The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

29 December 2007

Happiness Manifesto

Most people in the developed world and most middle class people everywhere are not as happy as they might be. Doing jobs they don’t enjoy, traveling nose to bumper or crushed inside a bus to get to work, the strains of family life, “I want, I want, I want” but never quite enough money to afford everything – all this makes life really stressful.

Despite growing affluence, happiness levels are remaining fairly constant. Once people have enough income for their basic necessities, then money does not make much of a difference. And the people who spend more time pursuing money are often less happy.

Slough, a town near London, started a programme called “Making Slough Happy”. The aim was to raise the level of happiness. They encouraged singing and dancing, communal art projects, visits to lottery winners to see if money made a difference. Even a trip to a graveyard: “Reminding yourself that life is short can really boost your appreciation that it's wonderful just to be alive!".

The Happiness Manifesto
The happiness experts making Slough happy drew up a Happiness Manifesto. They suggest that you do all these things for two months, and see the difference it makes!
1. Get physical. Exercise for half an hour three times a week.
2. Count your blessings. At the end of each day, reflect on at least five things you're grateful for.
3. Make time to talk. An hour of uninterrupted conversation with your partner or closest friend each week.
4. Plant something. Even if it’s a window box or pot plant. Then keep it alive!
5. Cut your TV viewing. By half. More if you can.
6. Smile or say hello to a stranger. At least once each day.
7. Phone a friend. Make contact with at least one friend or relation you have not been in contact for a while, and arrange to meet up.
8. Have a good laugh. At least once a day.
9. Give yourself a daily treat. Take time to really enjoy this.
10. Do a daily kindness. Do an extra good turn for someone each day.

Before you change the world, you need to change your world. So, print out the Happiness Manifesto, and put it somewhere prominent in your home. Pledge to do all 10 things for two months. Then see how you feel.

Spread a little happiness. Circulate the manifesto to your ten best friends. Or if you are so miserable that you have no friends, then to the first ten people you meet. Think about how to make your town happier.

The BBC website for Making Slough Happy:
A Slough journalist’s site:
The official website for Slough:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Norton,

My name is A.J., and I really enjoyed your book "365 ways". I will be posting videos of myself (on youtube) doing one idea from your book everyday.

I wanted to know if I could use the "365 theme tune" from your website in one of my videos.

Thank you,

9:01 pm  
Blogger Michael Norton said...

Hello A.J.
I would be delighted if you used the 365 Ways theme tune for your YouTube videos. Please keep in touch with me by e-mailing me direct at
Best wishes, Michael Norton

10:45 pm  
Anonymous Warrenetta Baker said...

Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life. This is a quote by Burton Hills and I firmly believe in it. Yours is a nice blog.

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:28 pm  

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