The 10-second life coach: Your actions really can make you happy… try it out!



01:25 GMT, 10 September 2012

From salsa to swing, dancing made people's mood lift

Take action: From salsa to swing, dancing made people's mood lift

Can your actions make you happy It seems so. Dr Peter Lovatt, from the University of Hertfordshire, ran a ten-week experiment to examine the effects of dance on mood.

Each week, he taught volunteers a new type of dance and then asked them to rate their mood. From salsa to swing, he found that everyone’s mood lifted. The results revealed that behaving as if they were happy made the participants feel better.

Try your own happiness experiment. First, take a few moments to list ten activities that make you feel good. Here are a few questions to help you put your list together.

Do you enjoy spending time with others Which of your friends are the most fun to be around What activities do you enjoy Which sports do you love Do you enjoy long walks, painting or visiting a museum If you had a free evening, would you go to the cinema, the theatre or stay in with a book

Do you enjoy helping other people Perhaps working for a local charity

Do you like seeing the funny side of whatever happens to you Do you enjoy playing silly games Are there particular people or situations that seem to encourage this behaviour

Write down your ten activities on paper, then screw each of the pieces into a ball. Place the balls into a box. At the start of each week, randomly select one of the pieces of paper and make sure you carry out the activity within the next seven days.

n Rip It Up by Richard Wiseman (Pan Macmillan, 12.99). To order your copy at the special price of 10.99, tel: 0843 382 0000; or visit