With International Day of Happiness approaching on March 20th, we’ll be sharing a special series of blog posts and videos themed on happiness habits. We see happiness not as a fleeting emotion, but as something we can build up over the long term through the daily actions we take. We’re aware that things don’t always go right in life, and that happiness is not a given; but putting actions in place that can help support yours and others’ happiness in the long term is well worth the effort.

There are many different happiness habits it can be beneficial to put in place. We’ve invited friends working on happiness, wellbeing, and related issues to share their top three happiness habits with us in the lead up to International Day of Happiness, and we’re sharing their responses below!

What do you think? What would your three top tips be? Share suggestions in the comments section below, or form your ideas into a haiku and enter our #HappyHaiku competition.

In the lead up to International Day of Happiness we will share at least one new post each day this week – including posts featuring the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, happiness habits expert Gretchen Rubin, former Buddhist Nun Kaira Jewel Lingo, and positive psychologist Miriam Akhtar – so keep an eye out on our blog and social media channels!

Here are the happiness habits that some of our friends working on happiness, wellbeing and environmental issues have sent us:

Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness:

  • Cycling (pretty much all the time, everywhere!)
  • Being with loved ones – especially my wife Kate and three kids (Emily, Daisy and Harry)
  • Singing in my local community choir in Kingston

Hugh WarwickEcologist, Writer and passionate fan of the hedgehog:

  • Most important is having a bad memory for bad things and a good memory for good things! Don’t dwell or wallow – look for the light.
  • Dance – shake out the trouble and let in the fun – actually it is just a hormonal fix – endorphins and oxytocin flood the system as you let the love in.
  • Love – love people, love nature, love friends – do not be afraid to love. Liking is not enough.

Juliet Michaelson, Associate Director of Wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation (nef):

  • Getting involved with others in ways to build a fairer, greener society
  • Finding ways to raise a laugh from the people I care about
  • Walking the long way round to get a daily view of trees and plants

From Nancy Hey, What Works for Wellbeing Centre:

  • Breathe!
  • Always kiss my family hello and goodbye
  • Celebrate the small things in life

Mark AveryIndependent environmental expert (and formerly RSPB Conservation Director):

  • Spend time birdwatching in spring near to my home
  • Spend time birdwatching any other time of year in any place
  • Time spent with friends: chatting, eating and drinking

From Karen Liebenguth, Green Spaces Coaching:

  • Going on a long walk in the countryside on my own
  • Pottering around the house and garden on a Saturday afternoon
  • Sitting on a bench in my local park chatting with a close friend

Alex Nunn, Head of Campaigns and Communications at Action for Happiness:

  • Be who you are, and for me this links to mindfulness, self acceptance and self compassion
  • Give fearlessly
  • Spend time in nature

Shamash Alidina, Museum of Happiness

  • Make sure to have some quiet time everyday
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Value friends and family


Miriam AkhtarPositive Psychologist:

  • Green exercise. I go for a short walk in my local park everyday. It takes only five minutes of green exercise to experience positive emotions, so it’s a great way to have an instant mood-lift.
  • Slow down to savour the moment. I take the slow lane in life these days – it helps me truly be in the moment and savour all the positives as they happen.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. I’ve been keeping one for 20 years and it has changed my thinking from a scarcity mindset, aware of all that was missing from my life, to an abundance mindset, where I keep track of and savour the positives.

Share your views!

What are your top three happiness habits? What is your #HappyHaiku? And what do you have planned for International Day of Happiness? Please share your ideas and plans in the comments below, or via social media (Twitter or Facebook).