How To Be Happy

We’ve got a question for you: are you happy?

It’s such a simple question, yet the answer is not always so easy. We’ll bet it’s not something you really stop to think about often.

As university students, we have very busy lives. With all the contact hours, independent study, deadlines, societies, social lives, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, possible part-time jobs and getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, it can often be hard to find time for yourself. It may be the case, as it was for me, that you’re unhappy, yet have been too busy to even notice.

That’s why we want you to find time in your jam-packed schedule to do some of the things on this list. Whether you’re happy or not, these activities will be sure to boost your mood!

Write down reasons to be cheerful

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Whether you sit down right now and create a list of things to be cheerful about, or whether you jot down things down as you notice them throughout the day, being able to see all of the things that make you happy can make you realise just how long that list is. It’s good to get into the mindset of trying to find the positive things in life, rather than focusing on the negative.

Talk to family and friends

Speaking to people about things that you’re worried or upset about can put things into perspective, and nine times out of ten you’ll realise that your mind has blown things wildly out of proportion. You’re stressing about things to an unwarranted degree, trust me!

Even if it’s the one time that your stress is justified, your friends and family may be able cheer you up and put a smile on your face.

As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.


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People think that happiness leads to smiling, but the reverse can also be true! Even if you don’t feel like smiling, fake a smile for 30 seconds. Studies have found that smiling releases the chemicals dopamine and serotonin in the brain which elevates your mood.

Do something nice for someone else

Studies have found that people who do nice things for others rather than for themselves have a lower risk of depression and greater overall happiness. So, bake your best friend a cake, hold a door open for somebody, volunteer in your spare time! It doesn’t matter what you do, but doing something nice for somebody else will make you feel good too.

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Appreciate the little things

There are some things that we get used to and stop appreciating. Little things, little moments that are beautiful but we don’t even notice… well, it’s time to start noticing them again! Just today, I went on a walk and appreciated what a pretty shade of blue the sky was, got home and made myself a lovely cup of tea, then found a pound coin in my pocket that I’d forgotten about! It really is the little things in life!

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I always thought that exercise and happiness were mutually exclusive, but exercise actually releases endorphins that make us happier! So, you should definitely aim to dedicate at least 30 minutes of your day to exercise, for the sake of your physical and mental health. Why not go for a brisk walk outside (the outdoors has also been proven to make people happier), listen to music (which releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical) whilst on the treadmill, or play a game of badminton with a friend? You might find yourself feeling better afterwards.

Do things you enjoy and make time for yourself

Whether you love going for a swim, baking or grabbing coffee with friends, do it! But also schedule some time for yourself to just relax. If you’re always on the go, even if you are doing things you enjoy, you can start to feel burnt out, so make sure you find time to unwind. Read a book, watch your favourite Netflix show or take a bubble bath. Self care is important.

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Get disconnected

I love my smartphone as much as the next person, but spending some time away from social media can really boost your mood. A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania found that Facebook is linked to depression. Spending your time scrolling through the highlights of everyone else’s life makes you feel bad about your own imperfections. But everyone has their struggles, they just don’t post them on social media. This means you end up feeling like the only person whose life isn’t perfect! So, take some time away from social media, stop looking at what everyone else has, and you’ll start to appreciate the things you have.

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In the same vein as taking a break from social media is taking a break from screens altogether. Ever been to a concert and noticed almost everyone in the room is looking at their phone screen while filming the performer? Don’t be that person! Put that phone away and live in the moment! As cheesy as it sounds, stop living your life through a screen. Appreciate what’s right in front of you while it’s there, you’ll feel better about it!

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