For International Day of Happiness I wondered what makes people happy? Then I realised we are so lucky to have so many retreats here at St Marks Stays, that are based around happiness and wellbeing and hence I am in contact with the experts on the subject really. So I asked our amazing hosts that have run retreats, classes and courses with us, about creating happiness and here is their wonderful advice.

What do you do to boost your happiness levels?

Carol from Organic Bliss Yoga
Happiness is connecting – with the natural world and my own inner space. For me that means moving my body by running, cycling, swimming or yoga, outdoors ideally if not indoors will do.  The added benefit of this route to happiness is that it also good for your body as well as your mind- keeping you fit and healthy

Ruth of Wickerfish Art Studio
Basically I try to live simply… if I do this I’m always more calm and happy. The main thing for me though is to keep painting! 

“The job of an artist is to offer a sanctuary of beauty to an ugly world” – Jeff Goins

” Happiness is the result of inner maturity. It depends on us alone, and requires patient work, carried out from day to day. Happiness must be built, and this requires times and effort. In the long term, happiness and unhappiness are therefore a way of being, or a life skill.” – Matthieu Ricard

Gill & Brenda of Yoryoga
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Amy of Bee Wellness
To boost my happiness levels, I always strip life back a bit and go to basics. I tend to sit in meditation and really look at what has brought my levels back down, and sit with it. Simply acknowledging it and gently examining it can make a massive difference. Normally the reason is something to do with not giving myself enough time and attention and taking on too much. So I strip back life, I say no to things if they don’t serve me, I sit and read my book with a herbal tea, I turn my phone off, I have a bath and I take nature walks. I also carry a Peacock Ore crystal as its ALL about Joy and Happiness.

Quote from a Neck Deep song that I have on my wall because it helped me through some bad times and always cheers me up:-

“Sometimes things will bend you,
But trust me you’ll be fine,
I’ve been moving mountains that I once had to climb,
And life’s not out to get you,
Despite the things you’ve been through,
Because what you give is what you get,
And it doesn’t make sense to make do.”


Caroline of The Plan Harrogate
Find simple things to be grateful for.
It’s very hard not to feel more positive and happy when you’re in the emotion of gratitude.

Paula of Be Happy Be Bright Be You
To boost my happiness I prioritise time for things that fill my soul. Things that make my heart feel full. Some of those include hiking, writing, meditating and playing piano and cooking. Also I try and make sure that when I’m doing these activities, I am fully immersed in the moment. I am present. I am grateful.

For me, (Joanne) it is about remembering to see the opposite side of things to make me more grateful. Flip a rubbish situation around to see what you can do to make you feel happier. We create a ‘Fun List’ every year to remind us to head out and do the little things that will make our year happy. A favourite though is to blast the music loud enough to sing to. Plus of course, Joanne does like a wild swim to make her smile a lot!

What can you do this week to make you feel happier?
Some mini tips to get you thinking:

Exercise in any way you can
Start that art, or creative project you have been meaning to do
Do a jigsaw with somebody
Start a gratitude journal and write 3 things in it every day
Simply have a tea break with a good book
Find that favourite cd and dance around the kitchen
Write a fun list with the whole family
Do a digital detox for the day
Watch a feel good movie
Search for a comedy, or comedian’s tour recording to have a giggle
Look through old photo albums to remind yourself what really matters
Treat yourself to fresh flowers
Walk the dog – or offer to take a friend’s dog out so they can have self care time
Do something simple like squeeze yourself some fresh orange juice to feel healthier
Write a letter to a family member or friend to say why you think they are awesome
Play Pictionary with your friends
Have a WhatsApp group chat with a G&T with the topic being ‘Best Jokes Ever!’

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