Three Ways to Be Happier, According to Science

It’s completely normal to feel down in the dumps sometimes. But even when things are going well, it can feel like we’re not as happy as we should be. What are we missing? Why don’t we feel as joyful as we know we’re capable of?


Some scientific studies and reviews may have the right idea. Here are three things we can do every day to cultivate more happiness.  


Make more rewarding purchases.


Everyone’s familiar with the lift we get from shopping. The trouble is, you’re going to get used to your new necklace or smartphone. Worse yet, you’ll inevitably see some jewelry or gadget that’s newer and flashier than yours. Suddenly, what you have won’t seem as great.   


In an age where social media is so pervasive, we’re very aware of how damaging constant comparisons can be. These comparisons are easy to make - even on a subconscious level - because our eyes are all we need to take in the data and size things up.


But what you experience is a different story.  


Save your money up for a nice vacation, a trip to a museum, or a concert. Anything that requires more of your senses. The satisfaction is longer lasting, and it’s less likely to lose value just because someone else did something “better”.


Practice gratitude.


Even if you’ve spent a mere ten minutes of your life reading self-help material, you know that “more gratitude” is an answer for everything. There’s a good reason for this.


Thoughts with a positive spin, such as, “I’m really lucky to have a home,” become second nature over time. That’s why people commonly work their way into the habit with tools like gratitude journals.  


What happens when gratitude appears in your thoughts more often? For starters, you’ll be less prone to stress overload. But your perception of those around you changes, too. People who practice being grateful are more likely to feel as though their friends and loved ones are supportive of them.


For many, that’s reason enough to be happy.


Stay present.


The above information certainly indicates that thinking nice thoughts leads to more happiness. However, your nice thoughts should be inspired by real life. Strangely enough, pleasant daydreams do not lead to a better mood.


It seems as though people are generally happier when they’re focusing on what’s happening in the moment. This applies even if the task at hand isn’t as nice as pretending you’re relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas.  


There’s probably nothing wrong with doing an occasional visualization meditation. Still, for the long term, being mindful can be more rewarding than checking out. If you find your mind starting to wander, reach out and give your hand-hammered Crown Chakra singing bowl a gentle strike. It’ll help bring you back down to Earth instantly.


While you’re on your way to more happiness, monitor your moods closely. If your sadness is such that you have trouble performing daily activities, or regularly feel a sense of hopelessness, you should speak to a doctor.

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