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10 Keys to Happier Living and a Great Dream. Sunday March 20, 2016

To celebrate this year's International Day of Happiness, Vanessa King from Action for Happiness has written today's blog which I hope you'll find interesting. Kind regards. Caroline. The Moodscope Team.

I've asked hundreds if not thousands of people the question: "If you had to choose one thing, you ultimately want from life or hope for those you care about, what would that be?" The answer is always the same: "I want to be happy or I want them to be happy." Yet when I then ask: "What does that mean in terms of your the way you live your life, your daily actions and ways of thinking?" people are always less clear.

The good news is that psychological research into what helps us lead happier, flourishing lives has exploded in the last few years, but if it stays in ivory towers and academic journals what good is that? That's why I was excited to write a book on 'Action for Happiness' 10 Keys to Happier Living – ten areas the science shows we can take action in our day-to-day lives to help us become happier and stay that way and that can also help us cope when times are tough.

I describe the 10 Keys as the 'active ingredients' in happiness. A lot of different factors or circumstances can impact how happy we feel and not all of those are in our control. Yet there's strong psychological evidence to suggest that for wellbeing we need a sense of control. So the 10 Keys to Happier Living are the areas science suggests we are most likely to have control to take action.

Importantly it's a menu not a prescription and there's room to think how each key applies for you. We're all different, so what works for each of us varies. It will also vary at different times too. When things are going well it's good to know how we can maintain that and when we're struggling other actions can help us pull through. Give different actions a go with a spirit of experimentation - you never really know what will work for you until you try it – you might be surprised! The Keys have already helped people around the world to make a difference - for themselves; in schools, colleges and universities; in workplaces, communities and healthcare settings.

The book is really practical. Each chapter focuses on one key with an accessible look at the science behind it, why it matters and how it works. There are questions to reflect on and, importantly, lots of evidence-based new ideas for action. Whether you read it from cover to cover or just dip in, I hope there's something for everyone.

The acronym for the 10 Keys to Happier Living is GREAT DREAM. It's my dream that the book inspires readers to take action to become happier and contribute to a happier world.

Vanessa King
Board Member and Lead Positive Phsychology Expert.
Action for Happiness.

10 Keys to Happier Living – A Practical Handbook for Happiness by Vanessa King is out now (Headline £12.99). Find out more here:

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Jennifer Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 8:50am

Today is my birthday. I'm always happy that it's officially the first day of Spring. And knowing it's also International Happiness Day is surely a special bonus! Thanks Vanessa for the ideas here. Last year I planted some daffodil bulbs in my front garden for the first time. Always meant to! They are giving me so much simple joy now. Wishing fellow Moodscopers a peaceful and happy Sunday x

Anonymous Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 11:00am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jennifer! Have a lovely day. I love it when it's my birthday. Just for one day, life feels different and special. Julxxx

Skyblue Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 1:35pm

HapPY BIrThDAy, Jennifer. It's my birthday, too! I, too, love that it's officially the first day of Spring. Have a lovely day. And a healthy year ahead. xx

Anonymous Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 2:15pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Sky-blue too. 20th March is a lucky lovely birthday day. Enjoy and be at peace Julx

Hopeful One Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 5:32pm

Hi Jennifer - HAPPY BIRTHDAY and many more to come.May you be happy. May you be well.

Skyblue Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 6:53pm

Thank you, sweet Jul. xx

Anonymous Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 9:14am

I like the GREAT DREAM idea, here's the page with info about the ten different keys:
E.g. Giving, Relating, Exercise, Awareness, Trying out, and so on.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 12:44pm

Glad, via Anonymous that one can access the 'keys'. Rather peeved when I read the blog, though suitable for the day, that one had to buy the book to get the wisdom. And why, if is scientifically possible to be happy, why are so many of us so miserable? Just been to mass and a twinning 'drinkies' between Brits and French, being 'free' I was able to chat as long as I wanted.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 2:09pm

We have been to lunch with our French neighbours and they had been to mass. A special pre Easter mass. You will know the name Gardener.My husband says it's Palm Sunday but Veronique, neighbour, offered me some green shrub branches. I did laugh at your comment about happiness. And why so many of us are miserable. Jul xx

The Gardener Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 1:07pm

Rationed to 4 lines. Christmas in an Indian orphanage. |My garden full of people of losts of nationalities on a sunny summer Wednesday - in the kitchen listening to the laughter and rising tide of conversation round my dining table. Real happiness - lot of 'happiness' is relief from some fear,m illness or disaster

The Gardener Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 1:11pm

'Giving' is a great one. Happy birthday Jennifer. We used to plant trees for special occasions - the Catalpa planted for daughters wedding is splendid, the marriage lasted 18 months. And nobody watered the Cedar planted for first grandson.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 3:33pm

When I was a kid we were given crosses made of palm leaves. Here, it's leaves of the bay tree - we all stood in the cold having our branches blessed then processed to church. Risks of cleaning cars (a complete aside) had car on pavement, cleaned it, backed off pavement, forgetting cleaner and flattened the tube! Went to see Mr G, warned off, behaviour awful, what next? All a bit alarming.

Rozelle Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 7:08pm

Bit miffed to receive what is pretty much an advert in my inbox.

Caroline Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 9:18pm

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who felt that way :-) am already looking forward to tomorrow's blog!

Susannah Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:45pm

Me too. Thanks to anonymous for providing the key text.

Pennie-Lynn Tue, Mar 22nd 2016 @ 7:25am

I felt the same! There's enough "get well quick" stuff on the internet; I wasn't expecting to see it here.

Eva Sun, Mar 20th 2016 @ 10:43pm

Hi, thanks for the info regarding the book, I for one am always happy to receive information pertaining to books that I can read to improve my life. They don't all suit but I am willing to give them a go and add to my toolkit. I did expect on reading the blog to hear from a few folk grumbling about advertising products... I guess it's down to interpretation, I do understand their point of view but I'd rather have the resources than not.

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