Ready for some happiness boosters? Here are five easy ones.
Each happiness booster supports positive emotions, productivity and with consistent use, researchers say they can raise our “baseline” of happiness.
I’ve summarized the five boosters taken from a great, easy to read resource, The Happiness Advantage.
1) Find Something to Look Forward To
“One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. 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.”
2) Commit Conscious Acts of Kindness
After you find something to look forward to, do something good for some one.
“A long line of empirical research, including one study of over 2,000 people, has shown that acts of altruism—giving to friends and strangers alike—decrease stress and strongly contribute to enhanced mental health.”
After a random act of kindness, get some exercise.
“After four months, all three groups experienced similar improvements in happiness. The very fact that exercise proved just as helpful as anti-depressants is remarkable, but the story doesn’t end here. The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!”
For an added exercise benefit, try it outdoors.
4) Infuse Positivity into Your Surroundings
“Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory… studies have shown that the less negative TV we watch, specifically violent media, the happier we are.”
After you’ve scheduled something to look forward to, done some good deeds, exercised and enjoyed the outdoors, top it off with an inner world happiness booster.
“Take just five minutes each day to watch your breath go in and out. While you do so, try to remain patient. If you find your mind drifting, just slowly bring it back to focus. Meditation takes practice, but it’s one of the most powerful happiness interventions. Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress, even improve immune function.”
For more on meditation and 3 other methods to calm your mind in a chaotic world, click here.
Other reads I’d recommend for happiness boosting include:
Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression One Small Change at a Time
The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life
Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
- Find Something to Look Forward To – Raises happiness
- Commit Conscious Acts of Kindness – Boosts mental health
- Exercise – As helpful as antidepressants
- Infuse Positivity into Your Surroundings – 20 minutes outside boosts positive moods
- Meditate – Rewires the brain for happiness and improved immunity