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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
What makes you happy?
Spending time with the family

Maybe it's marriage or spending time with friends or something as simple as eating chocolate.

After asking for your advice on leading a happier life we can now see that there are countless ways to do so.

Thank you for sending in your comments.

A selection of your best tips are published below.

Mother siskin and her chick
Mother siskin and her chick
This little siskin made a beautiful nest out of moss, lichens and old leaves under the roof of my veranda. She has sat religiously on it throughout very cold and windy conditions. Her determination to sit and hatch is stronger than her fear of me, constantly peering to see what is happening. The egg has hatched. The chick is alive. She has been successful. Nature surviving in glorious simplicity makes me very happy.
Jessie White

I replaced my black cycle helmet with a bright pink one. People used to look a bit scared when I cycled up to them, now the sight of a fat lady on a bike makes them smile.
Sue, Wales

I'm 49 years old and a company director with far too much to worry me. I went for a mind-clearing walk through a wood the other day and, in a clearing, I spotted a home-made swing slung from the high branches of an old oak tree. After a quick check to be sure no-one was watching, I got on board and had the best 10 minutes of fun I've had all year. I left feeling astonishingly happier. I hope it's still there this weekend!
Neil Hardie, Scotland

Wake up in the morning take a deep breath and appreciate the fact you've woken up to another day. For many, the journey ended before you woke up. Be thankful for what we have, not what we don't have. Quit blaming others. Take a bit more responsibility for things in your life. Nobody owes us, we owe ourselves. Take a bit of time for inward reflection, it does wonders for the soul, simple and easy, doesn't cost anything but rewards greatly. Drugs not required.

Bever, Piggy, Thomas and Pepe
Bever, Piggy, Thomas and Pepe
When I go to bed every evening I find that Bever the yellow elephant, Piggy, Thomas the bear, and Pepe the penguin are already there in bed. They keep me happy, warm and safe at night; it is a wonderful feeling.
Nieuwe Uitleg, The Netherlands

Fishing on my boat in the deep sea with a very cold cruzcampo (the best Spanish beer) and my very closest friends, and of course catching something.
Manuel Borrego García, Spain

How to be happy - this advice was given to me many years ago by a man I consider to be a genius at being happy:

  • Cultivate a passion
  • Be part of something bigger than yourself
  • Avoid introspection
  • Don't resist change
  • Live for the moment
  • Audit your happiness
  • Play the part and be happy!
    Bob Yeldham, Wales

    I've discovered that a good deed can benefit me as much as the person I do it for. For example, I recently had an opportunity to help someone use a public network PC at the library to retrieve pics of their newborn great granddaughter in Australia. They were thrilled and I felt cheery for the rest of the day.
    Heather Jones, UK

    A good pork pie and maybe some Lincolnshire sausage.
    Tony Wood, Canada

    In the ancient Indian scripture Mahabharata there is a passage which says "That person who lives in their own home, eats and lives simply and has no debt to anyone; they are truly happy in this world". Therein I think lies the clue to real happiness. Simplify! Forget the mad notion that wealth equals happiness and live moderately in all things and have no debt to anyone. How much misery is there due to debt? The "have it all now (pay later with interest)" culture is an insane course which our society promotes and praises. Even the government wants our children to be thousands of pounds in debt before they even start work. More and more materialism will not make us happy. I'm moving to Bhutan!
    David, UK

    Andy's four-month-old daughter Aly
    Andy's four-month-old daughter Aly
    Here are some of the things that make me happy: walking the dog; seeing other people very happy; making other people laugh, especially my baby daughter (see photograph); helping other people; meeting up with friends and family.
    Andy, Teddington

    Last weekend I travelled for 4 hours for my niece's Christening, and just the sight of her made me feel immensely happy. The sight of my sister and her husband enjoying their little girl made my heart sing. The fact that their first son died stillborn at 38 weeks doesn't seem to reduce our joy, rather it makes us all cherish the new baby even more. If I ever become a mother I know that I will be better for sharing the awful experience of my sister. That is the sort of thing that keeps my temperament happy - the knowledge that out of a tragedy can come something positive eventually. Also, will feeling unhappy actually change anything? I don't think I've ever found that to be so.
    Sarah, UK

