14 Science-Based Practices to Increase Your Happiness

Visual Freedom

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While everyone wants to be happy, only very few people are proactively creating a life full of happiness, joy, and passion.

Most people even believe happiness is something that happens to us.

And instead of doing things that make us happy and bring joy into our lives, we often find ourselves in a doom-loop of negativity and complaints.

Problems and challenges occur in anyone’s life. Yet, life is not about what happens to you but about how you respond to it.

The happiest and most successful people in the world are not luckier than the rest. They just chose to be happy despite all the negativity they face.

Happy people are present and grateful, even during difficult times.

They focus on what matters and actively create a life they love instead of reacting to circumstances.

Happiness is a choice.

One that we need to make every day in order to be long-running.

To be happy, we need to choose it over and over. Every day.

And while happiness is individual and can’t be generalized across different cultures, personality types, and age groups, there are indeed hundreds of science-based practices to help raise your level of happiness.

However, you don’t need to do dozens of things to be happy. Even tiny changes in your everyday life can make a significant impact on your level of joy and fulfillment.

Dig deep

Social interactions make us happy. The more we interact with others, the more fulfillment we find.

It’s scientifically proven that lonely people die at a younger age, and those who volunteer and have deep social connections tend to live longer and be happier.

Surrounding yourself with like-minded, uplifting people is a critical foundation for being happier.

Yet, once you’ve done so, using conversations to dig deep instead of scratching the surface will be even more pleasant.

Research proves that substantive, in-depth talks bring us more joy than a quick small talk.

Thus, whenever it’s possible, get to know people on a deep level. Understand their motivation, desires, and needs. Get personal. Let go of talking about banalities.

Deep conversations and personal bounds will make you happier in the long term.

Share the good news

By talking about positive news, not only your happiness will increase but also those around you will be happier. Win-Win!

Research shows that talking about positive news strengthens relationships and makes the community feel better.

Additionally, if you spread positivity, people will think of you as a positive, happy person.

If you, however, spread negativity or gossip, they will associate you with the negativity you talk about.

You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue
— Joel Osteen

Control your media consumption

Every day, the modern world is bombarding us with news through hundreds of channels.

We consume advertisements and quick news all day long as we are so used to browsing through news feeds and watching the news regularly.

However, an excessive amount of media consumption can drastically reduce our levels of happiness.

Firstly, most news are bad news.

Watching tv or listening to the news on the radio mostly results in a bad mood as the majority of media companies are reporting the negative aspects of the world.

Additionally, scrolling through social media feeds can harm our self-worth as we tend to compare ourselves with fake people and fake expectations presented on the internet.

Limiting our amount of media consumption across several platforms, thus, comes with many benefits:

  • We feel happier and more confident as we don’t compare ourselves to others fake world’s
  • We focus on the positive instead of consuming negative news all the time
  • And we have more time which we can spend doing things we love.

As a result, all these aspects lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

Practice minimalism

Consumption and materialism hardly make us happier but rather drain our energy.

Minimalism, however, will help you to gain more clarity in all areas of your life and to keep a happy mind.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
— Leonardo da Vinci

By limiting materialism and instead choosing a minimalistic lifestyle, you learn to prioritize what truly matters.

Getting rid of all the stuff that you don’t need will give you a sense of freedom and drastically simplify your life.

Minimalism, at its core, can be applied to all areas of your life:

  • By minimizing the number of goals you are after, you can focus on the important and be more productive.
  • By minimizing your (unnecessary) screen time, you will have more time for your hobbies and loved ones.
  • By minimizing your possessions, you will have more space and clarity at home.

Spend money on experiences

Research proves that how we spend our money has a significant impact on our happiness and satisfaction in life.

Instead of saving for expensive, materialistic pleasures, use your money to put a smile on your face by experiencing exceptional moments.

This can be traveling more, enjoying a massage, joining new sports classes, starting new hobbies, and so much more.

“Fill you life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”

It’s also proven that spending our money on several small pleasures makes us happier than spending vast amounts on a single thing or experience.

So, instead of waiting for that perfect day to finally invest in your happiness, start now.

Do yourself a favor by investing your money into experiences and rituals that light up your soul and make your heart dance.

Practice gratitude

As Neale Donald Walsh once stated:

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.”

Being thankful for what we have right now is a fundamental practice for living happily.

Without appreciating the here and now, we can never be happy in a future moment.

Too often, we forget about all our blessings and get drained about everything that is still missing in our lives.

Yet, by shifting our mind and focusing on all the abundance that is already present, we attract even more greatness.

My favorite way of practicing gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal.

It’s not only the easiest but also the most effective practice I’ve tried so far.

By writing down what I am grateful for, I instantly focus on the positive and raise my energy.

Once we focus on our blessings, we realize that there is so much we can be grateful for every day: Having a roof over our head, access to clean water, our health, being connected to the world through the internet,…

Get rid of overthinking

Easier said than done, I know.

But putting effort into getting rid of overthinking and being fully present at any moment has a powerful effect on our happiness.

