We all want to be happy, and what makes us happy is different for everyone. Whether we’re bored, depressed, stressed, worried, or just plain miserable, there are things we can try to make ourselves happier.

Ideas and Inspiration

Exercise increases our endorphins and helps us relax and sleep better. Taking a walk, going for a swim, having a game of tennis with a friend – they’re all easy ways to get started. If you like group activities but your mates aren’t into fitness, or you need extra motivation, you might want to join a boot camp exercise class or a social sports team. They’re great ways to meet new people and get outside.

Even when we don’t feel like it, we should make time to see our mates and our families. Being around people who care about us can help get us out of an introspective rut and make us happier. If you don’t feel you have anyone like that, you’re new to town, or you just want to meet some new people, then try out some of the social groups in your area. Join a social club that meets face to face rather than on line.

To find out what social activities are happening in your area, have a look on Meetup.com. Meetup is a website where people find out about and organise activities in their local community. The activities are sorted by interest, age or cause. It might be a hiking group, pool-playing club, night school class, running club, single parents group, or social outing group. Find a group who are into what you’re into, and head along to the next Meetup.

Sometimes we can’t seem to help dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness and meditation techniques are designed to turn our thoughts off for a bit, so we can focus on the right now and give ourselves a break. This sort of thing is becoming increasingly popular with men. Try some of the programmes around to see if it helps you.

Headspace is a course of guided meditation. It helps you train your mind for improved focus, better sleep and less stress. Learn online or through their mobile app when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day. Try their 10-day starter course for free.

  • Yoga

Yoga is a physical and mental discipline that came to the western world from India and is becoming increasingly popular with men. There are lots of different yoga classes in New Zealand so try out a few to see what you like. Some are more meditative, and some are more focused on physical strength and flexibility.

When we learn new skills, we build our self-confidence and self worth. If we’re learning in a group environment, we can also meet like-minded people and make new friends.

  • Community Halls

Your local community hall will likely host a range of activities and classes for you to try. Take a punt. If you don’t like it, try something else!

  • Night School

If you live in one of the main centres, then the range of classes available is vast, including subjects like music lessons, woodwork, mechanics, art, cooking, languages, and photography. Do an online search to find out what’s available in your area.

  • Free Online Learning

Coursera.org provides online access to some great education, partnering with top universities and organisations from around the world. Whatever it is you might have always wanted to study – robotics, languages, project management, gaming design – there are thousands of options on offer.

Our brains are living organs and need to be fed good nutrition and be well rested in order to function properly. Eating better  and sleeping better can help put us in a happier place.

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t feel happiness. It might be something in your brain connections that can be improved with medication, or it might be something that you need psychological help with. Have a talk with your doctor about it. For more information visit depression.org.nz.


Sometimes, when we’re feeling down, we shut ourselves off and don’t want to see people. We hide away and don’t feel like doing things we used to enjoy. By changing ‘what we do’ we can change ‘how we feel’. It’s true. So getting involved back in the world around us can really help us become happier.



Is improving my happiness worth the effort? Yes. Here’s why.

  • It makes living so much more enjoyable.
  • A happier mind often results in a healthier body.
  • The happier you are, the more you will attract other happy people into your life.



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We’re big fans of the Headspace Meditation App. Headspace is meditation made simple – a gym membership for the mind available on smartphones, tablets or through their website Headspace.com. Men’s Health Trust are part of the Give One/Get One programme, where for every paid subscription, Headspace will gift a membership to someone in need.

Every month we have 10 free 1 year Headspace subscriptions to give away. To apply, send us an email, write Headspace in the subject line, and tell us in a few sentences why you would like to join Headspace.


Seeby Chooses Happiness

It was a chain of bad events, culminating in an infection that left half his face paralysed that left Seeby Woodhouse feeling (in his words) 'a miserable bastard’. He found a change of attitude was really the only way forward. Read his story.


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Share your story

If you would like to share your story about how you went about getting happier, we’d love to hear from you. Fill in the form and we’ll get in touch.