Your happy place

We asked you, our wonderful Good readers, to share your favourite happy books, movies, songs and podcasts, what makes you feel happy – and the results are in!

Big thanks to those who responded to our online survey. We believe you can never have too many suggestions for creating more feel-good moments and hope each of you makes more happy discoveries here.

Your fave feel-good films

  • Love Actually
  • Mamma Mia
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Castle
  • Shirley Valentine
  • The Holiday
  • Grease
  • Labyrinth
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Mrs Doubtfire
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • The Sound of Music
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Bridget Jone’s Diary
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Flashdance
  • Bridesmaids
  • Amélie
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Pick-me-up TV shows

  • Friends
  • Call the Midwife
  • Virgin River
  • Escape to the Chateau
  • Emily in Paris
  • Are You Being Serves?
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Taskmaster
  • Gilmore Girls
  • MasterChef

Top 30 happy playlist

  • Happy – Pharrell Williams
  • Feeling Good – Nina Simone
  • I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown
  • Beautiful Day – U2
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gave & Tammi Terrell
  • On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
  • Always on My Mind – Tiki Taane
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  • Sunshine on the Water – Tama Waipara
  • Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
  • No Matter What – Boyzone
  • Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
  • I’m Still Standing – Elton John
  • Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  • Cover Me in Sunshine – P!nk, Willow Sage Hart
  • You Are Everything to Me – The Real Thing
  • Woke Up Late – Drax Project
  • Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman
  • Better – Khalid
  • Midnight Sky – Miley Cyrus
  • April Sun in Cuba – Dragon
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
  • Can’t Stop The Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
  • Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel
  • Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
  • I Am Woman – Helen Reddy
  • Beautiful – Carole King
  • It’s a Beautiful Day – Michael Bublé
  • Mysterious Girl – Peter Andre
  • Simple the Best – Tina Turner

12 feel-good reads

  • Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Practice of Happiness by John Kehoe
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • The Seven Sister series by Lucinda Riley
  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
  • Dear Fatty by Dawn French
  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Breath by James Nestor
  • Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
  • Infinite Self by Stuart Wilde
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Podcasts to uplift and inspire

  • 11:11 with Rachel Hunter and Emma Mildon
  • Straight Up with Niva and Beatrice
  • Self Love with Kim Morrison
  • Deliciously Ella with Ella Mills
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  • The Happy Saver with Ruth
  • Feel Better Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
  • Sattva Soul with Celine Wallace
  • Thrive TV Show with Lauren Parsons
  • The Girls Uninterrupted with Brodie Kane, Caitlin Marett and Gracie Taylor
  • No Filter with Mia Freedman
  • Reiki Radio with Yolanda Williams
  • Happy Place with Fearne Cotton
  • Hamish & Andy with Hamish Blake and Andy Lee
  • SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett
  • Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware
  • Oprah Super Soul with Oprah Winfrey
  • Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
  • The Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo
  • Infinite Potential with Seepal Chopra
  • Huberman Lab with Dr Andrew Huberman
  • Toni and Ryan with Toni Lodge and Ryan Jon
  • Stitch Wish Radio with Christi Johnson

Readers share things that lift them up that you may like to try:

  • Nalda: “Reading makes me happy because it takes me to far-away places to enjoy and understand how other cultures live.”

  • Julie: “Karate is my stress relief, exercise, my challenge and the dojo I attend creates a wonderfully supportive environment and is a fabulous community.”

  • Bonnie: “Bitch by Meredith Brooks is my song. Love singing it at karaoke. It just pumps me up.”

  • Rachel: “[After watching Labyrinth] it’s scientifically impossible to NOT feel happy while singing along with David Bowie in his spectacular tights!”

  • Kirsten: “Beautiful by Carole King is a good reminder to wake up every morning, put a smile on your face and treat people with manaakitanga! You create your own happiness with your own attitude and actions!” 

