Last updated at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Every week we ask you a different question. Hear what people in London say, then join the conversation!

When you're down, what makes you happy?

Join the conversation. When you're down, what makes you happy? Use the form below to let us know.

The Express English team

This is what some people in London told us:

Shopping is a popular way to cheer yourself up. That's why they call it retail therapy!

A nice view makes some people feel better. Others like having a laugh with friends. And at the end of a bad day, some men said seeing their wife made them happy. Very romantic! But why did the women not say this about their husbands…?

Did you know?


The leading American psychologist Professor Ed Diener from the University of Illinois says there is no one key to happiness but a set of ingredients that are vital. First, family and friends are crucial - the wider and deeper the relationships with those around you the better.

Language tip

The expression 'to not be a happy bunny' can be used in Britain when you mean someone is annoyed about a particular situation.

Cultural tip

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan first invented the idea of using happiness as a measure of good governance. The term 'gross national happiness' was coined in 1972 by Bhutan's then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

End of Section

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When you're down, what makes you happy?

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  • 1. At 11:59am on 12 Dec 2011, Violanda wrote:

    Playing around and cuddling with my little,cute doggie can really make me so happy :)

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  • 2. At 12:04pm on 12 Dec 2011, Helen wrote:

    When I'm a bit down a bar of chocolate or a piece of delicious cake could make me happy. Sometimes when I feel blue I listen to my favourite songs. Besides, smiling is the perfect thing to feel happy. You start smiling and gradually your mood is getting better and better.

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  • 3. At 12:09pm on 12 Dec 2011, enasantaella wrote:

    When I am feeling down there is nothing better than a dinner with my two best friends having a laugh and tasting a good red wine which we love so much.

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  • 4. At 12:30pm on 12 Dec 2011, tung vu wrote:

    when I'm sad, I usually listen to my favourite songs or have a word with some of my friends. They often tell stories which are so funny that I feel better and more relaxed then.

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  • 5. At 1:12pm on 12 Dec 2011, Vandre wrote:

    Chocolates, writting a letter ou e-mail to my family or phone them.

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  • 6. At 1:25pm on 12 Dec 2011, Elkagirl wrote:

    I'm happy after helping others even though they are strangers. I could be down if I'm in 'nothing-can-do situation' but it doesn't last long in my mind.

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  • 7. At 1:35pm on 12 Dec 2011, bomsan wrote:

    Taking a deep breath, then going out and walking along the seashore or mountain path...It barely failed to recover back in usual mood.

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  • 8. At 3:14pm on 12 Dec 2011, Belraj wrote:

    Think about happy moments in the past
    Call best friends and talk them
    shower sometime
    meditate few minutes

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  • 9. At 3:21pm on 12 Dec 2011, Nailyaas wrote:

    A good conversation in a friendly atmosphere can make me happy when I'm down.My family are my best friends and I feel happy when I have a talk either with my children or my husband. I'm really happy.

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  • 10. At 3:47pm on 12 Dec 2011, gaoli wrote:

    When I'm down, an encourage from family or stranger will make me happy.
    I'm sad now, because my job doesn't go well. I want to change it. But I haven't encourage.

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  • 11. At 5:31pm on 12 Dec 2011, Jdempsey wrote:

    To separate a time to worship my God, it really makes me happy, renew me.

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  • 12. At 6:17pm on 12 Dec 2011, MS wrote:

    well,listening to music makes me happy.

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  • 13. At 7:23pm on 12 Dec 2011, Juan wrote:

    When I´m down, I like to play guitar for a while or try to think in other issues, approach my time reading a book or share my time with my family and friends.

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  • 14. At 7:31pm on 12 Dec 2011, Kazimir wrote:

    When I’m down only something positive could make me happy. For example I could ride my bicycle through the forest or just to make a call to a positive man who can tune me on the positive way or to watch a funny movie. But there are situations when you can’t make yourself happy anyway and just must to bear them.

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  • 15. At 7:39pm on 12 Dec 2011, Alireza wrote:

    When I am down a couple of things may help me to shift my spirit.
    Depending on the situation, they could be different and sometimes contradictory tasks. Listen to music, driving, sleeping, shopping, travelling, swear at her and exercise can help. But talking with somebody always works.

