Category Archives: Happiness & Positive Psychology

What does love look like to you?

As Valentine’s Day approaches here are 3 different views on what love is.  I have always thought that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be about celebrating romantic love but should also be about the love we share with many people (and pets) in our lives. What do you think?  How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


What does love look like to you?

LOVE 2.0 by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson

The School of Life: the right person.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Posted by Shona Lockhart on 13th February 2015

The science of positive psychology – why does it matter?

Although this blog is all about trying out experiments I have to admit that I have never been particularly fascinated by science.  Usually when I am learning about something new and a conversation gets to the science part, that is when I switch off and stop paying attention.  I have always been curious about many things but never about science. I have never wanted to know how something works, it was enough for me to know that it did.  So why has the science of positive psychology piqued my interest when other branches of science have left me cold?

Firstly my studies of positive psychology have taught me that happiness is not a spectator sport. There are many daily actions we can take to increase our well-being and happiness and by basing these actions on scientifically tested measures we are much more likely to see a significant difference in our lives.

Secondly the science of positive psychology has taught me that happiness is a choice and we can … Read the rest...

Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?

Dan Gilbert is a prominent Harvard psychologist and author of the best selling book Stumbling on Happiness.  This research based, clever and funny book tells us why we are really bad at predicting what will make us happy and what we can do to change that.

Stumbling on Happiness investigates questions such as why people dining together order different meals rather than getting what they want? Why are people less happy after having children but claim that their children are a huge source of joy? Why do we aim towards the best of all possible futures, only to find that the future rarely turns out as we had hoped?

Dan Gilbert explains why people consistently make the same mistakes when they imagine what the future will hold.  Our memory plays tricks on us when we look backwards but our imagination also play tricks on us when we look forwards.  Gilbert examines human beings unique ability to envision the future and looks at how likely we are to enjoy it … Read the rest...

Somewhere over the rainbow

It is now two years since I first started writing The Happiness Experiment and I thought it was time for a change.  I have relaunched the blog with a fresh new look and I am looking forward to sharing more about my journey to learn about positive psychology.

One thing which positive psychology has taught me is that happiness is not just about having a positive, optimistic outlook to life – although this can be important.  It is also about learning how to bounce back from negative events and to cope with challenging circumstances by practising resilience.  We cannot necessarily control the cards we are dealt but we have a choice in how we respond to life’s challenges.

As positive psychology is about learning to celebrate and be grateful for the positives but also to accept the negatives I have chosen the theme of rainbows for the new blog design.  Rainbows symbolise both sunshine and rain and we need both to live a flourishing life.  … Read the rest...

I just stepped outside for a while….

“I am just going outside and may be some time.” Lawrence Oates

I recently declared that I was embarking on a 100 day challenge to photograph something every day which made me happy.  I did not envisage that this challenge would also coincide with The Happiness Experiment blog not working for a month due to technical issues making it impossible for me to write posts.

Day 34

Meanwhile I have been photographing and posting my #100happydays photographs on social media during my month of blog silence and it has been a really positive experience so far.  It’s a great way to appreciate the things I am grateful for and to make sure to savour experiences. These are both positive psychology practices proven to enhance wellbeing. I have also made a conscious effort to incorporate at least one thing that makes me happy in my life every day.  Some days there have been numerous pictures I could have taken and other days I have struggled to find … Read the rest...

It’s time for a challenge………

Anyone who knows me knows that I like a challenge.  I’m particularly partial to 30 day challenges and have tried out a range of these on the basis that you can cope with anything if it is only for 30 days.  The Happiness Experiment blog was set up as part of a 30 day challenge organised by Screw Work, Let’s Play author John Williams. You can read about the challenge here.   My very first blog post, written exactly two two years ago today, was about wishing yourself a happy New Year at any time of the year.

To celebrate the anniversary of launching my blog 2 years ago I have decided to go for another challenge. This time I am pushing the boat out and going for a 100 day challenge. I am signing up for the 100 days of happiness challenge with  The challenge consists of submitting a picture of what makes you happy for 100 days in a row via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  It sounds easy enough doesn’t it? However 71% of people… Read the rest...

My top 20 inspirational videos in 2013

This is a collection of some of the talks and videos which inspired me in 2013. There are many more which I could add to this list. Did you attend any talks or watch any You Tube videos which inspired you last year?


1. Tim’s Place Albuquerque: Service With A Smile

Tim is the embodiment of happiness at work and serves every customer with a smile and a free hug.  He has a lot to teach us.

2. Want to know the secret of happiness?

A newspaper seller in Central Station, New York makes himself happy by making others happy.

3. 105 Year Old Lady Shares The Secret To Happiness

Peace is happiness according to this 105 year old. Don’t hold a grudge against anyone.

4. Dr. Brené Brown on Faking It, Perfectionism and Living Wholeheartedly – Super Soul Sunday – OWN

Brené Brown’s TEDx talk went viral and was watched by millions.  In this short video she talks about the importance of living authentically.

5. Dove Real Beauty SketchesRead the rest...

Are New Year’s Resolutions a good idea?


Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions.

Like many people I have spent today taking down the Christmas tree, tidying the house, completing my tax return and generally trying to prepare myself psychologically for a New Year back at work and continuing with my MAPP studies at UEL.  I am really looking forward to 2014 but usually start the year with a host of New Year resolutions under my belt.  My busy year and the hectic Christmas period have left me with little time for reflection on what my resolutions for this year should be.  I thought it was worthwhile pondering the question of whether New Year resolutions actually matter.  Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and transitions after whom the month of January (Ianuarius) was named, seems like a good starting point.  Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, as he looks to the future and to the past.  Reflecting on what has gone well in 2013 and celebrating personal successes… Read the rest...

22 Tips To Better Care for Introverts and Extroverts

This fascinating article by   which appeared in Buffer on 15th August 2013 continues the debate started by Susan Cain‘s book Quiet on the difference between introverts and extroverts.

 22 Tips To Better Care for Introverts and Extroverts


Here is something that hit me recently: For a long time I had a certain idea about what makes an introvert or an extrovert. I had always thought that it works something like this:

  • Extroversion relates to how outgoing someone is
  • Introversion is the same as being shy.

That was kind of my general perception. Doing just a little bit of reading made it clear very quickly - my thinking was way off!

Recently I dug into some of the full-on research about introverts vs extroverts and I think I’m much closer to understanding what the terms introvert and extrovert actually mean. When we briefly discussed this topic internally here at Buffer, a lot of people got very excited. So I hope what I’ve learned

Read the rest...

10 Easy Activities Science Has Proven Will Make You Happier Today

This article by Jeremy Dean caught my eye as the activities recommended are very similar to many of the Happiness Experiments featured on this blog.  I hope you enjoy the article and choose to try some of the activities. I would highly recommend that you check out Jeremy’s Psyblog if you are interested in reading more articles of this nature.

10 Easy Activities Science Has Proven Will Make You Happier Today

Post image for 10 Easy Activities Science Has Proven Will Make You Happier Today

A thankful message, spending on others, listening to music, happy daydreams and more…

Science can make you happier. Do at least some of these activities today and feel the positive vibrations flow. Keep it going for a week or longer and feel your mood lift.

1. Mentally subtract something good from your life

People spend a lot of time thinking about good things that didn’t happen, but might have done. But what about the good things that did happen that might not have?

Say you’d never met your partner or friend or got that job?
Read the rest...