15 rules for happiness, according to people aged 10 to 83.

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I'm going to let you in on a little secret (and please don't tell my boss).

I have really been looking forward to taking my Christmas break this year.

2020 has been... long, so getting some rest and recovery has been an absolute must in making sure I'm refreshed and happy in time for the new year.

For me, that consists of lazing out on the couch, eating a good amount (read: lots) of comfort food, and watching plenty of feel-good movies.

And dear reader, it was in this fool-proof healing process that I came across the trailer for the new Disney and Pixar's film, Soul.

Watch the trailer for Disney and Pixar's Soul, available to stream on Christmas night. Post continues below.

From the studio that brought you Inside Out and Toy Story, and featuring a voice cast including Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, Pixar's Soul is Disney's newest uplifting movie that's all about celebrating passions and discovering what makes you, you.

It's a family-friendly film that follows Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle school music teacher who dreams of performing jazz music on stage. But, just before he gets the chance, an accident leads to his soul escaping his body.

Here, Joe finds himself on an incredible journey, discovering his lifelong passion and learning to appreciate the little things in life.

It's a story that couldn't come at a more fitting moment. We've all been through a long, challenging year and had to reassess what's important, what makes us happy, and how we get through the hard times.

These are big life questions, so I asked 15 women (and girls) of different ages what they do to keep positive when things get tough. They told me their simple 'rules for happiness' and here's what we discovered.

Jane, 39

I grew up on a farm and the house was surrounded by trees. 

When I went to boarding school in the city, my mum said if you’ve got a tree outside your window, you’ll be OK.

Turns out every place I’ve ever lived in, including London, has a tree to look at from the bed.

But you see, sometimes it’s not always at the angle you want it at. Sometimes you might have to stand on your tippy toes to see the tree and sometimes you lay on your bed and it’s right there. 

Life is a bit like that. 

Sometimes it’s easy to see the positives, and sometimes you have to work a bit harder to see them. 

Trees are one of my most favourite things in the world.


Thank you Mum for teaching me to look up to nature and to look harder some days.

Emma, 26

I try to carve out time for the "special things" now and then, especially if I have the house to myself.

That means burning the expensive candles while watching the trashiest TV I can find, or hiding my phone in a different room for at least an hour. 

Run a bath, if you're lucky enough to have one. 

Do something for your inner child and buy/wear the ridiculously bright dress.

Baking is my passion and always makes me feel better, even if it's just a packet cake so I get to feel like Nigella just for a moment. 

Renee, 10

Seeing my friends at school every day is what makes me happy.

Blake, 21

My rule for happiness is following your gut and pursue your dreams despite what family or friends might think. 

I moved from rural NSW to Sydney where I started fresh knowing no one, and it has been the perfect chance to seek joy from within and find my passion without the influence of those who surrounded me.

Always chase the feeling of when your cheeks sting from smiling. 

If it doesn't bring you energy or inspiration, it doesn't belong in your life.

Gail, 83

I call my family every day. Watching my son and daughter grow their families and achieve their dreams is the most fulfilling thing to me. Knowing this brings joy to me daily.

Laura, 41

I keep my expectations low! Expecting to be happy or positive every day will always let you down, because; life! Then, when I am feeling good, it’s a lovely bonus.

Gina, 56

Acts of service and kindness are my mantra.

I always try to stop thinking about my own happiness and focus on making someone else’s world a better place.

I also find joy in small spontaneous moments. 

Sarah, 32

I water my garden in bare feet for five minutes each day. 

It's a rare moment of fresh air, grounding, and time away from technology.

Renee, 24

I make the bed every morning. That way, at least every day ends on a high!

There is no better feeling than crawling into a lovely made bed. I also wash my sheets religiously every Monday.

Fiona, 41

Don't let anyone steal your joy.

I have let go of relationships with 'friends' that left me feeling worse or drained afterwards. It's not worth it.


Don’t put up with anyone putting you down or holding you back. 

Jessica, 15

Whenever I'm feeling down, I have different playlists that will get me feeling good again.

Emma, 19

I make time (if even once every few months) to surround myself with friends and family to recharge.

At Christmas, that has been over extravagant lunches and lazy evenings watching movies together, but this year that has been semi-replaced with Zoom dates and socially distanced picnics. They work (almost) the same too!

Rachel, 47

I find joy in the small things. I’m lucky I love my work and run my own business. When I was working bad jobs I could still find the best in it through my friends and lovely encounters. 

I also try to always to be kind, and that makes me happy.

Teya, 36

I've realised the beauty of being content instead of feeling like you constantly need to be striving for the next best thing. 

What's the point of working so hard to achieve things if you don't allow yourself to pause and actually enjoy them? 

Heidi, 34

I make time for all the most important things.

Running in fresh air, quality time spent with my husband away from kids and other everyday pressures, spending five minutes with said kids straight after school to find out what they learnt that day, and camping.

Penny, 47

There's good things to look forward to every day. A good cup of tea, clean sheets, curly hair not being too crazy, music, books, interesting conversations, connection with good people, healthy animals and family, being outside no matter what the weather, five minutes of peace outside by myself each day. 

I am pretty easy to please, but these are the things that make me smile. 

Peta, 45

I will always have a cup of tea each morning before everyone wakes, to make time to be with my thoughts, even the negative ones, and drink some positive into the day. 

Happiness is also my children. I have two boys aged 13 and 11 and a girl aged two. Every day we cuddle and talk and most importantly, we say 'I love you' a lot.

What are your rules for happiness? Do you have any passions? What brings you joy every day? Share a bit of your soul with us below.

Pixar's Soul is streaming on Disney+ from Christmas night - subscribe at Subscription Required. Conditions Apply.

Feature image: Getty.

Disney Plus
Disney+ allows you to discover the best stories in the world, all in one place. Celebrate the joys of life with Disney and Pixar's "Soul" streaming on Disney+ from Christmas Night. The all-new film follows the story of Joe Gardner – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth.
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