26 ways to banish the blues

1.  Do an act of kindness for someone else. This can be as simple as letting someone out in the traffic or buying flowers for the bus driver.

2. Catch somebody doing something well and tell them. For example, make a point of thanking someone who gives good customer service or thank your teenager for bringing the plates and cups down from their room.

3. Practice the 10/5 principle, for instance, smile at everyone who comes within 10 feet of you and make eye contact and say ‘hi’ to everyone within five feet.

4.  Say nice things about people behind their back. This is a double whammy because it gets back to them plus people think you’re a lovely person (which, of course, you are).

5.  Write a list of ten things you really appreciate but take for granted. ‘Health’ and ‘relationships’ will almost certainly be on there. Stop taking them for granted!

6.  Every morning, appreciate that you don’t have toothache and that your kidneys are working. Being able to get out of bed is the best thing ever.

7.  Write a list of the top ten happiest moments of your life and you’ll realise that most of the things on the list are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. Set your stall out to have more experiences.

8.  Think of someone who has really helped you, perhaps given you time or supported you. Write them a letter from the heart, that says how wonderful they are and what they mean to you. Read it to them (I dare you).

9.  Instead of asking your partner/children/grandchildren ‘how was your day?’ change the words and ask (with enthusiasm), ‘what was the highlight of your day?’ Then listen with genuine enthusiasm.

10.  Walk tall and put a smile on your face.Your brain will immediately think you are happy and you’ll feel a whole lot better.

11.  Write down your top five personal strengths. Be aware of them and start seeing opportunities to play to them more often.

12.  Reduce your moaning - as a Brit, it’s almost impossible to stop completely - and always remind yourself it's a First World problem.

13.  Most people have an internal voice that is very critical. Challenge it. When your inner voice is telling you you’re an idiot, firmly disagree. Find a positive inner voice. Note, this conflict is best done in silence in your head. And if you have lots of inner voices, you need to see your GP.

14.  Say ‘yes’ to things, all day.

15.  Praise your children for effort rather than ability. So, for example, if they get a good grade in maths don’t say, ‘Genius, you are the next Einstein.’ Do say, ‘Brilliant! That shows what you can achieve with hard work.’

16. Practice the four-minute rule; that is, be your best self for the first four minutes of arriving at work, being in a meeting or getting home. Your brilliance is infectious.

17. Lose the word ‘try’. Instead of setting a resolution of ‘I’m going to try and lose some weight’ or ‘I’m going to try and get a bit fitter’, go with ‘I’m going to lose some weight’ or ‘I’m going to get fitter’.

18. Appreciate that your happiness is bigger than you. It has a ripple effect and infects people three degrees removed from you.

19. Read a bedtime story to your grandchildren like it is the most exciting book in the world.

20. Reframe situations. For example, a leaking gutter means you have a house; paying tax means you have some income.

21. Rather than a New Year’s resolution, set yourself a HUGG (Huge Unbelievably Great Goal). This is something that is massive and that inspires you, for instance, to write your novel, to run a marathon or to be the best grandmother in the world.

22. Be genuinely interested in other people -  ask loads of questions about them. In a bizarre twist of quantum psychology, people will find you very interesting.

23. Make sure that you use more positive than negative language. The ratio needs to be about five positives for every negative, so catch people doing things well and tell them.

24. Notice the ‘beautiful ordinary’ - the small things that other people rush past. Appreciate that happiness is in the moment so notice sunrises, raindrops, smiles, flowers and smiling children.

25.  When setbacks occur, rather than beating yourself up in your head, ask yourself, ‘what will I do differently next time?’

26. Ask yourself, if there was a version of you sitting on a cloud, watching you go about your tasks today, what advice would the ‘cloud you’ give the ‘earthly you’? How would they say you should walk, talk, think and behave? Take that advice.

  • There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.