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Everyone wants to be happy, but unfortunately there’s no magic way to snap your fingers and make all your troubles disappear. However, there are a number habits and traits that can definitely improve your chance of happiness. Although we can’t control outside circumstances, we can try to our best to improve our mood and overall satisfaction.
Here are seven things to do if you want to be happier, backed by science.
1. Express Your Gratitude
Focusing on what you’re grateful for in life can help you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, and better deal with adversity, according to Harvard Health. Take time each day to focus on the positives, or even keep a gratitude journal once a week.
2. Make A Good Group Of Friends
Socializing is important to our happiness, and what matters is quality over quantity. A 75-year-long study from Harvard University found that maintaining good relationships with others is vital to long-term happiness. These relationships can include marriages, peer or friend support, and family.
3. Be Present
With so many distractions in today’s world, especially with technology, it can be difficult to stay completely focused in the present moment, but this could actually end up making you more unhappy. A study from Harvard University found that people who frequently let their mind wander during activities are less happy than those who focus on the present moment.
4. Plan Something To Look Forward To
A study published in the journal “Applied Research in Quality of Life” found that the happiest part of a vacation was the planning portion. Having something to look forward to can help boost your mood, and it doesn’t have to be a big getaway. Choose something exciting for the end of your day or the weekend, and you might find your overall happiness increase.
5. Focus On Your Strengths
We all have something we’re good at, so why not make the most of it? A study published from the book “The Happiness Advantage” found that when employees were encouraged to pick up a task that involved their personal strengths, they became significantly happier and less depressed than those who stuck to their normal routine that didn’t involve doing something they’re good at.
Most of us think of exercise as a way to get in shape, but it can also have profound effects on our mental state. Regularly working out can help you feel happier, both in the short term from the release of chemicals such as endorphins, and in the longterm, by changing the structure of your brain. Multiple studies show that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression.
7. Write Down Your Feelings
Even the happiest people have worries, but putting them down on paper can help you feel better. Writing about your feelings can help you overcome emotional issues and make you feel happier. This is because the act of writing helps to reduce activity in the amygdala, the part of your brain that controls the intensity of emotions. It also helps you to take a step back and see your thoughts and feelings objectively.
Photo by Pablo Recio