Where’s it gone?

That happiness that was so easy to find seems to be slipping through our fingers. Our energy, enthusiasm and joy for life is ebbing away. Our happiness mojo is gone!
Worry not, I’m here to reassure you that happiness is very much alive and well. It lives inside each and every one of us. It is our natural state of being, it is our birthright. Just like the sky above our heads, happiness is always present. It might not feel like it. It might feel as though the sky of happiness is covered with grey clouds right now. But that’s all it is, covered. It is still there, in the same way as the sky is always present even when it is covered over by grey clouds.
And if all it is is covered then that means we can uncover it, any time we like.

Where do we start?

We start by remembering who we really are.
I want you to imagine that you have just bought yourself a brand spanking new pair of wellington boots, those rubber boots you wear to splash in puddles. This pair of ‘wellies’ might be a lovely bright colour, or have stripes on or a pattern of some sort. They are new and shiny and bright.
You buy yourself these boots and then you put them on to go for a walk across the fields. It’s been raining and so the ground is muddy, and so your wellies pick up some mud, they get a bit of mud on them. You walk home, put the boots by the back door and carry on with your day.

The next day you decide to do some gardening. So you pull your boots on and go outside to dig and weed and mow. More mud gets stuck on your wellies.

And so on and so forth. You keep going for walks and doing some gardening and at the end of the week, you look at those wellies by the back door and realise they are absolutely covered in mud.

You can’t see what colour they are anymore, the pattern is hidden underneath all that mud. So you take the boots outside and you wash them off, you get the hose and you wash that mud off. Some of it takes a bit of scrubbing, some of it takes quite a bit of scrubbing because it’s ingrained, it’s been there for a while now and it’s dried on. But eventually, you get all the mud off and there underneath are the beautiful, brand spanking new, shiny wellies that you started off with. Hoorah!

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Why am I telling you about wellies?

Because I believe that we are the same. I believe that we come into this world as pure, positive, beautiful, shiny new energy. And as we walk through this life, things happen to us, people say things to us, people do things, we do things, we experience things and through all of that we pick up some of the mud of life. We pick up beliefs about ourselves and our world that simply aren’t true and we carry them around with us as we carry on through life. And the bit that breaks my heart is that we forget. We forget that we are that pure, positive, beautiful, shiny energy and we start to believe that we ARE the mud. But we’re not, we are the wellies underneath that mud.
And it is perfectly possible for us to wash that mud off. There are a gazillion ways in which we can wash that mud off so that we can see that pure, positive energy that sits underneath clearly once again.

So now we understand who we actually are, the wellies underneath that mud, how can we wash that mud off?

One of my favourite tools for doing exactly that is appreciation. So often we rush through life, keeping busy, barely time to stop and smell the roses. That is exactly what we need to be doing though, stopping and smelling the roses. Not just smelling them, savouring them, noticing them, seeing them, appreciating the beauty of them with as many of our senses as we possibly can. Alongside love and joy, appreciation is the purest, most positive emotion you will ever experience and it is perfectly possible for you to create that inside yourself any time you like.

One of my favourite ways of practising appreciation is to end every day by playing The Glad Exercise. Sit down at the end of your day, reflect back over that specific day and find as many things from that day as you can, to be glad about. The rules are that you must find at least five things each day to be glad about. Don’t worry about feeling grateful, sometimes that emotion can just feel too hard, focus instead on the things you can be glad about. That five minutes of peace with a cup of tea, that quick conversation with the friend you haven’t seen for ages, the text message from someone checking in to see how you are, the hug with one of your nearest and dearest, the food that you enjoyed eating. The glads aren’t about the big, enormous, deep and meaningful stuff, they are about appreciating the small things in life that actually are the big, enormous, deep and meaningful stuff.

Play the glad exercise every day for a month and notice how much lighter you feel, notice how you walk through your day looking for things to be glad about, paying attention to the things and people you can appreciate. You will find yourself mentally checking things off as you go through your day, ‘Oh, that was good, I’ll put that in my glads later on’. The glads are nothing short of magic, they changed my life, all by themselves, just over eight years ago.

How else can we uncover those clouds so that we can see the happiness in life again?

By listening to our emotions. ALL of them. Not just the ones that feel good but the ones that don’t feel so good too. I don’t like using the term ‘negative emotions’ because actually I don’t believe any of our emotions are negative. Some of them don’t feel great and aren’t much fun to experience but none of them are negative. Why? Because all of them have a message for us, our emotions are here to tell us something, to guide us towards or away from different things in our lives. So if we spend our time ignoring them or running away from them or pushing against them then how do we receive those messages? My challenge for you is to start turning towards those emotions, especially the difficult ones, and allow yourself to go through them, allow them to go through you. Experience them, listen to them, allow them to do their job and help you to grow and expand.

And lastly, relaxation. Relaxation is vital to your health and wellbeing. It’s not a nicety, it’s not a luxury, it’s absolutely vital to make time every day simply to relax, to do nothing if you can. Allow your body and your mind to rest, to wind down, to chill out. The constant go, go, go of life leaves us saying we don’t ‘have time’ to relax, we can’t squeeze that simple thing into our everyday life. Today I am going to ask you to start purposely making the time to do it, put it at the top of your to-do list, before all the work. Meditate, breathe, sit in silence, watch some light TV programme, do some light reading, bathe, lie in the sun – whatever it is and however, it looks for you, make relaxation a non-negotiable in your daily life.

Step by step that mud will start to slide off you. Step by step you will start to see, feel and sense more and more of that pure, positive energy. Step by step those clouds will clear from that beautiful sky of happiness. Allow yourself to smile as they do. Go. Enjoy!

About the author:

Jo Howarth runs a company called The Happiness Club, her job is to teach people how to be happy and she loves it. She is married to Trev and has two beautiful daughters.

The Happiness Club ( is a monthly membership club where members receive daily support from, and 24/7 access to, Jo to help them take care of their mental wellbeing.

She works with corporate and private sector organisations that are committed to changing the way their employees feel and therefore work. She also works within schools to teach students techniques to develop their own resilience to stress and believes this should be as important as learning your ABCs. And she trains people up to become self-employed Happiness Club Trainers.
Jo is an inspirational speaker, advanced hypnotherapist, mindfulness practitioner and bestselling author of four books and in 2017 she won two national awards for her work in The Happiness Club.

With over 20 years of studying hypnotherapy and mindfulness, Jo believes it is a simple choice – that everyone can choose happiness every day. Jo’s mission is to teach people the tools and techniques that will set them on the path of happiness, whatever their definition may be.

You can find out more about Jo’s work here: and contact Jo here:

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