Want to know the good news about happiness? There are dozens of ways to make yourself happier, or even happy. Most are scientifically proven to improve happiness and contentment, create joy, and improve long-term mood.
All they require from you is a little bit of study and effort.
- Just smile. Smiling on its own releases dopamine in the brain, which is the happy chemical that improves your mood.
- Get more exercise. Exercise also releases dopamine, the happy hormone. It can also help improve self-esteem and relieve anxiety.
- Eat for your mood. Certain foods, like carbohydrates, release serotonin, another happy hormone. But there can be a quick crash and other consequences so choose wisely. Our article on brain health and diet explains more.
- Be grateful. Gratitude is a science on its own and is central to improving feelings of hope and happiness.
- Get outside. Getting outside not only gets you away from an environment that might be triggering stress, anxiety, and unhappiness, it can also help you reconnect with nature.
- Socialize more. Friendships and relationships are key to long-term happiness, and especially catching up with old or lost friends.
- Help others. Giving to others makes us all feel a little better, and especially if that giving improves their life and happiness.
From the New York Times
- Don’t try to stop negative thoughts. Own them instead.
- Treat yourself like a friend and take the positive advice you might give to others.
- Rewrite Your Story. Writing about yourself and your personal experiences — and then rewriting your story — can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
- Practice Optimism. Optimism is part genetic, part learned. Even if you were born into a family of gloomy Guses, you can still find your inner ray of sunshine.
- Focus on your strengths. Focus on your core strengths and direct them toward seizing opportunities. This is one of the most effective paths to happiness.
- Work at being kinder. Treat people respectfully. Empathy at home, at work and in life is essential to understanding others and understanding the human condition.
- Meditate. If you want to know how to be happy, meditation is a good place to start. Spend 10-30 minutes each morning meditating and you’ll notice an improvement in well-being and life perspective.
- Find your life’s purpose. Why are you here? How do you create impact? When you know your life’s purpose, you will know how to be happier and have a better understanding of why you do what you do.
- Embrace empathy. Understanding others is essential to thrive in life and at work. Embrace empathy in everything you do. Understand others. Embrace your imperfect self.
From Psychology Today
- Build a “growth mindset” for happiness, a set of skills to help you to control, change, manage, and create emotional experiences.
- Look for silver linings. This skill has been linked to a better ability to cope with stress and be more resilient.
- Learn to buy happiness. Where and how you spend your money can make you happier. Yet another pair of shoes versus a great dinner with friends or donating to a cause that’s important to you? Check out this great Ted Talk on how to buy happiness.
- Pay attention to the good. It’s all around you, even in your own life, but often gets buried by other distractions.
- Decide what happiness means to you. Question what your happiness belief system really means to you, what’s true and realistic, and what’s trivial and unimportant.