Michael Hand talks… six principles of a happy life

I RECENTLY read a book called ‘The Science of Happiness’ by Brendan Kelly and in it he talks about the six key things that contribute to our happiness.

Seeking balance and moderation in all things

One expression I recall my Dad saying was “everything in moderation” and it is so true. To be happy we need to avoid extremes and try to keep a healthy balance whether that be in work, exercise, food or alcohol. All these things are good in moderation and can enhance our happiness but if we overdo them, it can cause unhappiness.


Humans are social animals and we are not designed for isolation. For so many people loneliness is the source of their unhappiness. In the past it was unheard of for people to live on their own, we were always part of a community or an extended family. Despite what all the love songs say, no one person can fulfil all our needs, it is crucial to build a wide network of friends to support us on life’s journey.


I love the serenity prayer that requests that we have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. There are many things in our lives that we cannot change, and there is no merit in being angry or resentful about them. If we can adopt an attitude of ‘it is what it is’ and accept those things that cannot be changed it will reduce our unhappiness. However there are many things that if we did change, it would make us much happier. It has been my experience that many people choose to be miserable in situations that can be changed, rather than having the courage to make those changes. That’s where the wisdom comes in.

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