The top 10 ways to boost your happiness
by Jonathan Robinson —
Articles with titles such as this one usually offer up simple platitudes for being happy, such as “accept everyone” or “live a balanced life.” While these ideas are good, they are also basically worthless. Such platitudes are so general that they do not really give substantial ways to impact your daily life.
This article is different. I am going to tell you what scientific research shows are the top 10 things you can quickly do to boost your level of happiness. By taking any of the following steps, you will almost surely feel dramatically better in less than three minutes. In addition, by combining items from the list below, you can increase their effectiveness.
1. Look at pictures of people and animals you love. As you look at each picture, remember an enjoyable time you had with them and send them a silent wish that they live a happy and productive life.
2. Exercise, even if only for three minutes. Take a quick brisk walk, do some jumping jacks or whatever gets your heart going and your lungs breathing more deeply. In even a minute you will start to feel better. Hallelujah for such a simple thing.
3. Give someone money. Research shows that when we give someone in need some money, we immediately feel better about ourselves. It also helps another person so it is a win-win situation.
4. Cool down. By going from a hot or warm environment to a cooler one, our mood and sense of happiness tend to go up. Hurray for air conditioning!
5. Work toward an important goal. Whether it is cleaning your desk or selling more widgets, when you feel like you are making progress toward a specific and important goal, you invariably feel better. Just by reading all the way through this article, you will have achieved something, which will make you feel good.
6. Tune in to the power of gratitude. Saying a sincere “thank you” to the people who serve you at a restaurant or bag your groceries can be a quick happiness booster. Another way is to write down three things you currently feel grateful for in your life. They could be big things, such as your children, or small things, such as the great burger you had for lunch. By writing them down, you will immediately see that there is a lot of good in your life.
7. Do a 90-second heart meditation that consists of taking a deep breath and imagining exhaling out the center of your chest. Close your eyes and imagine someone you love, such as a pet, child or friend. Remember special times with this being and bask in the gratitude that they are in your life. If you want, imagine hugging or holding them in a way that helps you feel connected to them. This simple method can take you from stressed out to blissed out in about 90 seconds. Research shows that doing this for one minute can reduce your stress hormones for up to five hours.
8. Spend time with a beloved pet, toddler and/or in a nature environment. Pets, young children and trees live in the moment. You and I, on the other hand, spend most of our time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. If you spend time playing with a pet, toddler or enjoying nature, some of their ability to be present in the moment will rub off on you.
9. Play a song that you really enjoy and sing along. Try singing along with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles and just try to feel depressed. You probably cannot. Your favorite songs can lift you up and out of almost any bad mood.
10. Perform an act of kindness for a stranger or friend. Yep, it is true: When you do a small act of kindness, you feel better, others feel better and the world has a bit more kindness in it. Even something small like saying what you appreciate about someone will immediately boost your level of well-being.
So now that you know the top 10 ways to quickly boost your happiness level, do something about it. The world could use a lot more happy people. After all, happy people are less selfish than others — they are more productive, earn more money and are physically and mentally healthier.
Another way to boost your happiness is by sharing this article with friends and family. By doing that, you will be performing an act of kindness and helping those you care about feel even happier. What could be better than that?
Jonathan Robinson is the author of Find Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance and Joy Into Your Life. Robinson has taught more than 100 million people simple ways to be happier through TV shows such as Oprah and CNN, and with his nine best-selling books. findinghappiness.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 4, August/September 2014.