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  • 16. At 8:15pm on 12 Dec 2011, majandra wrote:

    My cat when is purring at me :)
    The kiss of my mother.
    The hold of my boyfriend.
    The smile of my niece.

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  • 17. At 8:26pm on 12 Dec 2011, Alex_Shabanov wrote:

    I like to go out by myself wandering in an abandoned island in my town. Among high, white or dirty herbs and nearby the river I come to an old monument built to commemorate the deed of some hundred solders, who there fell in a battle three hundred years ago. They had no chance to win and all the same didn't give up and rejected to yield for saving their lives. I feel it is going on to do what I must do.

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  • 18. At 8:29pm on 12 Dec 2011, Mely wrote:

    When I'm down? I can do different things for became happy! One of this is listen some Beatles songs! They have the power to make me feel better! Maybe are magic??

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  • 19. At 8:50pm on 12 Dec 2011, earlydew wrote:

    Mother Nature makes me happy! In every its state: frozen and white in winter, cheerful and loud in spring, green and balmy in summer and even dying in autumn. I keep my eyes open for it and enjoy it every day!

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  • 20. At 9:30pm on 12 Dec 2011, Anton Dansin wrote:

    When I'm down, I usually listen to music. Especially, songs of my favourite band - Within Temptation.

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  • 21. At 9:57pm on 12 Dec 2011, aidas70 wrote:

    I am happy when the Sun is shining, when I can see smiling peoples' faces around me
    and hear their laughter.I am happy when I see pretty women in streets who are happy.I was extremely happy when I could stroke my cat and talk to her and feel her love and affection ,and the way she used to look into my eyes ,ohh it used to make me happy!I am still so happy any time when I can give a stroke to any, even a strange cat.I feel so happy when I smell a blossom of a rose or when I see in green fields so many yellow flowers, it's wonerful.I am happy when I play or listen to music, especially to lyric one or a song rendered by a woman singer.I am happy when I look at sea ,at birds chirping ,at clouds moving in the blue sky...I am happy when I know that I love somebody and somebody loves me, and I love this world which is so magical and enternal like my soul :-)

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  • 22. At 10:00pm on 12 Dec 2011, luscinia wrote:

    It makes me happy when my son and daughter come back to our home on the weekend.

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  • 23. At 10:07pm on 12 Dec 2011, Tanica_g wrote:

    The main thing that make me happy, when I am depressed, is to stay with my botyfriend. Other things are to eat chocolate or retail therapy

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  • 24. At 10:07pm on 12 Dec 2011, Lassana wrote:

    What makes me happy is when i looking for my daughter at nursery, she has a great smile. Also when i walk with my wife and my daughter, it's very nice :)

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  • 25. At 10:07pm on 12 Dec 2011, Oguz Eskin wrote:

    I feel happier with my close friends, because everytime they listen and laugh me.

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  • 26. At 11:55pm on 12 Dec 2011, Fredy wrote:

    I think stay with my family and friends is the best thing to make me happy... a chocolate or listen musica too, but only when i'm alone.

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  • 27. At 11:56pm on 12 Dec 2011, Fredy wrote:

    two mans talk about his wifes, but teh womans just talk about go out for shopping.

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  • 28. At 01:25am on 13 Dec 2011, Shine05 wrote:

    I just feel better if my hubby does all my housework for me at the end of bad day, lol

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  • 29. At 02:24am on 13 Dec 2011, chiaki wrote:

    When I'm down, I often listen to favorite music or watch the DVD. I can forget unpleasant thing while listening to music or watching the DVD.

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  • 30. At 02:38am on 13 Dec 2011, morizo wrote:

    When I' m down, talking with my family and friends makes me happy. I' m fun to be with them. I also eat my favorite foods when I ' m down. For example, sweets and ice cream.I love them. It makes me happy !

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  • 31. At 03:37am on 13 Dec 2011, Moon wrote:

    Hi all, I'm Moon from Vietnam. Normally, I often go out with my friends or listening to music when I'm down. Sometimes, I also go to somewhere where nobody know me and stay there some days.

