Happiness, anger, depression, anxiety, excitement — we’ve all experienced each of these emotions before. It’s part of the human condition and how we’re wired. But if we had the option to feel happy 24/7, most of us would probably choose it.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works. But, what if we were to tell you there are certain things you can do to get you closer to feeling happy all the time? Simple hacks, like taking a walk, planning a vacation and listening to music. That’s right — it’s as easy as that. Even the slightest tweaks and additions to your daily routine can boost your mood, and get you back on track.
1. Take a daily nature walk.
If you’re feeling blue, just take a step outside. According to a recent study, taking a daily nature walk can help boost your happiness. And not only that, but your overall well-being and connectedness to others.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
One of the longest-running studies on happiness, done through the Harvard Study of Adult Development unit at Harvard University, followed a group of 724 men of different backgrounds over the course of 80 years. What the study discovered is the less people worried about small things, the happier they were. The study specifically found that as people aged, they tended to focus on what’s most important to them and forget about minor things.
3. Cultivate close relationships.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development also found that close relationships to family, spouses and friends was a major mood booster. They discovered the importance of developing positive relationships and tuning out negative ones.
4. Pick quality relationships over quantity.
While having a lot of friends is a good thing, it’s the value of these relationships that’s even more important. According to the Harvard study, it’s not about the number of friends you have but rather “the quality of your close relationships that matters.” These types of relationships are great buffers to the “slings and arrows of getting old.”
5. Get married.
While you might not be ready yet, one study found that marriage is a major factor in making people happier in the long run. Having a spouse to rely provides comfort and companionship, which ultimately boost your mood.
While the act of traveling, itself, is typically a happy one, simply planning and anticipating a trip boosts a person’s happiness levels, according to recent research. In fact, they’ve even coined a name for this: “pre-trip happiness.” So if you’re feeling down lately, plan something fun to get your excitement levels back up.
7. Hire a maid and order takeout.
That’s right — it might sound lazy, but it’s been proven that outsourcing some minor tasks, like cleaning and grocery shopping, are bound to boost happiness levels. A recent studyfound that “People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction.”
8. Get romantic.
Research has found that having sex frequently has a direct positive effect of people’s happiness levels. In fact, people who have sex once a week are found to be substantially happier than people who have sex once a month. However, it’s not all about the sexual pleasure. In fact, it’s the connection that you’re making with your partner that truly affects happiness.
9. Get the right amount of sleep.
Sleep has a direct relationship with a person’s happiness. And when you don’t get enough of it, you struggle with mood swings and aggravation. However, if you get too much sleep, you’re groggy and less productive. While it’s recommended that people get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, it turns out there’s a sweet spot when it comes to getting the right amount of sleep to put you at your happiest. A recent survey found that people who identified as “perfectly happy” got seven hours and six minutes of sleep every night.
10. Spend money on experiences, not things.
While purchasing expensive designer items or the latest tech gadgets might bring you some short-lived happiness, if you really want to be happy, spend your money on experiences instead. One study discovered that people who spent their money on experiences like trips and classes, rather than material items, were happier and more satisfied with how they spent their money. The joy of memory and experiences is much stronger than the short thrill of buying nice stuff.
11. Give back.
While volunteering and giving back is not only good for the community, it has also been found to improve a person’s health and well-being. An earlier study found that people who volunteered had higher levels of self-esteem and happiness compared to people who don’t. Not only that, but volunteers also had a 22 percent lower mortality rate.
12. Get a puppy.
People are often advised to get a puppy or a kitten if they’re feeling down or lonely, and research only goes to support this. Pets help to provide social support to people, raising their self-esteem, making them more outgoing and even helping them create healthier relationships with human beings.
13. Listen to music.
If you’re feeling down, a quick way to raise your spirits is to turn on some of jams. Of course, you can’t play just any old songs. In fact, a study by professors at the University of Missouri found that playing upbeat music can significantly raise your mood.