What To Do At Any Age ~ Be Happy

Life is not a rehearsal. We all want to get it right, though that’s much harder to do than say. Future postings on this website will look at some life-stage-specific ideas for ‘what to do’. But this is a list of ideas about how to be as happy as you can, whatever your age and situation. I hope they’re useful.
Here are the ideas so far, to be tried every day. I’d like to think they apply just as much whether you’re just beginning life’s journey, or are well into that adventure…….
Start the day positively: smile!
No-one can feel good all the time, but most of us, most of the time, could try harder than we do to achieve this. Would it do any harm to think, as we awake, ‘Today I will smile and be pleasant whenever I can’?
Who knows? Those sentiments might even be reciprocated – a win-win if ever there was one.
Perform random acts of kindness
There’s a whole movement, started by Danny Wallace, dedicated to the performance of Random Acts of Kindness – and it’s a great idea. Whoever and wherever you are, there’s almost sure to be an opportunity at some point in the day to perform a random quiet act of kindness, however small, just to help someone along – even if they’ll never know who did it.
Being kind to others is also being kind to yourself. And kindness might become contagious.
Be eco-friendly
The planet isn’t ours to waste, however old, young, wealthy or not we may be. We all need to do what we can to achieve a sustainable environment. Our daily routines, what we eat, how we travel, and many other things; all are part of the equation.
An eco-‘can-do’ approach is a necessary part of everyone’s life. No ifs or buts, we need to be eco-conscious, every day. It goes with actively noticing what’s around us. How carbon-neutral, in friendly co-operation with others, can you become?
Try ‘No-TV’ days
This is a little time-luxury just for you as a person.
Do you really need to ‘watch the box’ every day? Are there occasions when talking and sharing with others are more important? Or how about some quality time on your own – a good book, music, indulging in an interest or hobby, even just sitting in the garden or park?
Maybe you could rotate ‘No TV Day’ across the week, or perhaps just make it a daily hour or two? You might be surprised by all the other positive and pleasant things you could do or experience instead.
Stay off the cynicism
Cynicism is very easy. We sometimes assume that people are only in things for their own good; perhaps we ascribe motives which may or may not be fair. And maybe we criticise when silence or support might be a better way forward.
In taking the cynic’s view, we seemingly protect ourselves from the responsibility to have a personal opinion. Is this helpful?
By all means be cautious; but please don’t be cynical. It’s corrosive and it gets us nowhere.
Use that pedometer
Nine or ninety, we need exercise to keep mind and body functioning well.
So, if you possibly can, get a pedometer and use it. The idea is to see, from whatever starting point, how much more you can clock up each day on your ‘pedometer count’.
Enjoy the fresh air as you walk wherever you can. Appreciate the changing views and the people around you. Let your walking be an adventure for body and soul.
Make a daily ‘went-right’ list
And finally… you aimed to start the day positively, now try to finish it in similar style.
Of course everyone needs to learn intelligently from mistakes (who doesn’t make some?), but as you get to the end of each day, ask what actually went right that day.
This used to be called ‘counting your blessings’. Maybe that sounds quaint to modern ears, but there is always good reason to remind ourselves how much is positive in our lives. Not everyone can be wealthy or fantastically fit; nonetheless very few of us, in the modern western world at least, have nothing to appreciate or be thankful for.

But your daily ‘what went-right’ list is more actively positive than simply counting blessings, important though this is. It’s about the things you and yours accomplished and achieved in that twenty four hours, and how you contributed to your own and others’ well-being – which is a good note on which to finish any day.
And devise your own ‘happy list’
These ideas are just a start. You know what would add most to your personal day, and you’d really like to do. So make your own list of daily positives.
There’s only one ‘rule’ – your list should be constructive, happy, do-able and, at no point, include the word ‘not’. Discover for yourself the power of being gently positive. Do make it a habit.

Read the discussion of this article which follows the book E-store…

Posted on February 19, 2006, in Education, Health And Welfare, Sustainability As If People Mattered, Ten Things To Do Before You Turn Age.... Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great website Hilary.
    Was very surprised to see a photo of myself outside the Phil !!
    I did something positive in my lunch hour (I had a lunch hour) and went to the Doves and Dreams talk at the Walker Art Gallery.
    Came back refreshed and more productive!

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