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  • 32. At 04:28am on 13 Dec 2011, khoa nguyen wrote:

    When I'm down, I want to have a person who besides me and listens me. Maybe, They don't give me any ideas but I just need a person listen to me. It's too enough.

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  • 33. At 07:35am on 13 Dec 2011, Teddy wrote:

    when I am sad, i often watch comedy and eat so much. sometime i go out with my friend, walking in night-market and drinking icetea-sidewalk.

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  • 34. At 08:47am on 13 Dec 2011, Vera_Kuzub wrote:

    There are many things which make me happy when I am down. This is my son's laughter, a delicious piece of chocolate, a good joke, a trip with my husband to somewhere and so on. Sometimes I like to be alone.

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  • 35. At 09:06am on 13 Dec 2011, FRANZ wrote:

    There's a lot of things that make me happy but feeling in good health is what remembers me to be very very happy.

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  • 36. At 09:50am on 13 Dec 2011, Rev wrote:

    Talking to kids and listening to them could bring immense happiness to anyone as they're very innocent, merry & totally unaware of the human distress and rat race that's going across the globe. Also reading self-help books and looking at the beauty of nature makes you feel very happy :) and highly motivated.

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  • 37. At 10:34am on 13 Dec 2011, Varisha wrote:

    Hi everyone,

    I try to go for a walk when I am down, especially a walk in the forest. I wouldn't say it makes me happier but it helps me clam down a bit. Talking to people who cares about me also helps.

    Take care


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  • 38. At 11:42am on 13 Dec 2011, Emanuelrocha wrote:

    Oddly enough, when I'm sad, I like studying or doing what I have to. I like figuring out what bothers me and trying to solve the problem, instead of just forgetting it.

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  • 39. At 12:25pm on 13 Dec 2011, sabo wrote:

    I go out to jog. When I'm running, my heart beats so hard that I can't think about anything. After I jog, I'm refreshed!

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  • 40. At 12:57pm on 13 Dec 2011, Cindy wrote:

    I like wacth a movies with my friends and haveing dinner together and we'll say something happy things don't thinking about the bad things, My friends they always can make me feel relaxed and forget some sad's memory. Thank you my dear firends.

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  • 41. At 1:04pm on 13 Dec 2011, Yoshihiro wrote:

    Maybe baseball games.
    Because I like baseball. So it is makes happy. I think so.

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  • 42. At 2:52pm on 13 Dec 2011, summerhill- wrote:

    i think maybe when i was hungry and i have enough food to eat! i will be very happy !! That's very simple aha?

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  • 43. At 3:37pm on 13 Dec 2011, Kolila wrote:

    reading,listening music and hanging around always makes me happy easily

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  • 44. At 4:10pm on 13 Dec 2011, Truong Le wrote:

    When I am down, talking with my friends and my family make me feel happy. I can share feelings about many things with them. Moreover, I often eat my favorite food, especially ice cream or listen to music when I am down.
    Happiness is a thing which is very simple such as becoming successful in family life and work or doing something meaningful or useful in life like help the needy people or do charity work

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  • 45. At 4:15pm on 13 Dec 2011, ranosha wrote:

    going out with my fiance the thing which is make me very happy

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  • 46. At 5:22pm on 13 Dec 2011, castleontheriver wrote:

    When I feel sad, usually be with my cats and my dogs cheers me up. Also, I usually reflect on the reasons that caused this sadness, then discuss it with relatives and friends and try to solve the problem. I rarely go off shopping for sadness.

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  • 47. At 8:10pm on 13 Dec 2011, Amna shaaban aly wrote:

    Something make me very happy, Going out and see the sunshine in everywhere and stay out door in a cafe to drink my latte :))

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  • 48. At 8:42pm on 13 Dec 2011, prasad deshpande wrote:

    When i am down i watch movies or most of the time to kill my nostalgia i meet my school friends.This certainly help me to reduce my stress level.According to me one should hang out with friends to make sure that its emotional health is fine.If you are interested in nature and its beauty then visit some hill station or beach, have some drink ,sleep, rest and enjoy.Also if u have any family pet then its real gift by god because they put u in great emotional state..okay that's enough to express my thought.

