When I read the title of this post: “10 easy things that will make you happier, backed by science” I loved it right away. For a few reasons.
It is a short, catchy, leading title – which is hard to do. A title (and the picture) are the number one reasons someone decides to click through or not. But I digress.
I really love it because of the content. Happiness is very important to me. I have a whiteboard in front of my bed for the last 10 years with 7 things I want in my life. #1 is to be happy. This article gives easy (really easy) tips, and to top it all off, its backed by science! Who doesn’t love science?!?
I’ll let you read the article to get the details on the science to back it up. Here are the 10 tips, and how It has affected me:
1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough
I knew exercise was a key ingredient to happiness, but I did not know such a small amount made a difference. Anyone can do these with one of those simple exercise phone apps or youtube videos before bed or when you wake up. This has been on my whiteboard: “Healthy Body = Sharp Mind”
2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions
Most people know more sleep is good for you, but interesting to know that it has an impact on how sensitive we are to negative emotions.
3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house
Here here! I used to have a 40 min drive commute. Now its a 16 min walk. It has made SUCH a huge difference to my mental clarity and happiness.
4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed
Life by yourself is very lonely, don’t spend time with friends or family only when you need them. This is on my white board: “Spend time with family and friends”
5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C
This ties in with #3. If you can walk to work, you can also get your outside time!
6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number
That’s just 2 hours a week. Very doable, and you learn a lot as well (in addition to helping others). This is on my whiteboard: “Give Back”. I get this by teaching taekwondo.
7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain
This is a great tip, and one that I will start doing. Important not to fake smile, but think of a person, place or thing that makes you smile throughout the day.
8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one
This one is just so simple that it would be a sin to not do it!
9. Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness
This is on my whiteboard: “Meditate 10 mins a daily”. Really helps with clarity. You can find lots of videos and books to get you started. I was fortunate that I had a coach when I was training to help me. Here is a simple way to get started: Only focus on your breathing and NOTHING else. Easier said than done. Try it for 10 mins.
10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction
This has a huge impact on me. I have added it recently to my whiteboard, and have noticed a great impact on my day to day outlook. On my whiteboard: “Be thankful for three new things each day.”
Do read the article, it has some very interesting studies on these claims.