Do These 9 Things To Live a Happier Life


by Farzana Rahman

This article is about happiness and how to live a happier life.

‘Do what makes you happy.’

How many of us have heard these words when we’ve asked someone for advice ?

It’s the kind of phrase that can be infuriating to hear. For many of us happiness can be elusive at times.


What is Happiness ?

The definitions of happiness are endless.  Some define it as experiencing positive emotions (such as joy) frequently and negative emotions (such as sadness) rarely. Others say it relates to life satisfaction and the appreciation of life. 


Happiness by Design

There are reams and reams of studies that have looked at happiness. One of my favourite books on this topic is ‘Happiness by Design’ by Paul Dolan. He was a Professor at the LSE and is a fantastic teacher.

As an economist who has worked with the Daniel Kahneman (winner of the Nobel prize for Economics) he knows a thing or two about numbers. He undertook a large-scale statistical analysis of multiple factors and also looked at happiness surveys.


Do These 9 Things to Live a Happier Life


1.     Happiness depends not only pleasure but on purpose. Purpose is important as it gives our life meaning and contentment. It’s balancing the activities in life that give you pleasure with those that feel meaningful.  Pursuing pleasure alone is unlikely to make you happy.

2.     Happiness lies in the small things in life; seeing friends, listening to music, enjoying a view. In our quest for the bigger picture, we sometimes sacrifice these at the expense of our own joy.

3.     Colours and smells have a direct impact on how we feel. Exposure to natural light helps patients heal faster from disease and citrus smells automatically make us think our environment is cleaner. Figure out how to design your environment to include the things that make you happy. This could be hanging a picture you like, moving your desk near a window or using a room spray if you’re so inclined.

4.     We’re often fixated by what we think ought to make us happy.  We hold onto a narrative and use it to make decisions, whilst ignoring the fact that adhering to this story actually makes us profoundly unhappy. Having a so-called ‘dream job’ that actually makes us miserable or being in a relationship that we think we ought to stick out are common examples. The key lies in being aware of the impact and effect of certain decisions.

5.     Gratitude seems like it’s everywhere and for good reason. Our level of gratitude relates directly to our level of happiness.

6.     Having a long commute to work is an important factor that can cause unhappiness. All the data shows that those with long commutes (greater than an hour) have greater levels of unhappiness. It’s an important factor to consider when thinking about buying a new house or accepting a job offer.

7.     Recognize that when it comes to happiness, planning ahead isn’t the answer. Plugging away at something that makes you profoundly unhappy now is unlikely to pay off in the future.  Tolerating misery over a long period of time thinking that it will lead to happiness later on is not a good idea.

8.     You are more likely to be happy if you have modest expectations. This doesn’t mean that you don’t aim high, but that you have a realistic threshold for happiness.

9.     Design your life so that finding moments of happiness is as easy as possible. If there’s something that makes you happy, make it part of your life. If speaking to your best friend makes you happy, schedule a time to talk and stick to it. If you like walking, add it to your journey to work. Make happiness the default setting


We’re going to be looking at more data on happiness in future blogs, subscribe to stay upto date.

Keywords: happy, happiness, contentment, satisfactiom