Britain’s position at a lowly 19th in the World Happiness Report is nothing to smile about. Enter Gavin Oattes and Dr Andy Cope, authors of Shine: a self-help comedy book aimed at helping us be happier and more positive.

Oattes, from Edinburgh, is a former primary school teacher and stand up comic turned motivational speaker, and Dr Cope has a PhD from the University of Loughborough in the wonderfully-named happiness studies.

Oattes says: “I think wellbeing is something we need to think more about and talk more about, particularly mental health. There are so many people out there chasing happiness, but happiness isn’t an end point. You simply can’t be happy all the time.

"But as a race, as a population, and as human beings, we can certainly be doing more to encourage people to live happier and mentally healthier lives.

“The book is written in an entertaining and funny style but there is a very serious message. It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom, or corny and cheesy, but we hope that through entertainment we will inform and enlighten people about mental positivity.”

One simple change Oattes recommends is to spend less time on smartphones and gadgets.

“I think there is enough evidence that mobile phones and social media are creating unhappiness among certain parts of the population. Mobile phones were designed to allow us to live a freer life, they talked about how it would allow us to live more openly. But for many of us we know that’s not the case, we are chained to these screens and we unlock our phones hundreds of times a day.”

“There were nights when we used to sit down as a family and all watch TV together, but now we sit in one room watching our separate phones and laptops. We are physically there but mentally we are all over the place, and our brains are so engaged all the time that I think we need to switch off and allow ourselves to be in the moment.”

He says in the book that time spent on social media is “hours that you are not going to get back. These hours have a cost. You are not reading a book to your child, playing with your toddler on the floor, or talking with your partner before bed. You have gone somewhere else.”

If people do want to try taking a step back from their phones, Gavin says there are some “small steps” to try.

“One thing I tried recently was deleting Facebook from my phone. I can still use it by logging in from my laptop – but I check it so much less often and it has made a big difference. It’s one of the best things I have ever done.

“The first two or three days were a bit strange because I think I realised how often I used Facebook – but it quickly began to feel like a weight off my shoulders. I think the biggest surprise is that I don’t miss it and I don’t want to go back to it.

“I think anyone could do it. It doesn’t have to be Facebook, just any app that is infiltrating your life too much. With phones and smartwatches there can be a constant pinging and buzzing 50 times a day – so even turning notifications off can be a good first step.”

It was easy advice like this that Gavin and Andy couldn’t find in traditional self-help books, with many of the existing wisdom “written in a wordy way for the sake of sounding clever.”

But after becoming a bit of an expert on how to be happy, what does Oattes do if he ever finds himself in need of a quick mood-boost?

“If I need instant happiness I turn to music. Music is for me a huge motivator: I love listening to Green Day or singing along to KISS. I am also a huge fan of the comedy duo Reeves and Mortimer, sticking on an episode of that is a real 20 minutes of escapism. I believe that everybody needs a bit of nonsense and a bit of silliness in their lives – it is the key to happiness for me.”

Here's Oattes' top 10 tips to turn your life around.

1. Plot Twist

Change your language. If something bad happens, describe it as a 'plot twist’ rather than a ‘problem’.

So when something doesn’t go according to plan, it’s not a nightmare, crisis, challenge or problem, it’s merely a plot twist.

After all, what would a film be without plot twists? Boring.

2. Live a Full-ass Life

Whatever you do, don’t do anything half-heartedly or ‘half-assed’. Use your full effort. Be bothered, care, and really want to do your best – whatever the task may be.

They suggest adopting the enthusiasm of children – the positivity and ‘wee bit of magic’ that seems to be lost within us as part of growing up.

3. Let it Go

If you hold a grudge about something, it’s you that will suffer the most.

We’ve all been wronged, treated unfairly, dissed, dismissed and upset- but it is time to let it all go and move on. Forgiveness can often be the best mood-booster, because if you have finished with your past then the world has finished with it too.

4. Shine-tinted Specs

Everyone knows and understands deja vu, that feeling of familiarity, an experience that has happened to you before. Very few know the opposite, vuja de, which is when we see a familiar situation through new eyes.

Try looking at life through ‘shine-tinted’ specs. Savour and concentrate on the good, and really notice all the wonderful experiences that most people miss. By sucking in the positives and focusing on good things, you will find it easier to take out ‘the bad’ from your life.

5. Celebrate Bad Stuff That Didn’t Happen

Think about bad stuff that could have happened, but didn’t – and then celebrate the positive result.

The accident you didn’t have, the headache you didn’t suffer, the supermarket queue that wasn’t there, the train that wasn’t delayed…it can make a real difference.

6. Scratch Your Itch

We all need that something special, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Think of it as your purpose: you can survive without it, but with it you fly. The Japanese call it your Ikigai, pronounced as "itchy-guy". Your itchy-guy is your drive, a combination of passion, mission, profession and vocation. If you can scratch your itch successfully, you will be on to a winner.

7. Upgrade your knickers

Too many people reserve their happiness for special occasion. Ditto their best knickers. Throw away your rubbish pants and upgrade to your poshest underwear, even on a Monday.

8. Plenty of the F-word

Failure. Dirty, rotten, foulmouthed, despicable failure. The truth is simple; you must be good at accepting when things don’t go to plan, and knowing how to deal with it positively. After all, if you are unwilling to fail then you are unwilling to succeed.

9. Get Snuggly

The secret to happiness seems to be in embracing the snuggles. The Danish say "hygge" (coziness), the Swedish call it "mysa" (to be content and comfortable) and the Norwegians use "peiskos" (to sit in front of a warm fireplace). Whatever you call it, the advice is that enjoying simple cosy moments can lead to a lot more happiness than chasing ostentatious glamour or wealth.

10. Be The Kind Of Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

Your dog thinks you are wonderful, they believe you to be caring and loving and always there for them. So be that person to everyone. Be nicer, more positive and a bit less moany, and hopefully dogs and humans alike will approve.

‘SHINE: rediscovering your energy, happiness and purpose’ by Dr Andy Cope and Gavin Oattes is out Friday 30 March 2018