Happiness is often elusive. That statement is especially true when life stresses weigh you down. In 2011, only 33 percent of Americans lived happily. Sometimes you may think that there is nothing that can bring you happiness. The good news is there are tons of scientifically-backed ways to bring you joy. You won’t believe how some of the simplest things like thinking faster can boost your mood.
Call Your Mother More
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There’s a reason they say mother knows best. A mom is here for you unconditionally and should be in your corner during your rough patches. According to a scientific experiment, a mom’s voice can reduce stress and bring the feel-good hormone called oxytocin.
In this experiment, the test subjects were upset on purpose and then called their moms. The people who got to call their mom felt just as good as those who got a hug to relieve their anger.
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Mediation has probably come to your attention in the past. You might not have been sure if it’s the thing for you. Well, if you need some extra smiles, then you should consider giving it a try.
A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital conducted an eight-week study on 16 individuals. Those involved with the research meditated and had their brains scanned before and after the practice. Studies showed that the part of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion grew and stress levels in the brain decreased.
There is a certain fruit you should eat too…
Things Are Fine With A Clemintine
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Fruits have always been good for the body, but did you know they are great for your mood as well? As most fruits provide the dietary value your body wants and need, clementines have an added effect on them.
Research shows that the scent from a clementine is one of the most arousing and positive smells you can get a whiff of compared to other fruit. Next time you’re at the store don’t forget to add a couple of these in your cart, its good for you.
Studies Show Exercise Lowers Rate of Depression
One of the most common New Years resolutions is working out more. Many fall off the wagon, but some keep going. Those who continue going have a higher chance of fighting depression.
A study treated people with depression with medication, exercise, and a combination of both. The results weren’t what the researchers expected. They found that patients who exercised had the lowest relapse rate, of only nine percent. Those who exercised and took medication had a 31 percent relapse rate.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Social
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One of the top five regrets of dying people is missing out on time spent with family and friends. And research backs up the idea that being around loved ones will make you happier.
Dan Gilbert, Professor of Psychology at Harvard said: “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.” Meaning, don’t be so reserved that you miss out on making new friends and building the relationships you already have.
Don’t Hesitate To Help Others
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Although it might be surprising, spending money on other people makes you happier than buying things for yourself. A Harvard study revealed: “Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection.”
Don’t think that giving money is the only way to help. Spending time on activities like volunteering also boosts your mood. Research shows that dedicating two hours of time per week or 100 hours per year is optimal for helping others.
After you’ve helped others, you should let your pets help you.
Have Fun With Your Pet!
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There’s a reason a dog is a man’s best friend. One purpose is because a dog can help cheer you up better than you can imagine. You don’t need much science to figure that out, but there is tons of research that proves pets help you live a happier life.
A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) called Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership, shared some helpful information. They found that people who owned pets had greater self-esteem, exercised more, and had greater conscientiousness than people who didn’t have pets.
Go Outside More
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You don’t need to wonder why the people who like the outdoors are generally happier than others. Happiness researcher Shawn Achor wrote in his book The Happiness Advantage that it only takes 20 minutes outside in the right weather for our mood to boost and for our working memory to improve.
Those are fantastic benefits for spending a short amount of time outside. If you keep it up throughout the week, then your whole life is going to be better. For future reference, the American Meteorological Society says the perfect weather for maximized happiness is 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
Disconnect From Your Cellphone
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Did you know that using your cell phone often leads to higher anxiety and reduced happiness? That’s what a study at Kent State University found out when they surveyed 500 students.
Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. psychologist at California State University Los Angeles says, “It’s likely that people spending more time on devices have less frequent contact with live social networks, and may be more vulnerable to social comparison that leaves them with a sense of emptiness.” Put the phones down and go outside more!
Listen To More Positive Music
Casual music streamers will be satisfied by shuffling any playlist. If you want to be happier than you must change that habit and select music that is more positive. Take for instance Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
The former of the songs should not block you from having a positive viewpoint. It will even help improve your outlook. The latter song, which discusses overcoming the pain a relationship brought you might be popular, but it could stir up negative emotions from personal experience you’ve dealt with before.
Chase Experience Not Materialism
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The old saying is money can’t buy happiness. Money can buy you items that you think bring you pleasure like jewelry and fancy clothes but those don’t last forever. When spending funds in search of joy, it is best to use your cash on an experience.
