The Real Secret - simple, sensible, scientifically supported self help
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The Real Secret is about raising your happiness set point by embedding positive mental, physical and emotional habits in your subconscious. Once the changes you make have become habits, you no longer need to think about or work on them – they simply become the underlying structure of your happier life.  
In the same way that the habit of consistent physical exercise makes your body stronger and more able, Happiness Habits will help your incredibly flexible brain to work for you in every aspect of your life. 
 “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act
but a habit.”
Aristotle   (384 – 382BC)  
Research has shown that it takes at least three weeks to establish a new habit - actually from 18 to 254 days - longer if the new habit is complex or designed to replace an old bad habit. What was critical to success was the daily repetition. The researchers did find that missing the odd day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit, and that some people take longer to form habits than do others.  
We asked people to take part in a Happiness Habits Experiment to see how well this worked for them.
Here are six simple Happiness Habits that make a surprisingly big difference to how you feel, especially when done together. Those who took part in the Experiment:
  • Chose which Happiness Habits to try
  • Carried out their Happiness Habits daily for three weeks
  • Completed our survey after the three weeks
Happiness Habit 1.   SIMPLY SMILE! 
Yes, really! It’s so simple, but we don’t do it enough and it makes a big difference to our happiness levels. Smiling isn’t just a response to something good; the act of smiling activates pleasure centres in our brain, reduces stress chemicals and makes us more attractive to others as a partner, friend, colleague or client! So get into the habit of smiling more, not just when you’re happy, but when you’re down. 
Do this consciously six times a day for the next three weeks
Download more info and a sheet of Reminders to Smile 
Happiness Habit 2.   AND BREATHE… 
Breathe in slowly and deeply to the count of five; and out to the count of five. Take the breath right down into your belly. Practise doing this for five minutes each day, and do it whenever you find yourself in an anxious or stressful situation. Slow, regular breathing sends a message to your brain that there is no danger, you are in control and it can switch off the “Flight or Fight” fear response. The more you practise, the calmer – and happier – you’ll feel.  
Practise at least once a day – use more often as required 
Download more details and
"Fight or Flight" info
Happiness Habit 3.   FUN TO-DO LISTS 
Goal-directed activity – motivation, goal-seeking and achievement - is wired into our brains and keeps us happier and more successful. Get into the habit of writing three easy and fun goals each morning, pursue them through the day and cross them off as you complete them. This activates pleasure centres, embeds memories of success, helps you feel in control of life and therefore happier. 
Once a day for three weeks (ok, you can have weekends off if you must) 
Download more info and some To Do Lists   
Happiness Habit 4.  SPREADING HAPPINESS 
Do something kind or generous for someone else. Research shows that doing good deeds not only produces “feel good” hormones in our brains, but make us more empathic, helpful, open and loving. Neuroscientific tests reveal that being kind lights up the same pleasure centres in our brain as eating chocolate – and it’s non-fattening! 
One a day for three weeks 
Download info and a
Happiness Habit 5.   YES I CAN! 
Write down two negative things you think about yourself and two things you think you can’t do. Cross them out and write the positive opposite of these statements – such as “I am a great mum”, “I can get a better job”. Read or repeat these affirmations as often as possible to raise your confidence and self esteem and replace bad attitudes with good ones. After three weeks, write some new ones. 
Write your affirmations once – repeat aloud or to yourself three times
a day for three weeks 
Download more info and an Affirmations Sheet  
Happiness Habit 6.   THREE GOOD THINGS 
Every night before bed, write down three good things that have happened that day. This exercise has been scientifically tested and shown to increase happiness levels for six months after being done for just one week. If you did this twice a week for a whole year you’d have a list of over 300 Good Things. 
Once a day for three weeks 
Download more info and a Three Good Things Chart
The Happiness Habits Experiment is over, but you could still carry out your own experiment by choosing some or all of the above exercises and try them out for three weeks, see how well they work for you.
The Real Secret has more Happiness Habits and a full 12-Step programme. It is is available in paperback or Kindle on or, or order through any bookshop.