There are so many fascinating and intriguing articles out there on happiness.

They are becoming more prominent, so much analysis now goes into what makes people happy. The most recent thought-provoking articles for me have been centered around whether money makes you happy? I am sure we all have our own thoughts around this and I am in neither camp on whether it does or it doesn’t because I actually think, for me, it does and it doesn’t (if that even makes sense!).

A lot of science and research goes into articles such as How to be Happy and The Secret to Happiness and of course as an information junkie, I absorb these articles like a sponge. Because well, why not, everyone wants to be happy right? And the sad thing is, not everyone is, or feel they they can be. Many people really struggle with this for numerous reasons and it’s difficult to pull yourself out of a slump and magic away that god dam awful feeling when the chips really are down.

I am a firm believer in the attitude of gratitude. It does however have to become a habit for it to really work. I still recall reading Richard Branson’s article not so long ago, with the title 65 things that make me happy. As soon as I saw the banner I thought omg there is no way I could think of 65 things! I was of course slightly curious and wanted to know what his secret is for that constant smile! Well, what a surprise. Reading it made me realize I had been thinking too hard about the things that make me happy. I was thinking huge, massive things and in that list was my favourite pair of shoes (?!) but instead, his was a catalogue of small, humble every day things that we most likely forget about and almost certainly sometimes take for granted! This completely changed my thinking. Suddenly my head was full of things that make me chipper, and it was way over 65!

For fear of giving you that list as long as an Ikea receipt, I present to you my selected 10 and in no particular order…

1.Romance – let’s face it, that being in love feeling, when you catch yourself smiling for no reason is awesome.

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2. New York – not quite where to start with this but it’s my favourite city, the place where I really feel alive. I smile just sitting on a bench with a cawwfee and a bagel.

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Photo: Anthony Delanoix

3. Flowers – there is something about having flowers in the apartment which lift my spirits. They can instantly transform a room and they make me cheery.

4. Dinner in – I am no Nigella but I enjoy cooking a relaxed dinner at home. Simple dishes washed down with a bottle of Chianti…ahh bliss.

5. Dinner out – it’s even better when you don’t have to wash the dishes!

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6. Loved ones – my nearest and dearest, near and far.

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Photo: Cristina Cerda

7. Walking barefoot in the sand – white sandy beaches + no shoes = liberation and relaxation.

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Photo: Zack Minor

8. Blogging – settling into my writers corner on subjects which are important to me, hitting publish and receiving comments from my readers. Even today I received feedback that a friend had shared one of my previous articles Farewell My Friend to their family in Ireland who loved it and I had inspired them to write a blog about returning home from being an expat. The feeling of having influenced someone in such a positive way is incredible!

9. Fireworks – something about these makes me pretty emosh and accompanying the watery eyes is always a grateful, happy smile.

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Photo: Ryan Wong

 

10. A bubble bath – well say no more, who doesn’t love one of these?!!

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Photo: Shawnee Wilborn

What are the smaller things in your life which make you happy?

N x

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