  • Becky: “The Toni & Ryan Podcast will always make me laugh and is something to take you out of a funk if you are having a low day.” 

  • Ariane: “Braiding Sweetgrass is an amazing book – the kind that you want to buy copies of for everyone you know. The author brings together her knowledge of both plant/botanical science and indigenous knowledge (Anishinaabe, Native American), via personal stories and observations, and gentle beautiful writing, to share life learnings gleaned from the plant world. On almost every page are sections that I want to quote. As someone who has always loved and been fascinated by plants, reading this book is like being embraced in a huge hug, coming home to my own mind/way of thinking. I find it incredibly calming and hopeful, even as she describes harms we’ve done to the natural world and to each other, because she reminds me that we are all interconnected and that the greater forces of nature are always at work.”

  • Kirstie: “The Happy Place podcast has conversations about real life, real feelings with real people. It makes me remember I’m not alone in whatever I might be feeling that day. It always gives me perspective. And almost always lifts my mood.” 

  • Riley: “I love the Deliciously Ella podcast. Her voice is so soothing and makes me feel calm and at peace with everything.” 

Dopamine dressing

Dress with the intention of boosting your mood 

Certain colours can have a powerful effect on our moods. Wearing the colour green, for example, can help make us feel more relaxed and less anxious. It’s calming, uplifting and soothes.

Blue is peaceful. Yellow can also improve your mood and boost energy. Colours associated with optimism include green and yellow.

Dressing for virtual meetings 

Overall there have certainly been less opportunities to dress up lately, but putting some thought into the clothes we wear at home during virtual calls can still provide that boost to your mood according to psychology professor Jennifer Pfeuffer, PsyD. Choosing an outfit that you’ll enjoy looking at and feel good wearing on screen can reinforce beneficial mental pathways. 

The Good team share their ultimate pick-me-ups

Carolyn Enting, editor

  • Happiness is… being in nature, and a sea swim!
  • My favourite pick-me-up movie is… Mamma Mia – it never fails to make laugh.
  • My favourite feel-good book is… Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Or, if I want to laugh, Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga by Todd Alexander is priceless!
  • I always feel uplifted after… listening to Beautiful Day by U2 and Happy by Pharrell Williams.

Maddie Ballard, sub-editor/features writer

  • Happiness is… singing in a choir.
  • My favourite feel-good book is… Pride and Prejudice, for pure unrivalled sunniness.
  • I always feel uplifted after… I’ve watched You’ve Got Mail or Little Women.

Sarah Tuck, editorial director

  • Happiness is… when both my grown-up sons are well and happy… and a swim in the sea… the whole deal, warming up in the sunshine, getting in, being submerged in water, then later showering off the salty goodness!
  • I always feel uplifted after… listening to You’re the Best Thing by The Style Council and Higher Love by Steve Winwood.
  • My favourite pick-me-up movies are… Billy Elliot, Pride and It’s Complicated.

Sam Bluemel, commercial manager

  • My favourite feel-good book is… Harry Potter for a light pick-me-up! 
  • I always feel uplifted after… going for a good long power walk while listening to the Armchair Expert poddy, or plonking myself down with a bowl of popcorn and a bit of Disney magic.

Millie Hinchliffe, digital producer

  • Happiness is… looking after myself and surrounding myself with people who radiate good energy. 
  • My favourite feel-good books are… Gone Girl and The Lord of the Rings series. 
  • I always feel uplifted after… I’ve listened to the feel-good Spotify playlist I made for myself with songs including Mr Blue Sky by ELO, You Get What You Give by New Radicals, Good Life by Kanye West, Lately by INXS and more. Also after I’ve watched my favourite feel-good movie, 10 Things I Hate About You!

Archie Blohm, art director

  • Happiness is… having a good laugh with friends and family.
  • My favourite feel-good book is… Ali: a Life by Jonathan Eig. I found it really motivating and interesting.
  • My favourite pick-me-up movie is… Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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