    I met a bloke wearing a full diving suit and waders, walking down by the river when I took my dogs out today. He was about to plunge into a muddy bog, in the pouring rain, because he "just fancied a paddle". He was very happy. There's a message in there somewhere ...
    Wen, UK

    Grandad and grandson
    Grandad and grandson
    Being a grandparent, having a loving family ... that's happiness.
    Jim Callaghan, Bury

    I spent years struggling with depression and low self esteem when a friend's advice changed my perspective dramatically. "It's hard work to be happy you know". Until then I had always felt it was the world's fault I was so unhappy. Since actively taking this advice I overcame much of my discontent. It's crucial to make happiness your goal and do whatever it takes to achieve it.
    Linda O'Sullivan, Ireland

    Reading these comments has made me feel happy! Thank you!!

    Alfie and Lyn
    Alfie and Lyn
    My Jack Russell Alfie helps keep me happy. I'm a freelance editor and could easily sit at my desk all day long, but Alfie needs a walk every day so I get one too! He's made friends at the park so I get to chat with their owners. It's a nice enforced break in the working day.

    I just love getting out and kiting on land or on water. I push myself to land new tricks but when you just have a perfect session it is the most amazing feeling. A good wind, nice weather and a good group of friends is all I need to stay happy. It is all these exams and pressure from school that makes me unhappy. I just feel when I'm kiting or even just sat on a beach I am the happiest I have ever found myself. I know not many people kite but it is the same with any hobby like it, and many people just use these things to escape from their everyday lives. Find a hobby you love, then get out and do it!!
    Zac Andrews, UK

    Sometime ago I had a successful career, earned more money than I needed, was driven and career-orientated, worked long days and nights. But I wasn't fulfilled. I now earn half as much, focus on helping businesses by using the knowledge and experience I gained in the past and work mainly from home. Life is now balanced. I cuddle my husband daily, have time to play with my dog, do more (but still maybe not enough) exercise and eat well. I also love "random acts of kindness" and try to give myself a challenge and to learn or experience new things regularly. Yes, I'd still like that cottage in the country where I can bake bread and have chickens, but wouldn't life be dull if all your dreams were fulfilled?
    Kathy, UK

    Somebody once told me "It is not the position in which you stand, but the direction in which you look". When I am sad about something I think about where I want to be and work at getting there. This makes me happy again.
    Tracy, UK

    I am revising for my A-levels next week. Happiness is when your family make a huge barbecue and picnic extremely quietly, sneak into the house and burst into the room shouting "surprise!" and brandishing a cold beer!
    Katy, UK

    Happiness to me, can be ever so lasting, when I am connected to my creator. When I am in touch, I am rewarded, I am reminded always, of love, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, humility, understanding, tolerance, curiosity, humbleness, beauty, of peace. In those moments I can see what life is all about. In those moments I have glimpsed the whole picture.
    Nourel, UK

    Christian Ellwood's "big sisters"
    Christian Ellwood's "big sisters"
    Nostalgic photos of my family always me happy without fail. This picture always makes me smile - my two BIG sisters!
    Christian Ellwood

    What makes me happy? I absolutely love spending time with my young niece. She is such a treasure and brings me immense joy and laughter in my life. Ultimately happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, for me it's being with my close family and friends. Laugh and smile and those around you will to. Appreciate and show gratitude to everyone and the pleasure and joy will come to you.
    Bina Paw, West London

    Happiness is what everyone looks for. Everything we do is primarily for happiness. I would like to share something I came across on a poster which goes something like this ... "This is the time to be happy and this is the place to be happy. The way to be happy is to make others happy." I've tried and it works!!
    Anoop, India

    Happiness for me is seeing my baby daughter's face beam with delight as I walk through the door, after a long day at work.
    Jennifer Nash, UK

    Spontaneous, effusive dancing with friends and family! And, especially, dancing with my Mum every run up to Christmas to The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, and collapsing in an exhausted, grinning heap at the end.
    Louise, UK

