13 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be A Happier Person
You have the power to make yourself happier.
That’s what we learned from 13 scientific studies that discovered small changes we can all make to improve our outlook on life.
From writing down the good parts of your day to simply smiling, here are a few proactive steps you can take towards becoming a happier you.
Spend money on other people.
Federico Rostagno / Shutterstock.com
Spending money on other people instead of yourself makes you feel happier, a study published in “Psychological Bulletin” found.
The study concluded that “the happiest people were the biggest givers, no matter what they earned.” They always felt better donating to charities and giving to others than splurging on themselves.
Count your blessings.
University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman (as well as multiple other independent studies) proved that people who wrote down three good things that happened to them every night were significantly happier than the control group.
They don’t even have to be important: Your crush smiling at you or your spouse remembering to buy your favorite dessert count, too.
Try something new.
Expose yourself to more blue.
Researchers from the University of Sussex showed that exposing yourself to the color blue sent “self confidence soaring, cut stress, and boosts happiness.”
The study found that when people saw blue, their brain waves showed increased happiness.
According to The Daily Mail, our love for blue comes from our ancestors “linking the color of the afternoon and evening sky to the feeling of a day well spent, and the prospect of a good night’s sleep.”
Set goals for yourself.
The psychologist Jonathan Freedman claims that people who set objectives for themselves — whether it’s short-term or long-term — are happier than those who don’t.
And the University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson found that working towards a goal won’t just activate positive feelings, but also suppress negative emotions.
Stop defending your point of view.
Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment, has said that maintaining neutrality is the best way to keep yourself happy.
“You can save 99 percent of your psychological energy — and feel happier — if you can stop defending your point of view,” says Chopra.
Go to church.
In a recent study, people who attended church regularly responded that they were happier and more satisfied with their lives than people who were not religious.
Bruce Headey, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, researched happiness among a group of people for 25 years, and found that people who went to church stayed thin, avoided worrying about their careers, and had emotionally stable partners.
Sleep at least six hours every night.
Six hours and 15 minutes a night of un-interrupted sleep makes for the happiest people, a study commissioned by the British company Yeo Valley found.
The study asked adults ages 18 to 65 to rate their level of happiness on a scale of one to five. Those who slept around six hours and 15 minutes a night ranked the happiest.
Slash your commute to 20 minutes.
From the same British study that found adults need to sleep at least six hours to be happy, the happiest respondents were also found to commute just 20 minutes to work.
The length of your commute even affects your health and fitness.
Make sure you have at least 10 good friends.
Adults who said they had 10 good friends were happier than those who could count five or less close friends, research from Nottingham University found.
And it seemed the “more the merrier” really did apply. The more friends one had, the happier he or she seemed.
The study concluded that we should nourish our friendships to help enrich our own personal happiness.
Fake it ’til you make it.
Find yourself a romantic relationship.
Our relationships with our significant others have a large effect on our happiness.
People in relationships were generally found to be happier than other people, and spouses have the highest sense of well-being whether they are happily married or not, according to a study from Cornell University.
The stronger the commitment, the happier the people in the relationship were.
Megan is a reporter for Business Insider’s lifestyle section, The Life. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, and a Minnesotan who enjoys New York City’s mild winters.
Megan currently lives on the Upper West Side.
Meredith writes for Business Insider’s lifestyle section, The Life. She is a former Star-Ledger reporter and a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.