Nowadays, there isn’t any bookstore that doesn’t fill its shelves with “how to be happy”-guidance books. But while these are often lengthy and repetitive, we thought we’d give you the essential 11 points you really need to make you happier in your everyday life. All of them are really easy and have been scientifically proven to work!
This winter has been hard on us and we could all use some sunshine to fill up our drained happiness reserves right about now. Luckily, even if the weather isn’t on our side, we can do something to increase our happiness. Today, we give you 11 simple and scientifically proven tricks that you can easily integrate into your everyday life to become happier each day:
1. Laugh: A study at the Mayo Clinic showed that laughter and giggles reduce stress. Positive effects are both short term (boost your mood, reduce tension) and long term (strengthen your immune system). Try it out and give us a big smile/giggle/laugh!
2. Put your happy music on: We all have a song that makes us happy whenever we listen to it. Recent research at the University of Missouri discovered that participants were able to improve their mood by listening to upbeat music and even boosted their overall happiness over a period of two weeks.
3. Go for a run: If you don’t like working out, this one probably isn’t for you. But you still should try to do physical exercise in any form when you’re feeling down, according to a study at Penn State University. When you exercise, your body releases endorphines, which have been known to be the “happiness” hormone in our body that makes us feel uplifted and euphoric.
4. Cuddle a puppy: If you’re looking for a reason to get a pet, look no further. Researcher at the Miami University found that spending time with a pet can significantly increase your emotional well-being and happiness. On top of that, pets can be a great source of emotional support for their owners. So really, there’s no excuse not to get one.
5. Volunteer: By helping others you not only make them feel better – you make yourself happier too. An extensive study at the University of Exeter Medical School proved that volunteering and helping others can lead to an increased well-being, lower depression, and even reduce our risk of dying!
6. Try meditation: By now, you have heard that meditation is good for your overall well-being. There are several studies that demonstrate meditation to raise your hapiness and health. A study at UCLA also revealed that meditation can increase your brain size, prevent brain cells from dying when you age, enable you to focus more deeply, and deal with stress better.
7. Think of happy memories: A study at the University of Southampton showed that just by thinking of happy memories in your past, you can strengthen your happiness levels and be more optimistic about the future. Being nostalgic never felt better!
8. A walk in the park: A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh found that we feel more at ease when we are surrounded by nature instead of an urban scenery. In the study, participants had to first walk on a noisy street and then in a quiet park. The results clearly showed their brain waves to be relaxed in the park, whereas the noisy street environment caused their stress levels to rise.
9. Take a vacation: Not only is a vacation a great way to distance yourself from your daily workload, a study conducted at the NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands also examined what the mere anticipation of a vacation does to your mood. Turns out that by only looking forward to your next trip, you already increase your overall feeling of happiness – this effect can occur up to 8 weeks prior to your departure.
10. Get your sleep: As we all know, sleep is good for us. Experiments by psychologist David Dinges from the University of Pennsylvania showed that people who get their sleep are much happier than their crankier counterparts who don’t hit the sack timely. So turn off your smartphone, grab a good book and curl up in bed before switching off the lights and calling it a day.
11. Move closer to your workplace: Or get a job close to where you live. Either way, the important thing is you don’t spend an excessive amount of time commuting between the two. Commuting has negative consequences for your health, your phsychological well-being, and your happiness – as research at Umea University in Sweden has demonstrated. A long commute to and from work literally drains your energy, can lead to feeling lonely and depressed, and even puts a strain on your relationships.