    Boys in Cape Town
    Happy to be given a beanie baby
    I have sent a photo of our recent mission trip to Cape Town where we worked with children with Aids. We took the whole of December off from work and spent Christmas giving of our time and abilities to help these people. They have so little and we have so much, we should be happy with our lot here in the UK as we don't know how lucky we are. It made me extremely happy that we could give of our time. Jesus tells us to be joyful in all situations, he is the reason for my happiness, he wants us all to know his peace which brings happiness. The photo shows two boys in a township who we gave a beanie baby to, this gave them so much happiness.
    Tim Walker, UK

    Here are some things that make me happy: becoming a Grandma is an almost certain recipe for happiness; having a funny old husband to cuddle up to, to find your glasses and keys when you lose them, and put a lovely warm wheat bag in the bed at night; three friendly Labradors to welcome you home in the evening; hanging out the washing on a fine sunny day; having a job working with teenagers where every day produces lots of laughs and plenty of challenges, a glass of Waipara Springs Reserve Pinot Noir, friends coming to stay; and, of course, chocolates.
    Ros Rossiter, New Zealand

    I am only 13 but I constantly wish I could do something to help people feel happier. I think it would be good for schools to encourage more youth groups that go into the communities and help out. I would love to have a youth group in my town where people can make friends and work hard to make their community better, but people just can't be bothered to help without getting anything in return.
    Amy, UK

    An Indian Swami gave me this equation of happiness. Happiness = number of desires fulfilled / number of desires created. The happiness increases if you increase the numerator, as one feels happy as soon as one's desire is fulfilled, or you decrease the denominator ie create fewer desires. As the mind is capable of increasing the denominator endlessly and there are practical limitations in increasing the numerator, it is better to train the mind to generate fewer desires. A person with no desires is the happiest person on earth.
    Manmohan Sehgal, USA

    Happiness comes with inner peace. Having realistic goals in life. Having good health, and sufficient funds for shelter and food and having no debts. Respecting your fellow neighbour and peers. A sense of humour and an appreciation of different points of views, and respecting nature. Finally be happy with your lot, and don't be greedy, is the recipe for happiness.
    Annette, Co. Armagh

    Mr Smile enjoys a good book
    Mr Smile enjoys a good book
    I find happiness when I walk along the Thames from the Millennium Bridge towards Westminster, then cross Westminster Bridge towards St James Park, cross the mall and walk through Green Park and sit down on the grass (during spring and summer) or on a bench during winter time. Just too many people complain about the weather. There are just too many options in London to enjoy life. Lying on the grass underneath a tree is my best one with a nice book to read, a bottle of water, maybe a packed lunch too.
    Mr Smile (Sergio Sandes de Sa)

    I vouch for exercise as an important factor. The reason why so many people are unhappy is because we are made to sit at a desk all day long, slaves to the technology around us. People really put in a days work in the 50s, how I envy them.
    James, UK

    Vez and her ketchup
    Vez and her ketchup
    Happiness is whatever you want it to be, for me it is ketchup, my friends, family, my psychotic one eyed cat and my hairy boyfriend Rhys. Never forget the magic you believed in when you were a child, anything is possible if you believe it.
    Vez Hudson, Leeds

    Instead of trying to define what happiness is, my suggestion is to identify what makes you unhappy first and get rid of, or move away from it. Happiness, whatever it may be for you, will emerge in the process.
    Keith, USA

    There are many ups and downs in life and it is how we react and deal with these on a day to day basis, that shows our true colours. I have found that true happiness and fulfilment comes only from knowing Jesus Christ. It is a joy that cannot be measured, but having faith in Him and feeling His presence gives me a peace that can't be explained.
    Beverly, UK

    Julie Cookson's family
    Julie Cookson's family
    My partner, John, my wonderful twins, Chloe and Will, and the beautiful place we live in - British Columbia in Canada, make me grateful and happy every day!
    Julie Cookson, British Columbia

    The one thing that makes me the happiest is sleeping! Of course family and friends (including my cat) come first, but sleeping is the best. Just being able to naturally wake up, refreshed and relaxed with no alarm going off like a war siren in your ear. It makes me sooo content with myself all day ... I love it! Anyone that doesn't get enough sleep, go to bed earlier, try it for a week and see how you feel.
    Michelle, England