Once we manage to focus our mind on the present moment, we realize there are hardly significant problems. Most of our worries are either located in the past, or we are concerned about the future.

In most cases, overthinking means negative thinking, which leads to negative emotions, and these, in return, lead to negative experiences, and we soon find ourselves in a doom-loop of negativity.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle

Meditation and journaling are both fantastic ways to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about what happened or what might happen one day.

Distract yourself from anything that doesn’t serve you

Admittedly, this one is not very easy. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you is undoubtedly easier said than done. However, sometimes, it’s the only choice we have.

Our environment and the people with whom we surround ourselves all have a significant impact on our wellbeing and our happiness.

Thus, being surrounded by negative, pessimistic people will sadly always lead to an unhappy life.

Being around joyful, passionate people, however, will bring more joy and happiness into our lives.

Instead of wasting your time with people, activities, and tasks that don’t serve you, try to find ways of raising your energy and bringing more joy into your daily life.

Sometimes, even little activities like a short walk, some self-care, or a phone call with a beloved person can be enough to raise our level of happiness.

Forgive

Forgiving others for mistakes is one of the most challenging things to do. Too often, our ego holds us back from forgiving, and we chose to suffer instead of letting go.

Yet, holding on to negative emotions harms our happiness way more in the long run. And most of the time, not forgiving hurts more than accepting an excuse and letting negativity pass away.

Only through forgiving can we focus on the positive and show compassion to our fellows.

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.
— Maya Angelou

We all make mistakes. And we all need to be forgiven. Life is not only more comfortable but also more fun if we accept our mistakes and apologize quickly. But it’s also more fun if we forgive others rapidly.

Of course, you shouldn’t accept mistreatment and being exploited, hell no! Just make sure not to be too attached to situations that you could easily let go of.

Cultivate optimism

Research shows that optimists are happier than pessimistic people. While joyful people chose to see the bright side, pessimists chose misery.

If you want to increase your happiness in life, you need to chose it.

The glass is always half full. It only depends on your point of view.

Every day, we can complain about hundreds of things. We all face difficulties, meet challenging people, or have bad luck. Yet, our attitude towards these situations is what truly matters.

By acting like a happy person, you will become a happier person.

For example, smile more.

Whenever you find yourself being bored or even annoyed, chose to put a smile on your face. Research shows that smiling makes us happier, no matter if we fake it or not.

Additionally, take care of keeping a good posture as this also affects your wellbeing.

If you sit and stand upright, you will feel more confident and happier than if you make yourself small. Scientific studies even prove that being optimistic is easier when having a good posture. An additional benefit of cultivating a strong body language is that you will feel more energetic and powerful.

“Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high.”
— Dale Carnegie

Make time for things that light up your heart

A big part of our happiness depends on the activities we chose to do.

The more time we spend doing things we love, the happier we are.

Especially experiencing the so-called flow-state highly contributes to a happier life.

“Flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

The more flow we experience throughout our days, the happier we are. And the more we love what we do, the higher the chance of experiencing flow.

If you want to know how to reach the flow state, check out this piece of my friend

Jari Roomer!

Move your body

Doing sports or simply being active during our daily lives not only contributes to a healthier but also to a happier life.

Even a short walk or some stretching exercise might help to increase your daily happiness levels and boost your mood.

Physical activity is known as one of the fastest and most reliable ways of increasing your happiness, thus investing some time into sports is undoubtedly a good decision.

If you are not into exercising yet, try a few things out until you find something you genuinely enjoy. Sticking to a regular exercising habit is much easier when you like what you do, so make sure to find something that lights up your heart and makes you feel good.

Meditation

While moving your body is essential to let go of stress and increase your physical wellbeing, meditation can be your most excellent helper when it comes to calming down and finding joy in the present moment.

Admittedly, I struggled a lot until I finally build a meditation routine. I never found the meditation flow until I finally paid for an app and started with guided meditations. These help me to stay focused even if my mind wanders from time to time.

“Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight.”
– Ajahn Brahm

Currently, a 10-minute meditation is a crucial part of my morning routine and it honestly changed my productivity and happiness throughout my days. I find myself much more balanced, even if difficulties arise, and I believe meditation was a great helper.

Be kind

The more happiness we spread, the happier we become.

Trust in karma and the flow of life and treat others just the way you’d like to be treated.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”
— Harold S. Kushner

For example, make more time for your friends and family, ask them how they are, cultivate deep, genuine relationships, and offer your help whenever you can.

Another way of spreading kindness and happiness is by volunteering for different organizations and helping people in need.

Bottom Line

Being happy doesn’t happen. You need to choose happiness. However, finding happiness doesn’t need to be hard.

Little daily changes can sum up and give us more joy and pleasure than we could’ve thought.

Next time you find yourself being frustrated or angry, remind yourself of all the tools and techniques you can use to raise your vibration and increase your happiness.

Instead of choosing anger, chose happiness.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like.” — Mandy Hale

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California-based frequent traveler that loves to explore cities & counties and write about lifestyle, business & food.

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