, losing the plot, feeling guilty and then hating myself for behaving this way… I realised that no fairy godmother was going to come out and wave her magic wand and suddenly make me happy.

So who else could by my advocate for change?

The answer was: Only I could.”

She is right – change comes from within. A good catalyst for change, like a life-coach or a good self-help book, can help us to move forward. But ultimately we change because of our own strong desire to do so.

Mums that come to me for coaching often feel that making changes to become happier is essential for them – after all, how can you hope to raise happy children if you don’t know how to be a happy yourself?

There are lots of things one can do to feel happier, but here are a couple to get you started.

Give your body the gift of Exercise:

This week is a great time for mums to review their health goals and access to exercise opportunities. Regular, fun exercise is an essential part of living healthier lives, not least because it lifts our mood and makes us feel happier.

Here’s a link to a great article about getting more active to feel healthier, a “prescription for women’s wellness”:

Give your mind the gift of thinking about how to be happier:

If coaching isn’t an option for you at the moment, then you can get some ideas about being a happier mum from the book “How to be a Happy Mum”, written by Siobhan Freegard of

The book identifies the top 10 stresses mothers have to cope with and looks at how to overcome them to find greater happiness at home. You can buy the book here:

(I should say that I make no financial gain from you buying it – I am recommending it because a couple of my clients have found it helpful!)

Give yourself the gift of time:

Before the walls close in and you start gasping for child-free air, make time for yourself to have a break from the kids. Take a walk. Go for coffee with a friend. Talk to some adults! Read a book. Do something you used to do before you had children, but have let slip. Spend some quality time with your partner, to nurture that relationship.

Also, work out how best to manage your time so that you can get the most out of each day, whilst meeting your own needs as well as those of your family.

Tell me what you think – share what you have done to help / give to people, and how you felt afterwards – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

How to feel happier, by helping others

The first step in my “Steps to a Happier Life” is to Help Others.

Research (by Lyubomirsky, Seligman, and others) has repeatedly shown that helping and giving to others makes us feel happier.

It needn’t be about giving money to friends/charities, though that is a nice thing to do. We can give our time, our support, our ideas, our energy and/or physical strength. We might do these things for friends and family, or for strangers; we might volunteer to join a community group.

We can also help others in little ways: by sharing positivity and spreading loving kindness. This might be by expressing gratitude, thanking someone for something they have done; or by sharing something positive like a joke or a happy story; or it might be as simple as smiling at people we come into contact with.

My coaching clients take action to feel happier, and often simple things seem to have a huge effect.   Here are some ideas for things you can do to spread some happiness and thus feel happier yourself:

1) Smile at 5 strangers today; better still, strike up positive conversations with some of them.

2) Take the time to write a letter / email to someone to thank them for something they have done that has had a positive impact on your life – tell them the effect it had.

3) Pick one day each week to perform 5 acts of kindness to friends and strangers, or perform a different act each day – these must be things you do deliberately and consciously (it doesn’t work to look back over the last 24 hours and work out what you did that might count) – acts could include: buying cakes for people at work, visiting a friend, passing on a book you enjoyed, helping someone with their shopping, giving up your seat on the bus, etc

Questions to think about:

1) Who could you give some time to this month?
2) Who might benefit from your ideas at the moment?
3) Who would appreciate your support right now?
4) Who struggles to do the cleaning / gardening / shopping, that you could give your physical strength / energy to this week?
5) What community groups are in need of volunteers, that you could consider helping?

Tell me what you think – share what you have done to help / give to people, and how you felt afterwards – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

Are you a failure?

How we feel about ourselves, and our failures, can have a huge impact on our happiness.

One of my ‘steps to a happier life’ is to Accept Yourself, to love yourself for who and what you are.

Do you tend to feel awful about your failures?  Acceptance is something many of my clients struggle with: it can be hard not to beat yourself up for your mistakes.

Yesterday I tweeted a great quote from Zig Ziglar – “Failure is an event not a person: yesterday ended last night; today is your brand new day.”

Part of accepting ourselves is giving ourselves permission to forgive our mistakes of our past and leave them where they belong, in the past. We need to accept our failures, move on, and learn to be at peace with ourselves.

One way to accept our mistakes is to realise what we gain from them. When Shawn Anchor was researching his book, “The happiness advantage”, he found that study after study had shown that if we think of a failure as an opportunity for personal growth, we are far more likely to experience that growth.

