What is it?

Happiness is lots of things to lots of people. To some it’s success, to others it’s having family close and to others it’s about having everything you could ever want. We talk about it, search for it and companies even try to sell us little bits of it!

*Source: Unknown

For this reason, when I talk to clients about their happiness it’s always in their terms. Usually they give me a number between 0 and 10 and over the weeks, as we concentrate on looking at the great things that have happened to them recently and the small but important steps they are taking, I see this increase and with it their confidence. I like to explain confidence as a safety net. When we are confident we have a good level of self-comprehension. We know that if that person at work is negative about our input that ‘actually we are pretty good at our jobs’ so we can ignore them. So, as we achieve and practice positivity then our happiness increases and with it that safety net that helps us to get over a bad day or those things that we know we have no control over. For many of my clients it’s this balance that they have started to struggle with. It may be a boss that gives us so many negative comments that day after day that it’s we’ve started to listen to them or that we’ve been filling our stress buckets and not getting enough good quality sleep to empty it again.


So whilst happiness is a bit more elusive than we like to admit there is a very good reason that some of ‘feelings’ associated with being happy and it’s very notion are universally accepted – and it’s all to do with our evolution. Early man and women received very definite ‘rewards’ for certain tasks and activities. We work better in a group so we received rewards for working and living together. Because we are great at adapting to different environment we need lots of care as infants so we also got rewarded for looking after our offspring. We need to find food and keep an eye out for threats so we received rewards for this too. They helped us to be stronger, braver, cope with pain better and ensured we passed on our DNA. And the reward? Chemicals such as serotonin that helps to stabilise our mood, dopamine that rewards us when we make an effort to get food high in those trees. Endorphins that help us run get out of that predators’ way even when we are injured and oxytocin that helps us bond with our children and is cardioprective.


Dopamine – Motivates us, The BIG reward.

Oxytocin – Feeling Loved, Cardioprotective

Serotonin – Mood Stabiliser, Social Status, Helps our self worth.

Endorphins – Exercise and that Belly Laugh. Keeping us alive.


So, what can we do!

Well… Just like early man and women to keep a constant flow of serotonin and other ‘happy chemicals’ we need to engage in similar activities. I talk to clients about the ‘3 P’s’ – Positive Thought, Positive Activity and Positive Interaction. It’s not enough to have one source of these happy chemical boosters either. We need lots of small differing hits to ensure that when one drops off we have enough to keep us motivated, feeling loved, valued and generally moving forward.


In Conclusion

Remember – Positive Thought, Positive Activity and Positive Interaction.

Don’t leave all your eggs in one basket – Ensure lots of differing sources of those ‘Happy chemicals’!

Balance – If you exercise the body don’t forget your mind.

Be Mindful – Enjoy sights, sounds and tastes. Give your senses the attention they deserve.


If you’re thinking of changing your diet or seeking therapy always seek advice from you GP or a specialist.


Want to know more? Visit


A couple of Great Books (Affiliate links):

Habits of a Happy Brain – Loretta Graziano Breuning PhD

How the Mind Can Heal Your Body – David R. Hamilton


Images courtesy of edited by Ben Gaskell

Ben Gaskell HPD SFH SUP DSFH AfSFH CNHC is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. Based at The Remedy Lounge, Central Manchester, The Blend Centre, Sale and the Stretford area of Greater Manchester he serves the local and surrounding areas of Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham and Trafford. Further details can be found on ‘getting here’ or my ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email


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A bit more information

Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. He practices from Stretford and Deansgate, Manchester and serves the areas of:


Altrincham, Stockport, Trafford, Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton.


Deansgate, Northern Quarter, Spinning fields.

Further details can be found on the ‘getting here’ or ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email

ONLINE SESSIONS ONLY, whilst we move to a new location!