Tag Archive for Happiness steps

Think Yourself Happy

Is it possible to ‘think yourself’ happy?  

One of the things that people forget, is how much control we have over our own happiness.  And this is in large part because of the amount of control we can choose to have over our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.  We can choose to think in ways that tend to make us happy, or in ways that tend to make us sad.

To be happy you must be your own sunshine.

~ Charles Edward Jerningham

And, as well as choosing to see the positives in our life, we can think ourselves happy by letting go of things that we cannot change:

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquillity and outer effectiveness become possible.

~ Epictetus, The Art of Living

In the Christian tradition there is a prayer which I use as a meditation:

Grant me

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

the courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference

So today, why not consider the areas of your life that you feel unhappy with, and use the questions below to reflect on them while being mindful of control, acceptance, courage and wisdom – take the first step to ‘thinking yourself’ happy:

1)  What things do I have some control over, and what things don’t I have control over?  

2)  How can I accept and come to terms with the things beyond my control?

3)  What can I do differently to change, for the better, the things I do have some control over?

4)  How else can I “be my own sunshine”?

What do you think? – share your thoughts on these quotes, and happiness in general – how do you think yourself happy? – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk


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: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk


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: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk

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: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk