20 simple ways to live a happy and fulfilling life

By Maria Kyriacou

20 simple ways to live a happy and fulfilling life
Try these simple tips to add a bit of sunshine to your day.
  1. Smile big – Scientists discovered that the “Duchenne smile” (where lip corners go up and eyes become super crinkly), combines muscles that trigger a sensory response of increased enjoyment.
  2. Take a yoga laughter class – Why opt for regular downward dog when these classes can make you feel all the joyful feels through playfulness? Gentle breathing and stretching exercises, ending with a laughter meditation allows spontaneous laughs to flow from the body.
  3. Live closer to where you work – Travelling in traffic can be “a different kind of hell every day” according to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. Why spend less time with your family and friends and more money on travelling?
  4. Turn your commute time into leisure time – Not everyone can work close to home, so invest in some comfortable headphones and block out the chaos of the train or bus with some soothing music. Put your work folder away and choose a novel to lose yourself into. You’ll be making a much more relaxed arrival to your destination.
  5. Increase your nutrient intake – PMS getting you down? Have a glass of milk or salmon for lunch. Add some calcium to your diet as it has the power to regulate your mellow mood. Decreased energy levels can trigger depression so keep track of your iron levels.
  6. Cop a cocoa hit – Indulging in this fail-safe favourite makes you optimistic. Scientists discovered that people who prefer chocolate are less likely to feel lonely or depressed.
  7. Trust your instincts – Next time you have a decision to make, go with your gut. Agonising over choices can lead to stress and analysing them afterwards leads to regret so stick with your gut.
  8. Be true to you – not owning up to who you really are is exhausting for you and uncomfortable for others.
  9. Exercise more – it may be difficult to get started, but once you’re in a routine of regular exercise the benefits soon become obvious. Exercise boosts your endorphin levels leading to a happiness high.
  10. Sleep – Having a great rest means you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions. Scientists from the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab in California found participants in their study who worked through the day non-stop versus those who took a nap became progressively more irritable.
  11. Be a pro-social spender – Spending money on others promotes happiness in ourselves. A study where participants could either buy up big for themselves or others found the greater happiness quotient belonged to those who went shopping for their friends and family.
  12. Love your job – The old adage “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” runs true. Doing a job you hate leads to misery affecting your immune system, relationships and can even make you gain weight.
  13. Act like a kid – Hang out with a child and observe how they live their life. Most kids aren’t thinking about their spelling tests in three days, or what they’ll eat for dinner in six hours. Staying in the child-zone keeps you laughing.
  14. Sex – A healthier sex life is a sure fire way to amp your serotonin, also known as your feel-good hormone, according to Californian Psychiatrist Sheenie Ambardar. She says sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that can rev up your brain’s pleasure and reward system, while also boosting intimacy with your partner.
  15. Grab some alone time – getting up 20 minutes before the rest of your household, and enjoying a quiet cup of tea or coffee can set your mood for the day. Savour your-me time, to counter the madness of the morning rush.
  16. Limit your to-do list to 3 daily goals – Don’t overwhelm yourself with a staggering amount of jobs. Overloading leads straight to confusion and stress-city. Aim to complete your three most important jobs for the day. Once completed feel the satisfaction of ticking them off one by one.
  17. Take a trip – According to a study by the International Society for Quality-of-life Studies, people who travel are happier than those who don’t. The happiness begins the moment you book the trip, with the building anticipation. Escaping the daily grind, learning new things or just simply relaxing releases happy hormones. Treasured memories from your holiday are just another added bonus.
  18. Keep a Gratitude Journal – make a habit of writing daily notes about what has inspired your day, who you love being around or what made you smile. Keeping track of what you’re grateful for is a great way to focus on the positive aspects of your life.
  19. Adopt a furry friend – People who have pets are happier according to a study led by Allen R McConnell, of Miami University in Ohio. The findings published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, show that pet owners have “happy characteristics” such as high self-esteem, are extroverted and physically fit.
  20. Catch up with Friends – A study found that people who are more socially active tend to ooze happiness. Make the time to meet up with friends and family and you could be setting yourself up for contentment.

What is your sure fire tip to happiness?


5 minutes to a happier you

The science of being happy

How to draw a happiness map


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login