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How to be happy

In these coronavirus days, it’s worth recalling how to be happy.  I’m going out to dinner tonight, so this might be my last chance.

I’m prompted by a BBC report from 2019, which suggested five things you could do:

  1.  Make a list of the things you are grateful for.
  2. Sleep more.
  3. Meditate, or do something which engages your full attention.
  4. Spend more time with family and friends.
  5. Get off social media (except this blog).

Me being happy with friends from Deep Purple – who also have some happiness secrets. My post at the link includes pix of Deep Purple in Kyiv

One thing not on the list, but contained in the piece, is that being happy requires a conscious effort.  As Professor Laurie Santos says: “Being happy isn’t something that just happens, you’ve got to practice to be better at it.”

How can you practice being happier?  One way is by following some of the advice in these “how to be happy” posts – some of my most popular entries:

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Sex, alcohol, people: what makes you happy?

I’m sitting on a high-speed train, next to the window, with an empty paper cup.  How best can I make myself happier?

One of my most popular blogs is W. Somerset Maugham on sex, turnips and the meaning of life (links in bold italics are to other posts on this blog).  In his 1938 essay The Summing Up, Maugham explores whether alcohol, sex, writing or companionship can give you fulfilment.

If you are interested in this subject, you may want to explore the links in this post.

I was thinking about happiness recently as I caught a train from London to Manchester (where my mum lives).  I had treated myself to a cup of tea at Euston Station before boarding the train.  Having enjoyed the tea – hot and wet – I wanted to discard the cup.

On the train to Manchester

‘These old Intercity trains usually have a bin by the doors,’ I thought.  I got up, went to the end of the carriage, and, (more…)

Appreciating the Cloud Appreciation Society

I recently visited one of my favourite places on earth, Lundy Island off the north coast of Devon, for the 22nd time.

Lundy Island has superb cloudscapes

Between the arrival of the island ship, the MS Oldenburg, and its departure that evening, I was puzzled to see dozens of people wandering around wearing badges around their necks. (more…)

The one with the links to happiness

Can we make ourselves happier?  It is a question I have looked at so often – along with feminist issues – that I even have a category for it on this blog called Existential – and women.

Some say that a combination of a) physical activity; b) other people; and c) nature is the key to happiness, cf walking the Dales Way in England 

One of my key ways to improve my mood, when things appear to be going wrong, is to take a step back and get some perspective.  I wrote about this in my 2017 blog Things are getting worse, right?  Wrong.  Here’s why.

Other happiness-related blogs include:

–  How to be happy: 11 simple tools  (more…)

How to be happy: 11 simple tools

When I entered the Warner West End in London’s Leicester Square, the movie I’d come to see had sold out.

So I chose a random feature which was about to start: Risky Businessstarring what now seems an astonishingly young Tom Cruise.

I found it hilarious, cunningly-plotted and elegant.  It includes one of the great lines of all time: “Who’s the U-Boat commander?”

Sixteen years later, at the Sony Centre in Berlin, the same thing happened. This time, the not-sold-out-picture I ended up seeing was The Sixth Sense. I found it spooky, shocking and exhilarating.

Two of the films I’ve enjoyed most in my life. I often thought it was because I had zero expectations.

(more…)

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