A psychological science study found that spending money on doing, rather than having is better for you in the long run. Anticipating a trip is better than waiting on owning an object.
Uptick Your Thoughts
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Believe it or not, but rapid thinking makes people happier. If thinking “happy thoughts” isn’t getting it done for you then your best bet is to think faster. This means thinking about a string of things back-to-back at a higher rate than usual.
Princeton and Harvard made research participants think quickly by having them read ideas at a fast pace, generate ideas, or watch I Love Lucy on fast-forward. The others did these things at a regular pace. “Results suggested that thinking fast made participants feel more elated, creative and, to a lesser degree, energetic and powerful,” wrote Siri Carpenter for Scientific American.
Don’t Forget To Practice Gratitude
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Something that everyone in society could easily be doing is practicing gratitude. That is, being thankful for even the smallest things in life. For example, you see superstar Steph Curry above with his finger to the sky. He does this after every made three-pointer as a way of being grateful. He is the best shooter alive, so this is just his way of showing thanks.
A Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study suggests that focusing on blessings have interpersonal and emotional benefits. Curry understands not everyone gets blessed with shooting the ball this well and doesn’t miss his chance to practice gratitude.
Colors and Emotions Are Connected
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Several studies have been conducted to determine the different impact colors have on us. For instance, purple is often associated with royalty whereas red brings forth a sense of urgency. Researcher Kaya N, Epps conducted an experiment that asked to associate colors with emotions.
“It was found that the majority of participants associated green color with the feeling of calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope, and excitement,” reported the NCBI. Suggestions include changing your desktop background to green and your phone background.
Get The Vanilla Candle
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Next time you’re shopping for a candle scent, get the vanilla one if you want to be happier. Studies show that the aroma of clementine which we mentioned earlier, is similar to the smell of vanilla.
Both pack a pleasant scent with clementines being more stimulating whereas vanilla is more relaxing. Nothing goes hand-in-hand better than relaxation and happiness. To make things better, try eating a clementine while a vanilla candle burns.
Up next is something everyone can try to improve.
Sleep Better If You Know What’s Good For You
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Some people long to have a good nights rest. Unfortunately, life happens and often there is no time for naps or a full nights rest. Studies show that people need to find more time for sleeping, even though we spend around one-third of our lives asleep already.
A 2011 study from BPS Research Digest reported that people who take an afternoon nap are less sensitive to negative emotions and respond better to positive ones. The bottom line is sleep can give you a mood boost whereas sleep deprivation can cause you emotional distress.
Don’t Bite Your Tongue
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Throw away all your passive aggressive tendencies. You cannot get the most out of your happiness if you are still complaining to your best friend about your girlfriend or boyfriend. Instead, be straightforward and discuss what’s bothering you. That goes for relationships and anything else that’s on your mind.
According to a study conducted by The Journal of Social Psychology, talking to someone can help relieve stress and send you back to a direction of happiness. You can work on this yourself and help others by listening to their stresses.
Save Your Favorite Food For Later!
This fact sounds more elementary than scientific, but it is the truth. Saving your favorite foods for a special occasion is the best method when attempting to boost your happiness. It’s the anticipation that brightens your mood instantly.
A study called Give It Up from Sage Journals reported that people who gave up chocolate for a week were happier than those who did not have to give it up. That seven-day wait did the trick.
Be In The Moment
Many are victims of past or future worries. As much as we may try, we can’t shake the fear of the unknown or the nostalgic thoughts that cross our minds on the daily basis. When you let your brain run crazy, you are making yourself considerably less happy.
650,000 real-time reports collected from the Track Your Happiness iPhone app warned that you shouldn’t let your mind wander to the past and future. The best resolution is reminding yourself of the task at hand in the moment. Remind yourself that you’re reading this right now.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
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Dr. Robert Emmons studies gratitude at UC Davis, and recommends that people keep a gratitude journal to increase happiness. Since gratitude is a positive emotion, dedicating time to think about everything you’re grateful for with automatically boost your mood.
You don’t have to commit to it daily, either. Professor Emmons told The Huffington Post, “Doing so 4 times a week, for as little as 3 weeks, is often enough to create a meaningful difference in one’s level of happiness. Another exercise is to write a “Gratitude Letter” to a person who has exerted a positive influence on one’s life but whom we have not properly thanked in the past, and then to meet that person and read the letter to them face to face.”