Over the last few years, there have been some fascinating studies done to determine what makes people happy. If you’re wondering how you could increase your happiness, here are some strategies suggested by the research:
1. Give to others more often. Research indicates that people who give even a small amount of money, even just $5, are happier than those who spend money only on themselves.
• Even more fascinating is that when researchers evaluated how people who buy for themselves feel, it was discovered that purchasing new items had no real effect on one’s happiness.
• Maybe the reason you want to go shopping all the time is that, no matter what you buy or how much, it’s not really doing anything for you. Buying things doesn’t actually make you happy.
2. Have children after you’re married. Another unexpected fact discovered in the research is that having children did actually pump up happiness, at least if you’re married. In terms of gender, a married father’s happiness increased less than a married mother’s.
3. When you’re younger, go for excitement and adventure. Young people often reported their definition of happiness as “excitement.”
4. As you age, strive for peacefulness. As individuals age, they indicate that happiness means having a “peaceful” life.
5. Get some exercise. A Harvard study looked at people in their 50s and found that those who exercised regularly were happier when re-evaluated again at age 80 than those who didn’t exercise.
6. Maintain a healthy weight. In the same Harvard study, weight was also a factor that could either make or break your level of happiness. Those who are overweight or underweight experience less happiness than those who keep their weight in the average range.
7. Spend time often with your best friend. Go out and do things with your friends frequently or just hang out together. Having strong social supports will increase your happiness. Go ahead and call them right now for an immediate boost to your mood.
8. Meditate. According to the National Institute of Health, those who meditate regularly improve levels of happiness indirectly by increasing character traits that contribute to happiness, such as conscientiousness and empathy.
9. Experience more and buy less. Another fascinating take away from the research is that you’ll be happier from having more experiences in life than you will from having more material goods.
• Research indicates that people feel happier about their memories of events than they do about a recent purchase. After all, how often can you say to yourself ten years after buying something, “Wow, that new sweater really changed my life!” A canoe trip with your friends, on the other hand, is bound to create some great memories!
10. Engage in activities that make you happy. Regardless of what others tell you about how to spend your time, if you take part in activities of your own choosing, you’ll be happier. Think about your friend who says, “Cleaning my house makes me happy. I really enjoy doing it.” You might have said, “Ugh, are you kidding?” The key is to do what you enjoy.
• If you’re curious about acting in a play, take a local acting class. If you’ve always wanted to grab a pair of binoculars and go to the closest national park to go bird-watching, do it.
• When you do all the things that spur your interests and satisfy your curiosities, or things that simply make your heart sing, you’ll feel happier.
This newest research regarding what makes people happy might help you in your own quest. Take advantage of the information presented here and increase your happiness. Go ahead, make someone happy: you!