6 Scientific Ways to Increase Your Happiness

Things you can do to feel happier on a day-to-day basis.

Oct 23, 2019

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There are many ways to increase happiness levels. Being surrounded by loved ones, laughing, reaching out for help when needed, planning your future goals, being optimistic, and getting ample sleep are all ways that we can live fulfilling and joyful lives. 

Amidst our busy schedules and hectic lives, we often forget to stop and consider what makes us happy. Whatever it is that works for you, it's important to be aware of the factors or actions in life that add pleasure, and equally as important be aware of what types of experiences bring you stress. 

While finding satisfaction in life is often an individual journey, there are a few methods that scientists have found that can help us increase our happiness on a day-to-day level. Whether it’s a bit of shopping or drifting into some sad music you’ll be surprised to discover what this list has in store.   

Spend money on other people

Whether consciously or subconsciously, many of  us buy ourselves something special when we’re feeling down. A  study found that people who spent money on others or on a charity reported higher happiness levels than people who spent money on themselves. So next time you’re feeling gloomy, think about a small gift or contribution you can make to a loved one, a stranger, or cause. 

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Meditate 

One of the most conclusive and guaranteed methods of increasing happiness is by meditating. Practiced for centuries and amply researched, meditation is known to reduce stress and increase clarity, calm, and feelings of content. Even studies among high stress groups, such as nursing students and those who experienced the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina increased feelings of happiness after a meditation session. 

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Have a cup of coffee

Ever wonder why that morning cup of Joe makes you feel so good? Well, honestly, scientists are still trying to figure it out too. They have discovered that one cup of coffee a day can reduce people's risk of depression by eight percent but they’re not entirely sure why. Some believe it has to do with the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in those delicious beans, others believe it has to do with coffee’s ability to increase dopamine production. Either way, I’ll have mine with soymilk please! 

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Express your inner frustrations 

Several studies have proven that when we write down our negative emotions, we help release bottled up tension and stress. Health.com even suggests that if we throw out that piece of paper after we write down what’s bothering us it can benefit us even more! We often keep things to ourselves so the next time you feel overwhelmed by a frustrating emotion try putting pen to paper and trashing it afterwards. 

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Get outside and take a walk

Taking a walk can sometimes be a magical way to let go of anxiety, and research backs this up. Some studies focus on taking walks in nature, while others suggest that any walk outdoors is a healthy way to clear up emotional and mental blockages. Most studies agree, however, that walking – not matter where – because it’s a form of exercise will ultimately increase happiness and reduce stress. 

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Play a sad song

Do it with music. A 2014 study by Taruffi and Koelsch, a Berlin research team, found that actually turning up the sad tunes can help us get out of a bad mood. Researchers found that melancholy music can actually regulate our negative moods and emotions. So the next time you’re feeling the blues, plug in and turn up the volume.  

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.