The Answer to the Question – Is the glass half empty or half full?


With the first ‘World Report on Happiness’ being published last week it seems that happiness is now a serious issue, one which governments are willing to take into consideration alongside gross domestic product.

Turns out that living somewhere sunny doesn’t make you happier… (although I’m just putting it out there that it would DEFINITELY make me happier)  Coming out on top was the great land of Vikings, Bacon and The Little Mermaid, yes Denmark officially has the happiest folks, closely followed by Finland and then Norway.  So what do these (cold) countries have which we don’t?

Well, it’s more than just good feelings (Scandinavia is notorious for high rates of depression and suicide) The research found that the two most important factors needed for national happiness were: Trust and Equality. This (epic) study showed that people who feel they have the freedom and equality to choose what they want to do are happier than those who feel that their decisions can be changed by someone else. The countries at the top of the list also felt more trust towards other people and their national institutions (hence the fact they don’t mind paying astronomical taxes because they believe in where they’re going.)

As I don’t live in, or have any plans to move to Denmark (I’ve already told you I need sunshine!) I thought I’d see what I could do to increase the happiness in my world, and here’s what I found…

The secret to success?

Leo Bormans is one of the leading psychologists of happiness who has spent years putting together ‘The World Book of Happiness’ says that it is proven that a lot of society’s problems could be helped with a dose of optimism. He’s found that optimists are happier, healthier and more successful.

Whereas pessimists will talk about ’I, the past and problems,’ optimists talk about ‘we, the future and solutions.’ Optimistic people don’t dwell on what’s happened in the past or feel challenged by obstacles in the future.

Bormans insists that the correlation between optimism and happiness is as strong as the one for smoking and lung cancer – isn’t this statement crazy?! Apparently true!?

The positivity percentage

Psychologists have found that 50% of our optimism can’t be altered because it’s entirely based on our genetics (anyone else surprised by this amount?!) A further 10% of our happiness stems from our circumstances e.g. where we live, work etc so if we’re lucky enough to have a house then this is going to increase the good feelings.

However, the final 40% is totally interpretational and entirely in our hands.  You can choose how to see the world and as I’ve written about before, you can think yourself happier. Not only that, but happiness is catching! Optimism spreads more optimism and those who look on the brighter side of life give double the weighting to happy events than pessimists do.  (Forget ‘misery loves company’, go find someone chipper and let their magic rub off on you!)

What Leo Bormans has found is that it’s not about instant gratification but long lasting satisfaction – so put down that spliff and send that naked beauty packing. Haha.

To get ramped up in the satisfaction stakes we need to learn to value our: relationships, health, freedom and work (apparently we need structure and meaning through work… again, I beg to differ but ok.)

Money can’t buy you happiness

Although money cannot be written out totally as a factor for happiness (wealthier nations out scored poorer African nations considerably) it’s been found that having an excess of money leads to increases jealousy and egocentricity. It seems the more money you have the less you are able to except life small pleasures (so that unexpected cup of tea or marshmallows or other random nice gesture falls on to a rich dead soul)

Half empty or half full?

And so, the eternal question: is the glass half empty or half full? The solution: change the glass. (Shut up, this is not a cop out!)

By changing the glass to one which can be filled with water we learn to be grateful for what we have, and the strengths and experiences we’ve already got. While pessimists focus on who they are, optimists focus their energies on who they might become and what goals they need to set to reach it.

We were all a little more optimistic then we could create a more collective happiness … which would filter into society and then perhaps we could give Denmark a run for its money.

Next week I’m definitely trying something new.. I’ve had a couple of weeks off the crazy so it’s about time I got out there again.

Always lovely to hear from you as always!



If you want to read more about the World Report on Happiness click here or hereLeo Bormans site click here

Bloomin’ marvellous – a simple step to happiness

I know, I know – I’m late again for my Monday mantra! But the bank holiday threw me off! Did you all have a nice one?