And there’s a saying in the coachng world that I often remind my clients of:

there’s no such thing as failure; only feedback.”

So, to answer the question at the start of this article:

Are you a failure?


Failure is an event not a person, and that event provides us with helpful feedback. The challenge lies in interpreting that feedback, in order to decide on a better course of action next time.

Working out what we have learned from a failure, and what we will do differently next time, is something my clients sometimes bring to our coaching sessions.

Questions you might consider are:

1) Put it in perspective: on a scale of 1 to 10 how awful is this failure, really?
2) What actions could I take to improve the current situation?
3) What resources do I have that might help?
4) What resources do I need, and where will I get them?
5) Thinking about where I feel I failed, what have I learned from this feedback?
6) What personal strengths and skills do I have that I can use in this area in future?
7) Considering all this, when a similar situation arises again what can I do differently?

I believe that the only significant difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is PERSISTENCE – that ability to fail, then pick yourself up and try again, and keep on trying, until you achieve what you want to achieve.

Don’t let failure hold you back – it’s just one of the steps on your life’s path.

Tell me what you think – share what your failures have taught you and how you have turned them around.

Leave a comment here, or email me:

How to Motivate Yourself – 2 key ingredients of motivation

During coaching sessions, I help my clients to work out what steps they can take to improve their lives and feel happier. But how, they ask, can I keep up my motivation to take these steps?

Psychologists have done lots of research into what motivates us to take action and make changes, and there are 2 core themes to come out of the research –

To motivate yourself to do just about anything, the 2 key ingredients you need are:

1) Importance

Increasing the importance of your next step creates more motivation to do it. So you need to find a reason for doing it that gives you something you REALLY want.

Logical reasons, no matter how much sense they make, will often fail to motivate us. So, you need to work out what reasons will, for you, make the actions you need to take feel important.

2) Confidence

Increasing your confidence that you CAN take the next step also creates more motivation.

Having little confidence that you can succeed will set you up for failure, no matter how important your task seems.  So, you need to arm yourself with the proper tools, skills and know-how to succeed – this will help you to feel confident in your ability to take action.

– – – –

We all know that losing weight would make us healthier, and most of us are confident we know roughly how to do it (exercise more, eat less fatty food, etc), but somehow we still can’t seem to stick to a weight-loss plan.

That’s because being healthier often doesn’t seem an important enough reason (even though logically it should be) to slim down.

But there’s nothing like a marriage proposal, or an impending school reunion, to give us that incentive to take action so that we will look good in our posh dress or suit!  It makes losing weight more important to us.

Similarly, if that stack of laundry isn’t getting done, it isn’t because we lack confidence in how to do it. It would soon get done if we knew there was a million pounds waiting for us at the bottom of it (or something else we value)!

So if you are struggling to motivate yourself to do something, then firstly find ways to increase its importance:

  • What reasons do I have to do this? 
  • What will doing this give me? 
  • What will make this goal/task really important to me?

Sometimes, feeling the importance of something isn’t enough.

In that instance we probably lack some confidence in our ability to do it. We need to work out what tools we need (what knowledge or skills we are missing) that would enable us to take action.

Think about how your motivation in any situation changes when you feel confident you know exactly how to approach it.

If I offered you 3 wishes from a magic genie in return for building me a new brick wall in my garden, you would probably consider it very important to build the wall but (unless you are a bricklayer) you would be stuck – you would lack confidence in your skills, and probably wouldn’t be able to motivate yourself to do it at all… until I offered you a free brick-laying course first!

So if you are struggling to motivate yourself to take action, ask yourself these questions about your confidence:

  • What are the tasks involved? 
  • What tools, skills and knowledge do I need to have in order to perform these tasks? 
  • Am I confident I have these skills etc? 

And if you aren’t confident, then set about getting the know-how you need in order to feel confident to take your next steps.

– – – –

Both motivational ingredients must be in place for us to be motivated: a reason, that we feel is important, to take action AND confidence in our ability to do so.

Subscribers to my newsletter can read more motivational tips in my next monthly newsletter, coming out soon.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

Leave a comment here, or email me, or tweet me!

What problems are you facing which you lack motivation for at the moment?

How do you go about motivating yourself? What have you found works for you?