How to be happy: Lessons from Gaby Roslin

Gaby Roslin has been presenting for 30 years now, going from children’s TV to the radio, via The Big Breakfast and roles in the West End. So, what keeps her going all these years down the line? According to her, it’s her positive outlook.

Speaking on The Attitude, Gaby told podcast host Kate Thornton that she’s is always being asked if she’s really as happy as she seems!

“People say, ‘Are you always that happy?” Yes, I am. I am,” she laughed. “The thing is I used to apologise for years and years and years - I apologised for being happy, so every time I was interviewed by the press, they'd say, ‘Oh, are you always this happy?’ and I’d be like ‘I'm so sorry!’”

Thankfully the Radio 4 presenter is fully embracing her current happiness, so who better to give some life lessons on how to be more cheerful in life?

1. Follow your dreams

Gaby’s father was an announcer for the BBC, and she grew up knowing she would end up as a TV presenter after visits to the Blue Peter set as a little girl! Even though at times it’s been tough, she said following her dreams has enabled her to feel really content with her life now.

“I was brought up by my parents who said follow your dreams,” she explained. “Don't hurt anyone in the process, but never give up on your dreams, and I think that never left me. And I pass that onto to my girls now. I'll say that to anybody - follow your dreams. It hasn't been easy though.”

2. Find your passion

Thirty years down the line, Gaby is still as passionate about television as she was all those years ago when she first set foot onto a TV set. It’s something that she’s worked super hard at and believes if we can all find a passion in life, we’ll be so much happier.

READ MORE: Gaby Roslin reveals why 'fabulous' Meghan Markle loves her style

“I have worked hard, because I love it so much,” she told Kate. “I was in a meeting recently and it was a very high-powered meeting in television. I was sitting there in a meeting and they said, ‘Goodness me, there's lots of swearing!’ They were quite shocked about it as I was getting very passionate about television.

“I passionately love the medium of television. I think it is a very, very special thing. A very special part of people's lives.”

When asked by Kate about her most magical times in her life, she said most of them relate to her work. She said: “There are times in my life that I will never forget the feeling inside - the sparkle, the bubble, the excitement.

“There were certain feelings in my life and I could probably say there are ten - obviously three to do with my marriage to my husband now and my daughters - but the other seven are all to do with work!”

3. Appreciate what you do have

Sadly, for Gaby she lost her mum a while back to cancer, but she said it was a catalyst for her to really start appreciating her life.

“When my mum died 23 years ago, I realised that I was never going to apologise about being happy about life anymore because it was the most traumatic thing I'd ever been through,” she said.

“I was very young, and she was very young, and it was horrible. I'm never going to apologise about being happy and enjoying life because I do!”

READ MORE: British people reach peak happiness at 68, research finds

Talking about the period after her mum died, Gaby says she soon realised that there is no one way to grieve.

“There are no rules about how people feel,” she said talking about how she got through that period. “I think you just have to feel grief. You have to feel joy, you have to feel all of those things and forget that there are no rules.”

4. Take care of yourself

One of the qualities Gaby says has been instilled in her from a young age is discipline – she said that even as a child, if she wanted to do something she would. This is something she’s used to her advantage with her health – after all, happiness is very dependent on how you feel physically and mentally.

“I gave up alcohol two years ago because I decided I didn't want hangovers anymore, so I'm very disciplined about that,” she explained. “I gave up caffeine when I realised it wasn't doing me any good 25 years ago. I'm not going to do it because I love life too much!”

5. Find your way of coping with life

For some people, when life gets bleak, they need to reach out to others for support, however, Gaby prefers to deal with things on her own. The key to dealing with stress is finding out what works for you and that might not be what works for your best friend - as Gaby knows only too well!

READ MORE: How to support a fiercely independent friend through grief

“It drives my best, best friend in the world mad…. Everybody knows that I do everything on my own!” she said. “If I have to deal with something, I do it on my own.”

“I remember at my mum's funeral – I mean, it’s quite funny now – my best friend came up to me and I'm like, ‘Don't hug me!’ I want to stay strong, because I'm very strong on the outside and I'm an old softie on the inside and I've always said that. I have never kidded anybody otherwise.

“I'll handle something on my own, whether it's a friend's death, whether it's a mother's death, whether it's the divorce of my first marriage, whatever it is… I'm quite a good handler”

6. Don’t worry!

Surprisingly for someone who spends their professional life on screen, Gaby admitted to Kate that she is actually a very shy person – and she still hates going to parties.

In fact, she revealed that her shyness is the main reason she won’t do Strictly. She said: “I am still incredibly self-conscious. That’s why I won't do Strictly - I'm too shy, self-conscious. I'm an incredibly shy person!”

However, she hasn’t let it hold her back from her job and she says now that she’s older, she no longer sweats the small stuff, something she wish she could’ve told her teenage self. She said she would tell herself that “life is too short to be so self-conscious!”

READ MORE: Gaby Roslin won’t apologise for positivity

“I used to worry about everything” she continued. “I don't worry now I just think ‘Come on, get on with it!’ I must worry about things, but I don't worry about the things I used to worry about!”

Asked about her attitude towards her life today, Gaby told Kate that she never gives up and will never apologise again for being happy. “I love life,” she exclaimed. “That's why I won't apologise for loving life and being happy and neither being daft!”

Gaby’s happy picks from Harpenne

Gaby Roslin appears on the latest episode of The Attitude (Photography: Adiam Yewande)

Gaby wears:

Blue Star Embroidered Maxi Skirt, £79

Grey Cat In The Hat Embroidered Tee, £35

Navy Leather Biker Jacket, £269

All by Harpenne


You can hear Gaby Roslin discuss her 30 year career, plus more about her positive outlook, on the latest episode of The Attidue. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.