Making Happiness a Habit

20 January 2023

As part of our effort to Embrace the Blue at 106, I wanted to discover ways to make happiness a habit. I sat down with Cat Preston, an inspirational life coach who empowers individuals to tap into their truest potential and live life to its fullest. Cat hosts The Collective Wisdom Podcast, which shares life stories that do just this. The themes that popped up in our conversation resonated with me and my attempt to practice a positive mindset. Using Cat and her recommendations as our external source of inspiration, we’d like to share some methods that help make happiness a habit.


Thoughts from Cat Preston

By making happiness a habit, you can create a positive mindset that will help you to get through the toughest of days. As with forming any new habits, it’s important not to beat yourself up if you miss a day, but equally do make an effort to keep it up on the days when you don’t feel like it. The tiniest win can be a vote for your new identity as a happier more content person; if you’re having a low day, find the simplest thing you can do to keep up the streak.


  1. 2 minutes of mindfulness is all it takes

Start the day by focusing on the present moment and identifying one thing you’re grateful for. Use this time to remind yourself that you have control over your thoughts and emotions and that you can choose to respond to situations in a positive way. Want to know more about how simple meditation can help? Head over to Beeja meditation or make use of apps such as Headspace, Calm or Unplug.

  1. Prioritise your time

Time is precious, so use yours to focus on what is truly important to you. Engage in activities that bring you joy, and let go of those that don’t. Write a list of ten things you love doing and see if you can incorporate one of them into your week. Forgotten what you love to do? Ask yourself what you loved when you were six years old and see if there’s a clue there. As Brené Brown famously said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’, so if you are prone to spending a lot of time scrolling on social media (and that really is a hard habit to break) then try one of those clever apps that lock you out of your account after acertain number of hours and reminds you to go and do something else instead.

  1. Connect with others.

Spending time with friends and loved ones, or even just gifting a smile or a kind word all make a difference. Remember that we are all human and going through the same struggles, be compassionate and understanding with others. Connection releases the hormone oxytocin (sometimes known as the love drug) in our brain which makes us feel better. One of the best ways you can meet new friends is by joining a group of people who are doing what you love to do. Chances are if you already have that thing in common you will find people who get you. Alternatively, look for volunteering opportunities. Love playing football? Maybe there’s a local youth team that could really use some extra coaches.

  1. Find a hobby

What brings you joy and a sense of accomplishment? Is it playing an instrument, drawing, knitting or building lego? It might be something that challenges you and develops your skills. When your brain is involved in an activity that involves concentration, it is distracted from the negative thoughts that may make you feel low.

  1. Acts of Simple Kindness

Smiling at the people who serve you, thanking them for their help, asking someone if you can help them with a task, making someone a cup of tea and asking how they are. Notice how you feel when someone thanks you – that warm fuzzy feeling in your chest is oxytocin flooding your brain and spreading down to your heart. Want to know more about why this works? Read ‘The Keys to Kindness’ by psychologist Claudia Hammond.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Be gentle with yourself, practice self-compassion and remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Remember that failure and setbacks are just opportunities to learn and grow. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. We are often our own worst critics, and a bit of positive reinforcement goes a long way. What is one thing you can say you are proud of yourself for?

  1. Play your favourite music

Our brains are wired to the power of music which lies beyond language and intellect. It springs from anemotional need for connection with other human beings. That’s why some music really does feel as if it has touched your heart and can bring you to tears whilst other tunes and melodies can give you that irresistible urge to get up and dance. Music fills the body and takes you out of your head. It fuels the engines of emotion and action. My go-to get-up-and-go song is ‘Dakota’ by Stereophonics. What’s yours?

  1. Practice Acceptance

Take a piece of ancient wisdom from the Greek Stoic philosophers. Stoicism teaches us to accept what we cannot change and to focus on what we can. When faced with difficult situations, take a step back and ask yourself what you can learn from it and how you can grow from it. And know that inside every regret there’s a lesson. Most of the time it’s not too late to act on that new data and change our behaviour in future.

  1. Give journaling a go

 There is no tool as powerful as journaling when it comes to stopping the swirling sensation of negative thoughts. If you aren’t a fan of journals, try a brain dump. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that’s on your mind. Do this regularly and you are starting a journaling habit. The benefits? More clarity, less stress and a better perspective.

  1. Move your body

When we’re active, endorphins (the chemicals that relieve pain and alleviate stress) are released. Movement and exercise promote our body’s natural stress-busting systems… it can be as simple as a gentle stroll too!

  1. Ask for help

Asking for the help you need most is probably the hardest thing on this list to do, but it’s also the most effective first step to feeling happier. Let’s face it, if you had a friend feeling that way, you would want them to reach out and lend a listening ear. You might also point them in the direction of a doctor or therapist. You do not and should not have to face problems alone.


Cat’s guidance points are certainly food for thought. It got me thinking, how can we incorporate them into the workplace? After all, we spend roughly 40 hours per week in the office or with colleagues.

So, why should we practice well-being in private, when the effects of poor well-being are so public?

There is much to be learnt from one another, but this knowledge only becomes accessible once the conversation is opened. If we didn’t view well-being as something that should be done privately, but rather combine the personal and the professional imagine how much time we would have to prioritise what matters most, our mental and physical health.

Might we initiate exercise incentives or schemes amongst employees, or schedule time for meditation and reflection during the working week? Is the culture within the workplace one which facilitates open discussions about problems we face and is there a safe space to overcome them as a team? Could we show appreciation for our colleagues by sharing one thing they helped us with that we are grateful for per week? I don’t see why not…

So tell me, how are you and your colleagues making happiness a habit in 2023?


Written by Cat Preston and Millie Finch, Account Executive @ 106 Comms


About Us