10 Scientifically Ways to Be Happy
Its perfectly normal & healthy to let yourself feel a range of emotions. However, if you’re feeling down, more often than not, here are some practical steps to brighten your mood.
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.
2 – Get some sun:
Vitamin D deficiency is tied to depression, so try to get 10-20 min exposure/day.
3 – Sleep More:
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.
4 – Meditate More:
Many studies have shown the positive effects of meditation on brain health & reducing anxiety/depression symptoms.
5 – Get Outside More:
A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
6 – Smile more often:
Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:
A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts–such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital–improve their mood and withdraw less.
7 – Practice Gratitude:
Writing down a few reasons you’re grateful can make a huge difference in mood.
In an experiment where participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the three studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
8 – Spend quality time with Friends/Family:
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying.
Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel.
I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
9. Help Others:
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”– Buddha
Try to make someone’s day beautiful by sending them a thank-you note. It hardly takes five minutes from your daily routine.
Try to share knowledge with others. Doing so helps you to grow your skills and at the same time improve the lives of others.
10 – Plan a trip:
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness.
A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as people enjoy the sense of anticipation:
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.