29 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier This Year
I don't know anyone who doesn't want to be happier. Do you? This desire seems to be nearly universal. However, the path to happiness often feels convoluted and difficult, where two steps forward seem to become three steps back. (See also: Happiness Habits That Help You Feel Better Now)
Fortunately, science can inform our pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a popular field of study among researchers, and there are ways to become happier that can suit every budget, lifestyle, and personality. Skeptical? Here are 29 scientifically supported ways to become happier this year.
1. Work With Your Hands
Garden. Build something. Cook dinner. Any sort of manual labor can improve your level of happiness.
2. Practice "Taking in the Good"
Avoid focusing on the negative and actually receive the good that exists in your life. Taking a moment to reflect on positive experiences as they occur builds neural networks that later help us be more resilient, or confident, or happy.
3. Help Others
4. Stop Caring About What Others Think
You can't make them happy, and trying to will drain your own happiness.
5. Let Go of Perfection
Let go of perfection, in all areas of your life. You are worthy now. You don't have to wait until you've reached the perfect weight, or the perfect career, or the perfect frugal lifestyle to know that.
6. Become Calm
7. Hold the Small Things
Embrace life's small pleasures, rather than holding out for big ones. Even the smallest pleasures can raise your happiness significantly.
8. Write It Down
Keep a daily list of the things you're thankful for. You can even share your list with others. Writing things down makes them real to our brains, so this practice solidifies your happiness. (See also: 20+ Ways to Say Thanks)
9. Guzzle H2O
Drink plenty of water. Hydration improves mood.
Get off Facebook, and interact with people in real life. People who spend more time on Facebook are not as happy as those who interact off of it.
11. Fake It 'til You Make It
Put a smile on that face. The effects are modest, but a simple smile actually can improve your mood.
12. Embrace the Great Outdoors
13. Stop Whining!
Cease with the whining, already! Whining is negative, and negativity leads to unhappiness. Whining doesn't only make you unhappy, but brings down those around you, too.
14. Hold Your Tongue
15. Use Your Time Well
Make time for the things that make you happy. If it makes you happy, it is worth finding the time to do.
16. Get Your Sweat On
Exercise, exercise, exercise! When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that literally mean you cannot be depressed as long as they are around.
17. Leave Blame Behind
Stop blaming other people for the things that go wrong in your life. Take responsibility and change the things that you can change yourself.
19. Talk It Up
Tell people when they do something that you appreciate. Verbalizing your gratefulness not only improves your happiness, but theirs as well.
20. Engage in Aid
Spend two hours a week serving at a homeless shelter or otherwise helping those less fortunate than you. One hundred hours a year seems to be the magic number, at which time helping others in these ways improves your happiness.
21. Reach Out
Find a community of other people, and invest yourself in it. Actively caring for people will make you happier.
22. Don't Fear Failure
23. See Yourself Different
Visualize who you want to be. Visualization leads to success, so if you visualize yourself happy, you are more likely to become so.
24. Pay Attention
Stop, look, and listen to the everyday moments of your life. In today's hustle-bustle culture, we miss happiness if we don't focus on the present.
25. Find a New Mantra
Repeating a mantra is a way of meditation, and this positive meditation will make you happier and more resilient. Basically, if you repeat positive thoughts over and over, you will be happier. (See also: 10 Life-Changing Mantras)
26. Don't Eat Alone
Eat your meals with other people. Eating alone brings you down.
27. Get Creative
28. Make Your Choice
Choose happiness. It's easy to believe that our happiness level is a sort of built in set point, but choosing happiness actually makes us feel happier.
29. Dream About Getting Away
Plan a vacation, even if you can't take it. Sometimes visualizing yourself having fun, without going through the stress involved in actually making it happen, can make you happier.
How do you make yourself happier? Be sure to let us know!