You’ve landed here for a reason. Trust that this is exactly where you are meant to be right now and read on. The worst that could happen is that you end up smiling a little more.

I want to invite you to take a moment and ask yourself is it a priority for you to choose joy each day and encourage your children to do the same? How important is the injection of joy to your ability to navigate the uncertainty of the current environment, to your mental health and to your overall wellbeing? I would argue it is critical.

There is so much going on in our environment at the moment that we can’t control and allowing that to consume the bulk of your energy is not only exhausting but depleting of your happiness reserves. Instead, I want to challenge you to consider prioritising joy daily and while you’re at it why not try and rope you kids in . The practice of small intentional acts of joy regularly boosts energy, motivation, mindset and best of all put a smile on your face. Joy is free which makes it accessible to all of us and it can be accessed in less than 15 minutes.

As a Happiness Hacker, my whole being is centred around the practice of joy and supporting others to do the same which is why I created this little Joy Menu. The objective of the Joy Menu is to make prioritising your joy and the practice of it daily easy, so dive in and enjoy!


To make the most of the Joy Menu simply choose which joy you will experiment with and at what time in the day and then set your alarm and make it happen. Be sure to observe how you feel afterwards.

A hug: from a loved one…or perhaps it’s with your dog or cat (that still counts).

Start With Intention: When you rise each morning before you pick up your phone or lean into distraction ask yourself three simple questions:

  • What is my intention for the day?
  • What will I let go of today?
  • Where will I find joy today?

Try Grounding: The science says the more we connect with nature the happier we become. There is an emerging practice of connecting with nature called Grounding or Earthing. Quite simply it’s about undertaking activities that connect you to the earth. It’s as easy as taking off your shoes and having your bare feet touch the grass or laying on the ground.

Dabble in Rose, Bud, Thorn: I love to do this with my 10-year-old son. Each day over dinner we share a rose: something that bought us joy today, a bud: something we are looking forward to, and a thorn: something that wasn’t so great today. It’s a beautiful way to make the practice of gratitude a focus and we often find we get a laugh out of what comes up. Equally, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy this practice alone, simply ask yourself the questions and note down your answers daily.

Do Something Brave: Give yourself permission to believe in yourself through the practice of micro bravery. Resilience is born out of leaning into fear and experience tells me micro bravery is one of the best ways to build it. Micro Bravery is simply doing small things each day that make you feel uncomfortable or scare you just a little. It can be as simple as having a difficult conversation, signing up for an online class to learn something you know nothing about or sharing something that makes you feel a little vulnerable with someone else. Small acts of bravery practised over time build the courage and confidence to lean into bigger acts of bravery enabling you to unlock potential and possibility you never imagined. It sounds counter-intuitive who would think that fear could make you happier but trust me it can if you use it to your advantage.

Gift Yourself The Start Of The Day: Give yourself permission to gift yourself the start of the day. This one may feel the hardest because so many of us are programmed to believe that if we finish all the stuff on our to-do list we will have time for joy at the end of the day. So, we start the day doing…checking email, sorting kids, looking at social media… This often leaps us onto the hamster wheel and makes it hard to get off during our day. Instead, why not try getting up just 15 minutes earlier each weekday (you will need to also practice going to be a little earlier for this to be sustainable). This is your sacred time so don’t check your phone, don’t go near it instead gift yourself the start of the day by doing one small intentional thing that sets the tone for the type of day you want to have. It must be something that brings you joy…journal, read, write, move (do a short yoga practice or walk around the block). Whatever works for you. This is by far the single thing that brings me the most joy. Words cannot explain what a treat this can feel like to gift yourself quality time – especially if the rest of the world is still asleep.

Go For A Walk: Set your alarm midway through the day and when it goes off walk around the block. Don’t take your phone with you just allow yourself to enjoy what’s going on around you and notice the little things.


Penny Locaso is the world’s first Happiness Hacker on a mission to teach 10 million humans how to intentionally adapt in order to future proof happiness. She is the author of Hacking Happiness (Wiley $29.95). Visit




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