Now normally I aim to push myself each week on this personal journey of mine but, I confess, I still feel slightly worse for wear after a fun but messy Sunday festival dancing in the sunshine – and as we’re half way through the week anyway I thought I would find something which was simple and achievable – less deep reflection, more instant gratification. (Because let’s be honest, there are times when you just need to give yourself a break.) So this week’s mantra is as simply as buying a bunch of flowers. Not for anyone else – for yourself.

 Buy yourself some blooms.

This may seem like a cop out – but reader, trust me. Research for the US has shown that flowers can make a huge positive impact on your wellbeing! The study showed that:

1. flowers have an immediate positive effect on happiness. Participants in the study displayed genuine excitement, delight and gratitude upon receiving a bunch of flowers.

2. flowers have a long-term positive effect on mood. Feelings less depressed, anxious or agitated, and a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction after receiving flowers.

3. the presence of flowers lead to increased contact with friends and family. (Seems quite bonkers but apparently true!)

4. The sight of flowers upon entering a room positively impacts to all who enter the room – creating a positive space.

So you see, sometimes the little things in life can make a giant impact!

I always knew I should be a flower child, now I have the perfect excuse.

Let me know how you’re all doing!

More soon.




To read more about the study in brief click here

To read the full research click here

A piece of mind on mind in peace.

So things have been a little quiet on the blog front as the pink banana shoes have been on foreign soil!

After a week of Greek sunshine, riding through vine covered countryside on the back of a quad bike and beach bumming – it was down with a damp and dank bump, back into reality last night (after a 3 hour extra delay in one of the world’s smallest airports, thanks Easyjet) Anyway, safe to say that trying to keep the blissful, sunshiney mood when you’re back in showery London isn’t easy. In fact, as we landed I could quite happily have gone straight back round to departures and departed myself somewhere else. But, life isn’t like that, and as the boyfriend tells me often – it’s now time to join the ‘real word’ (whatever that is) and learn to be happy when not adventuring. (Though, if anyone can tell me how to get rid of these itchy feet I’d love to hear it!?)

Its actually quite an exciting time for me at the moment, I’ve got a new job!!! Finally, after a year of pursuing a career which made me feel like a square peg in a round hole (or is it the other way around?) I’ve got through two rounds of interviews and bagged me a role in the charity sector. Something I can get my teeth into and feel passionate about. And that – is a good feeling. But it does mean that I need to have my feet firmly on the ground for a while.

To keep myself on this road to happiness, I thought it’d be a good idea to give myself a weekly mantra to follow – ‘A Monday Mantra’ (I know today it’s Tuesday so this week it’s a little late.) The idea being that I’ll have a goal to follow for the week and then share my experiences. (If you want to take the same one and share your experience too that’d be awesome) According to Google ‘A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation”.’ Sounds good to me.

I’m going to try and do this in the least cheesy way possible, but use it more as a motivation to keep working towards the end result of this project, which was to get out their and live my life to the fullest. The more I read about the mind, the more I realise that people are often limited by their own self-belief and contrary, those with the strongest and most positive mind set are most likely to succeed.

And so with this in mind, (in the words of the Lion King) it starts.

With a new job approaching and a huge case of itchy feet, I feel that I need to learn how to calm my mind and focus on the positives which I’ve already got, so the Monday Mantra for this week is –

‘Be in the moment.’

I’m always thinking about the future and reflecting on the past.. its time to living in the moment and I’m going to try and write down 5 positive things about each day.  (Something I used to do when I first moved to London when things weren’t so rosey.) My sister and I are also going to a meditation class later.. the idea of having to quieten both my mouth and in my head seems impossible. But here goes.

Perhaps I’ll return in a week a vision of calm serenity instead of the bubbly, always dreaming about the future, noisy (‘Harriet you’ve got your outdoor voice on’ – was my mum’s favourite expression in the house when I was little) person which I am. I hope not actually. I’m happy with who I am. I just want to learn to be in the moment, so I don’t wake up when I’m 80 and wonder where my life went.


What helps to calm your mind? (except a large glass of wine) Let me know.

More soon.