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  • 49. At 9:53pm on 13 Dec 2011, mr hudson wrote:

    when i'm sad practising some asanas help me or if i have enough time i take a bath

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  • 50. At 04:00am on 14 Dec 2011, JSB wrote:

    when i am down, i cleaing up room or swamming.
    after i was swamming, my minde refresh.

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  • 51. At 04:22am on 14 Dec 2011, Majumder wrote:

    When I feel down, I just keep myself silent for a while and listen my favorite song to make myself detach from everything. Then make some plans of course with positive things. And then feel better and more reluxed…

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  • 52. At 07:40am on 14 Dec 2011, salih wrote:

    When it comes to happiness, I think partners and friends are best solution. When I'm stress, I try to hang out with my friends, they give me courage and peace. Also if I'd married, I hope my wife can take my negative energy when I don't feel good. Speaking and sharing something with someone is really beneficial way to overcome stress. Sometimes, sports activities can help you. Such as walking, swimming, playing table tennis, etc. Of course, if these activities doing with friends, its results will be more efficient. If I can't find any friends or my wife when I feel depressed, I prefer to read books which its topics related my interests.

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  • 53. At 08:03am on 14 Dec 2011, Alex wrote:

    When I driving the car across my country...
    I feel absolutely free
    it's make me happy

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  • 54. At 09:47am on 14 Dec 2011, Da Quy wrote:

    When I am down, I send sms to my close friends for coffee. We will share old nice memories and our feeling... I feel better...

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  • 55. At 12:07pm on 14 Dec 2011, tiong wrote:

    Go shopping, or go to a crowded and cheerful place.

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  • 56. At 12:19pm on 14 Dec 2011, narrosgirl wrote:

    When I'm down, I need to be alone for a while: walking, listening music, reading, writting about my sadness, imagining me happy... These things make I am in a goog mood. Then I can smile and I like to be with my family, my friends..

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  • 57. At 12:23pm on 14 Dec 2011, Virag75 wrote:

    I'm happy when I'm dancing, listening to music, reading poems, going out with friends, bathing in the lake Balaton or in the sea. Otherwise I'm a sad person, because I would like to dance, listen to music, going out, travelling all the time:-)

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  • 58. At 5:59pm on 14 Dec 2011, ladyas wrote:

    Go for a walk along the river with my boyfriend, makes me feel happy. Phone to my family or my close friends is also very important because It makes me realize how lucky I am.

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  • 59. At 6:32pm on 14 Dec 2011, Ahan wrote:

    Hello everybody!!!
    When I'm down, I play with my cute pupy, it's so interesting, amazing;) I feel good and a love it!!!
    I'm happy when I'm with my boyfriend, listening romantic music, playing chess, reading conteporary literature, driving my car:)

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  • 60. At 9:46pm on 14 Dec 2011, yasin wrote:

    I get happy when my favorite team have a win against the our rival...

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  • 61. At 10:21pm on 14 Dec 2011, cyril bottagisi wrote:

    When I'm down I call someone I love and I seek to laugh or to get comfort. But there is also sometimes where I prefer to be alone even if it would be better to sharing times with others, sadness can be crual and you don't want to see anyone but just keep being alone. A good thing when you are down is to practice your passion, especially when your passion permits you to escape and think something good!

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  • 62. At 04:29am on 15 Dec 2011, iammum wrote:

    I am happy , because I very wait for Chirtmas, and I wish for all visitors Merry Christmas. I am one grandmother, and I begun to learn English for 2 years, I because begun learn , but I would to speak fluently in English, I give more help when I am here.and I try make your examples, I have some free-time, because I am retired since 2009, .When I read these comments always I am glad, becuse good thing to read about other people why are happy..

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  • 63. At 08:09am on 15 Dec 2011, axpil wrote:

    Youtube can make me happier in a minute. I just click some entertaining videos like MVs or TV programs to watch and I will feel better. It's a quickest way. Otherwise, I like muttering. Expressing what's troubling my mind lessens my sadness though it looks like I'm a bit mad sometimes.

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