Sometimes it’s the most simple things that bring us the most happiness. A walk in the park, a clear blue sky, the smell of freshly cut grass. Meeting someone new. Hooking up with an old friend. A tax rebate…well, you never know.
While some say money makes us happier, for people to have what they want all the time they may have to rely on payday loans to help them cover the costs – as they believe that this will make them happy. We disagree. It’s the little things, the free things, that make us truly complete. So, without further ado, here are 6 completely free things you can do that will make you feel better.
Writing down a things-to-do-more-of list
Do you find that you’re not getting round to doing the things you want to be doing? Or perhaps you’ve got some goals and things you’d like to achieve this year. Grab a bit of scrap paper and a pen and write everything down – whether it’s going to the cinema once a week, losing some weight, speaking to your family more often or cooking at home more.
Having an actionable list will help you realise your goals, and spur you on to actually complete them.
Joining a community sports club
The number of tennis, running, walking, football, cricket, basketball and everything else clubs in the UK is massive, so there’s bound to be a community sports club near you. Google what’s going on in your area. If you live in London, you might find Get Active London useful. Elsewhere, there’s SportsBase, which has a database of clubs.
If you’ve searched and searched but can’t find a free club, there’s bound to be a sports field or park near you that you can use for nothing. Round up a few friends for a game of five-a-side football. Or, if your friends don’t fancy it, simply wander over and ask a team if you can join in.
Saying hello to the neighbours
How well do you know your neighbours? If the answer is not very or not at all, make the effort to get to know them a little better. With the rush of life it’s very easy to ignore the people who live closest to us, but forging a connection with your neighbours helps you learn more about your community and make new friends.
Pop round for a cup of tea or invite them to a summer barbecue in your back garden (okay, this might cost you some money).
Discovering your city
Get up, get dressed, put some shoes on and head out of the house. That’s right. Go wherever the wind takes you. Perhaps there’s a local green space you’ve not explored yet. A walking route you haven’t yet discovered? As well as just enjoying the simplicity of the great outdoors, the sun on your face and, yes, the wind and the rain, walking is good for you – it helps build stamina, burn calories and improve your heart-health.
To build a bit of fitness into your day, why not download a walking app and track the number of steps you walk? If you can get to 10,000 a day, which isn’t actually too difficult, you’ll be doing around 150 minutes of light exercise a week, which is good news.
Making someone smile
Smile. Feels good doesn’t it? Feels even better when we make someone else smile, break into a grin or, on those admittedly rare occasions, succumb to a full-on belly laugh.
We’re not making it up – smiling is proven to be beneficial. It’s known that smiling releases endorphins – these make us feel happy and help bring our stress levels down. Have you ever had someone tell you to smile, even if you don’t feel like it? Well they were speaking sense – even if you fake a smile, endorphins will still be released. Our brains don’t differentiate between authentic and faked smiles.
One study also showed that people who received a smile from a stranger enjoyed a greater sense of social connectedness. So smile. The world will smile with you.
Learning a new skill
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but just haven’t been able to find the time, or the inclination? Well, now’s the time for action. Learning a new skill is good for you – it gets your brain whirring and adds another string to your bow. Whatever it may be – learning French, how to play guitar, how to descale a kettle or change your car’s oil – getting to grips with something new can work wonders.
There are also lots of free courses available on the internet, covering everything from the history of Western philosophy to baking cakes to artificial intelligence. Check out the free courses provided by the Open University or on a site like Coursera.
What are your suggestions for the best free things to do? Let us know.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.