    Anne Sinclair's cat
    My cat makes me happy. Anne Sinclair, Aubiere, France
    I keep a picture on the wall, from an old Buddhist Calendar. It illustrates a Buddhist proverb that I try to remember at the start of every day. There is no way to happiness: happiness is the way. Works for me!
    Phil Bishop, UK

    Just yesterday I was telling someone that I am very contented and don't seem to need anything more. I am considered poor by most peoples' standards but attribute my happy feelings to: being healthy, having enough money to meet my basic needs, living in a beautiful area and not envying other people. I am also single and a senior which doesn't seem to affect how happy I am.
    Jo Wodz, Canada

    Sunshine on my skin!
    Isabelle, UK

    Happiness is enjoying getting older. When I was young I dreaded getting old. Now I'm in my 60s I focus on the fact that life is getting better, I'm improving in my job as a local radio presenter - and I love living by the sea!
    Pat Holness, UK

    Always try to be positive. My son says he loves it that my glass is always half full, and of course, having a great sense of the ridiculous and the ability to laugh at oneself really helps. But, there again I was born an incurable optimist, so I have a head start anyway!
    Mavis, UK

    Julie Williamson's cat
    Julie Williamson's cat
    Nurturing and loving someone or something special is a key to happiness. So too is unconditional acceptance. This little one makes me happy and she asks for very little in return.
    Julie Williamson, London

    It's certainly true that the best things in life are free - the thing that makes me most happy is tickling the armpits of my cat Pliny. However bad life gets, it never fails to make me smile.
    Jayne, UK

    The things that make me happy are my friends and family. I love to laugh, I don't think I could live without laughing.
    Alysa, Wales

    I really enjoyed the article on Happiness, thank you! It is the most important part of our lives that often gets overlooked. I think recognising we have CHOICE is a major contributor to happiness and very empowering. It's all about the way we want to see things. If we want to see things negatively they will be negative, if we want to see things positively they will be positive. Being grateful everyday really helps too.
    Claire Hitchman, France

    Ducks crossing the road
    Ducks crossing the road
    Photos like this - they can make you laugh out loud which is great. You feel much better.

    Happiness is found in savouring the time and motion spent in the making of a good cup of tea. Piping hot. Strong. Lots of milk. No sugar to spoil it. It's a very useful beginning.
    Rosy Parveen, Spain

    Leading a simplistic life makes me happy. I avoid clutter and excess junk that I don't need. Getting outside, inhaling fresh air, listening to the birds or leaves rustle - those are things that make me happy. No materialistic things.
    Kim, USA

    Ahh! There's nothing like sitting by the fire on a cold, rainy night, with the dog at my feet, a cup of tea, and a good book to read. That's the life!
    Aidan, England

    Making other people happy is very important. The happiness you give is returned back to you through the way people interact with you. Smiling and laughing is of course an essential aspect of happiness, although keeping yourself clean and healthy are also important.
    Phil, UK

    Baby eating
    Messy eaters make me smile. Davie McIntosh, Inverness


    • Good health
    • A clear picture of what you want from life
    • Comfortable shelter
    • Sufficient food and drink
    • The unqualified love of a few close friends - human or animal!
    • Respect of your peers
    • A sense of humour
    • An appreciation of beauty
    Paul, Channel Islands, UK

    First inner peace and then true love and compassion will lead to happiness. First you need to reach inner peace so that you can truly love, love everything and everyone - true opening of heart; and it is only then that you can reach happiness. Think of it that way: inner peace is the toll charge you have to pay to be allowed to travel along the road of love, and at the end of the road of love is happiness. The whole thing can be applied to a very short span of time (say a short daily event) or the entire life time.
    Mehran Rahanjam, UK

    My tip would be avoiding debt. Debt causes endless worry and stress, which in turn leads to unhappiness. If you can't afford to buy it right out, do without. Don't put it on a credit card, or buy now pay later. If you can't pay for it now, you can't afford it!
    Lisa, Antrim

    Claire, UK

    "In 10 years time will it really matter". This is what I consider when things aren't going right. Okay so I lost that earring but in 10 years time will it really matter? So I'm running late but in 10 years time will it really matter? It helps keep perspective as to what is important.
    Cherylanne, England

    The smell of wild mountain air under the hot western sun of this beautiful land. Watching Stella and Lola clown around (my dogs), a cold juice late at night, playing ball at the park with the crows and flowers.
    Ian Paulston, U.S.

