3 Ways to Feel Happier – Starting Today

Hari Kalymnios | How to Be Happier | The Thought Gym

We’re all looking to be a bit happier in life right? 

Well, here are 3 simple and effective strategies to feeling happier.


I have been keeping a gratitude log since early 2011. I write in it every day that I’m at home. All I do is write down 3 things I’m grateful for that day. It could be something that happened that day (e.g. sun was shining, lunch with a friend, got some great feedback, walk around the park, new client, and so on) or life in general (access to free libraries, my family’s health, living in a free world, a roof over my head). It can be the same thing each day, although I would suggest looking for different things. That’s where the magic of this process really comes into it’s own.

When you start to look for different things to be grateful for each day your brain starts to re-wire to look for the more positive aspects of your life.

Here’s the truth, you probably have more to be grateful for in life than you believe. There is more positive in your life, I’m sure, than negative. We are just swayed towards negative because of various reasons. Evolutionary we look for what’s not right, so we can protect ourselves and survive. Growing up our parents and teachers might have us (inadvertently) focus on the things we’ve gotten wrong on our tests. Culturally, the news and media know that negative news sells better than positive. So if you think the world really is like the way it’s depicted, you’d believe it’s a terrible place. Although if the news really reported on everything, you’d see that most was positive.

Buy a nice notebook, and place it by your bed with a pen. Then each night before you go to sleep find 3 things you can be grateful for. And then write them down. I’m more in favour of writing them down than merely saying or thinking of them. It’s a stronger process, it becomes a semi-journal for you, and you’re more likely to remember to do it.

This process will change your thought patterning in 30 days or less. I advise all my clients to do this, no matter where they are on the happiness scale.

Do it and it will change your life. I guarantee it. 

Belly Breaths

Most people I interact with tend to be in a perpetual state of stress. Whether that’s mild or more severe. And with that chronic stress, it’s made worse by the fact that most people aren’t breathing well.

Breathing is a big topic, but for this purpose of feeling less stressed and happier, focus on breathing into and out of the belly. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Also known as the rest & digest part of your nervous system, it helps you calm down, lower your blood pressure and heart rate. As opposed to the sympathetic nervous system being activated through shallow breaths into the chest. Also known as the fight or flight system.

It sounds simple. And it is. Once you re-condition yourself to breath into the belly. After a lifetime of chest breathing, that’s not that easy.

Nein after Nine

I’ve written a blog post about this in more details. Essentially it’s saying no (nein, German for no) to things after 9pm. No to smartphones. No to social media. No to internet. No to TV. No to the news. No to working. Start to shut down. Dim the lights in your house. Read a book. Talk to people. Plan your bag. Your next day. Do the washing up then. Do anything that doesn’t require technology or an active mind.

I also say nein before nine too. That means that I don’t look at email, texts, social media etc before 9am. I make sure I get up do my morning routine and get myself ready before I open up to the world. This could be as long as 3 hours when I get up at 6am. I might not check messages for even longer than 9am, if I am focussing on another task for work.

A simple thing to say. Not as easy to do, but with practice it will feel nice.

Do I always do it? No. Sometimes I’ll watch TV in the evening after 9pm. But usually my phone goes to airplane mode, and I shut down all internet related devices.

Try these three things out for the next 30 days and let me know how you get on. 

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