1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, though. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
2. Slee p More: Yo u’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions
We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness.
3. Spend More Time with Friends/Family: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that time with friends is beneficial for you, research proves it can make you happier right now, too. Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel.
4. Get outside More: Happiness is maximized at 15 degrees
This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
5. Help Others: 100 Hours a Year is the Magic Number
One of the most counter intuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
6. Practice Smiling: Reduce Pain, Improve Mood, Think Better
Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts. A smile is also a good way to reduce some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances.
7. Plan a Trip: It Helps Even if You Don’t Actually Take One
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness. If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
8. Meditate: Rewire Your Brain for Happiness
Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out its also useful for improving your happiness as it clears your mind and calms you down. The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.
9. Move Closer to Work: A Short Commute is Worth More Than a Big House
Our commute to work can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to commute twice a day at least five days a week makes it unsurprising that the effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy. We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work.
10. Practice Gratitude: Increase Happiness and Satisfaction
This is a seemingly simple strategy but it’s found to make a huge difference to your outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.