    The research seems to me to confirm my own experience. I'm a Christian, married (with four wonderful children) and I feel that life can't get any better. I've never bought a lottery ticket because I don't want money to complicate my life.
    Jason Fell, UK

    Forgiveness makes people live happily. Forgiving a person who has wronged you makes you feel at home. We should also strive to be healthy spiritually. Inner comfort is essential for one to live happily.
    Uwera Rachel Lynnate, Uganda

    Flower in Lyon
    Happiness in beauty
    I think in life we are all looking for beauty. Beauty makes us happy. So the key to happiness is to notice the beauty that is everywhere around us. This picture is of the Parc Tete d'Or in Lyon. I go there almost every day to take photos or just to relax. It makes me so happy to see the new flowers, the birds, the people. There might be loads of bad things happening in this world at the moment but there is still so much happiness and beauty left to be discovered.
    Meenal Singh, France

    Be a little crazy now and again, life is far too serious so let out your inner child, live life to the full and enjoy it and above all, laugh and smile, it's infectious. This has worked for me even when I'm feeling blue.
    Carol, UK

    Happiness, for me, is being able to make the most of what you have got. Appreciating what you have while striving to achieve more, which in turn generates more appreciation, pleasure and enjoyment.
    Krys Baker, UK

    At the end of each day, remember what you did during that day. Concentrate on the thoughts that make you happy. Happiness grows when you notice it. Learn to be happy to be happier.
    Roberto Salazar, US

    Nattavudh Powdthavee and friends
    Nattavudh Powdthavee and friends
    Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, but for me it comes from spending time with close friends and loved ones, especially those who we can identify ourselves with.

    Happiness is also contagious - just by being happy yourself can make others around you significantly happier too!
    Nattavudh Powdthavee, UK

    To be happy get an allotment!! Fresh air, exercise, good neighbours, attainable short term and long term goals, and lots of delicious fruit and veg! Excellent. Allotments are even becoming trendy - just been on an up and coming band's website and seen an amazing new music video featuring an allotment. It's for Sheffield band Grandadbob, who seem to love their own allotment so much that they pack it all up with them when they move - TO JUPITER. Shed, carrots, everything. (Wonder where I can get seed for blue carrots like theirs?)
    Lynda Taylor, UK

    Unfortunately many people find out too late in life that money will not reward them with happiness. Many young people heading out into their busy lives of work, careers, mortgages and marriage, have never had the chance to think clearly about how all this may effect them. The environment you grow up in will condition you into a certain way of thinking that can lead you on a path in life that sometimes is not where you truly want to be. It is very important to listen to your heart, and the choices you make in life are truly your own. I am 20 years from retirement and have average career, savings and income, but have decided to take my retirement now and not wait until I am 65. For a long time now I have been working 9 months a year with 3 months off to relax and travel the world. This gives me balance in my life and what I think is happiness. So always, always follow your heart and the rules of life can be changed easier than you think.
    Paul Harris, UK

    The sight of blue sky and the smell of spring makes me ever so happy. If we got sunnier winters in Britain I am sure people would be a lot happier.
    Olivia Butler, UK

    Reviewing my life each year is important to my happiness. Setting myself goals each year where I can deal with any long term problems such as clearing debt or achieving something worthwhile e.g. start training for a new career. Reading makes me happy especially philosophy I recommend meditations by Marcus Auralius as it puts every human problem and adversity into perspective.
    Gavin Loft, Kent

    Once I realised I didn't need all the rubbish that's advertised around me and I saw I already had enough of everything I instantly cheered up. I have a wonderful family and the simple joy of seeing my baby smile or giggle lightens my life immensely A cuddle with my husband and daughter, pottering in the garden, a nice meal with friends. These are all things that make you happy. I might hate my job, but I love my life.
    Helen Fitton, UK

    Stop reading newspapers! They concentrate on the negative - that is what news is. I stopped years ago and noticed the change immediately. The BBC news website is where I get all my news now - so much more balanced. Oh and I don't work for the beeb!
    Ian, UK



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