Did you know that today is the first International Day of Happiness?
Yes, today. When the clouds over our heads are grey and the 2013 Budget is announced. (Oh the irony!)
The chirpy event is part of a global initiative by the United Nations to encourage governments to consider the happiness and well-being of their citizens, rather than focussing exclusively on economic growth and development.
We're big advocates of being happy here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle. After all, the health benefits of turning that frown upside down are endless.
What are you waiting for? Here are some natural ways to feel happy...
"Laughter is the best medicine. Be around people who are uplifting and make you laugh. Life can get so serious sometimes, and we get bogged down with the small stuff. Just by laughing with your friends, you get some perspective and everything seems to be better."
"Take a long stroll in the countryside or the woods. This kills two birds with one stone. Not only are you getting some exercise which releases endorphins into the brain, but also trees hold a very strong healing energy. Just being around them will make you feel lighter, and full of energy. Try it!"
"Meditation has been proven time and time again that just by 'being' with your body, wellbeing is increased, and you start to feel better about yourself. Just start by concentrating on your breathing for 10 minutes a day and you will see the difference."
"A very clever trick that I use when I want to feel good, is visualisation. Think of all the things that you love. Family, friends, the perfect house or car, a dream holiday, or a partner. Just buy imagining them in your minds eye will bring a smile to your face. You can try my meditation and visualisation workshops if you need a helping hand."
"Listen to some 'happy' music and dance around your living room to your favourite song and 'let go.' Don't worry about looking silly, or not being in time.. just go wild. There is something really liberating about just going for it without worrying what anyone else thinks. Have fun. Be silly. You will feel great and the best part about it, it that its available to you whenever you want."
What makes you happy? Let us know in the comments below
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"Choose love over being right." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/Deepakchopra">Deepak Chopra</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Solutions-Answers-Greatest-Challenges/dp/0307719170/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361917343&sr=1-5&keywords=deepak+chopra">Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges</a>
"Happiness is a choice you make. Every thought you have is a decision and in any given moment you can decide to be fearful or you can decide to be happy. Through gratitude, forgiveness and a commitment to peace you can choose to be happy." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/GabbyBernstein">Gabrielle Bernstein</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=may+cause+miracles&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=14473018884&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18127529691149555283&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_2vtwtgsv5r_e">May Cause Miracles</a>
"Accept yourself, and expect more from yourself." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/gretchenrubin">Gretchen Rubin</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Project-Morning-Aristotle-Generally/dp/006158326X/ref=la_B001IZTAPW_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361916564&sr=1-1">The Happiness Project</a>
"Count your blessings ... pray every day ... honor God by taking care of your body and mind ... remove all negative people from your life ... learn to forgive yourself and others ... watch as many sun rises and sunsets as you can." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/TheWeightSaint">Richard Simmons</a>, American fitness personality and motivator
"The constant pursuit of happiness will lead to disappointment because happiness is not sustainable. BUT gratitude, acceptance, peace and loving are. Pursue those qualities and you will discover that you are happy a lot more often!!" -- <a href="https://twitter.com/christinhassler">Christine Hassler</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/20-Something-20-Everything-Quarter-life-Balance-Direction/dp/157731476X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361917126&sr=1-1&keywords=christine+hassler">20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction</a>
"Trust yourself. If you don't learn to trust yourself, you will never be happy. You'll always be deferring your authority to someone or something outside of you." --<a href="https://twitter.com/PaulSelig">Paul Selig</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Word-Guide-Consciousness-Transitioning/dp/1585427934/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362024035&sr=1-3&keywords=paul+selig">I Am the Word: A Guide to the Consciousness of Man's Self in a Transitioning Time</a>
"Nothing has meaning besides the meaning we give it! It's not about 'positive thinking,' it's about 'powerful thinking' -- realize that in any given moment, you can choose to find an empowering meaning in every situation -- one that puts you in a space of love, hope and happiness." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/marieforleo">Marie Forleo</a>, marketing and lifestyle expert, founder of <a href="http://rhhbschool.com/">Rich, Happy & Hot</a>
"My one piece of advice to anyone who is on the pursuit of happiness is to know that you have a choice -- we can always choose to be happy. No, I am not talking about some saccharine, superficial ignoring of what is hurting attitude. In every situation we can decide how we regard the circumstances and our perspective then determines how we move forward or not." -- <a href="https://www.MarilynTam.com">Marilyn Tam</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Choice-Five-Decisions-Where/dp/1118493168/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361916910&sr=1-1&keywords=marilyn+tam">The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions That Will Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be</a>
"Happiness, or fulfillment, comes when we step outside ourselves and serve. Short term happiness comes from chasing “stuff” -- food, drugs, material items, realtionships, etc. But we all know that doesn’t last. Contribution, service, connection and love -- when we learn how to cultivate these things within ourselves and then give them away to others in whatever form inspires us most, we have stepped into a larger world. If you are seeking joy, realize that joy is service. No matter what the economy, government or other people are doing, there is always an opportunity to serve others. When we realize this and act on it, happiness is sure to follow." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/MastinKipp">Mastin Kipp</a>, CEO/Founder of <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDailyLove">@TheDailyLove</a>.
"If we want happiness, I think we should follow classic Greek wisdom and live with <em>areté</em>. The word directly translates as 'excellence' or 'virtue,' but has a deeper meaning -- something closer to 'expressing the highest version of ourselves.' When we're showing up fully moment to moment, there's no room for regret/anxiety/disillusionment, just a whole lot of happiness. Here's to getting our <em>areté</em> on!" -- <a href="https://twitter.com/_Brian_Johnson">Brian Johnson</a>, CEO of <a href="http://www.entheos.com/">en*theos</a>
"Let's see: When it comes to seeking happiness, the kiss of death is feeling <em>entitled</em> to happiness or believing that some other person is essential for you to be happy. People need to lower the bar in terms of what brings them happiness in life. Never tell yourself that you are an extraordinary person, as that will ensure your unhappiness. Rather, discover how liberating being ordinary is and begin your journey to happiness with your feet firmly planted on the ground." - <a href="https://twitter.com/CarolineMyss">Caroline Myss</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Spirit-Seven-Stages-Healing/dp/0609800140/ref=la_B000APAWW6_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361918540&sr=1-2">Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing</a>
"Happiness comes through finding peace and freedom within ourselves and bringing happiness to others." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/MatthieuRicard">Matthieu Ricard</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Guide-Developing-Lifes-Important/dp/0316167258/ref=la_B001IO9SGO_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361981079&sr=1-1">Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill</a>
"Realize that we are in charge of our inner emotions. We control how we feel from the inside out and we can decide how we respond to what goes on around us. Once we realize we are at the control desk of our inner world, then the responsibility is with us to steer our emotions. We can choose happiness -- wherever we are on the journey of life. Positive emotions breed increased health, wellbeing and success. The happier we allow ourselves to feel, the more we create positive outcomes. Happiness is a choice. That's the secret." -- <a href="https://twitter.com/susie_pearl">Susie Pearl</a>, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Instructions-Happiness-Success-Step---Step/dp/1440556288/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361918048&sr=1-1&keywords=instructions+for+happiness">Instructions for Happiness and Success</a>
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