Did you read the title and think ‘Hey, I want to be happier?’ Maybe you were hoping to find a quick fix for increasing happiness, one secret recipe that you can try out to boost your mood with long lasting effects. Well, there’s good news and bad news…

The good news is that you probably have all the ingredients you need to be happy stored away in your ‘emotional cupboards’ and you even know the recipe – you may have just not made time to get around to baking yet.

The bad news is just that – being happy is not a quick fix. There isn’t one magic bullet that pulls you out of a slump or gives you a sense of serenity. The secret to a happier life is actually committing to work hard at building the easy, day to day habits that have proven to give people happier lives.


As a training provider, it’s not unusual for the SLI to get requests for sessions intended to fix an issue:

“Our team keeps arguing – teach us to resolve conflict.”

“We have a conference coming up, we need public speaking skills.”

“Our staff are working remotely, how do we help them to be happier?”

The challenge this presents is that there is a big difference between knowing how (to resolve conflict, present, be happy) and actually implementing the skills. Attending any course should be seen as the starting point – not the end point. So it is always down to the individuals to take what they have learned and use it to build those long lasting habits.

So, what is a habit? The word habit often has negative connotations – biting your nails, being late. But in its broadest sense a habit is any regular and predictable pattern of behaviour. This means that habits can be positive too! In fact, when people are equipped with a number of positive habits they become very effective and influential people.

“Character is habit simply long continued” – Plato

Starting a habit can be hard work because any new behaviour requires commitment, discipline and consistency. With repetition, it becomes easier and easier until the process becomes automatic. Over time, your habits become who you are – they are your autopilot. So if you are sat asking yourself “How do I feel happier?” what you really need is to ask yourself “What are the habits of happy people?”



  1. MAKE TIME – The number one thing you can do is prioritise time in your day for a range of activities that make you happier. Balancing that time across the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual aspects of who you are is an added bonus.
  2. Connect with others – a little bit of time each day to catch up, laugh and enjoy activities with other people releases happy hormones in your body. Moving from small-talk to deeper topics is always a helpful way of improving the quality of those relationships.
  3. Look after your body – you don’t have to be a body building juicer… just getting a bit of light exercise, a good amount of sleep and being mindful of what you eat helps to balance the body’s (and brain’s) functions to increase wellbeing.
  4. Have hobbies and passions – it’s vital that part of your week is spent on something that you really enjoy. Having a sense of purpose in your work is a big aspect to living a happy life. However, if you do find yourself just ‘in a job’ then making time outside of work for things that you can immerse yourself in fills that gap.
  5. Manage stress – stress is a natural and normal bodily response to your environment. Short term stress serves us well, but long term stress is harmful, so knowing what stress reducing strategies work for you is important for your physical health, concentration and peace of mind.
  6. Train your mind – the way you think about yourself and talk to yourself has a massive impact on how you feel. Learn to notice when your inner voice is being negative and use tools to help you find more constructive, appreciative and grateful ways of thinking.
  7. Take control – many people mistakenly think that happiness is something that happens to them (or doesn’t). Once you realise that the way you feel happens inside your own head because of your choices, responses and actions, you can become much more assertive about living a life that makes you feel good.



There’s probably nothing in this blog that you didn’t already know. The real question is – what are you going to do about it? Living a happier life is about practicing what you know will lift your mood – and possibly saying no to the things and people that are dragging you down.

It’s better to make one commitment and see it through into a fully fledged habit than trying to do too much at once. So whether its 10 minutes each afternoon for a meditation, an evening doing a hobby or even signing up to a class to help you practice wellbeing activities – the first step is making time.

Ready to live your happiest life? There are limited spaces still available on the Tools for Happier Living 8 week programme. Book your spot for practical ways of building joy.


The Self Leadership Initiative provides bespoke training and workshops to Charities, Universities and Corporates to empower people to live more positive lives. Get in touch today to help your teams build healthy, happy habits.