According to Project Happiness, a non-profit dedicated to empowering people with resources to create greater happiness, as much as 40% of our happiness is driven by our habits and the choices we make in our daily lives. Other factors include genetics (50%), and our environment (10%).
But since a good part of our happiness depends on us, it would stand to reason that if we make different choices, the results are improved happiness!
Check out these 10 scientifically proven habits that can help you have a more positive outlook!
1. Be choosy when it comes to spending.
San Francisco State University researchers found in a 2014 study that splurging on life experiences instead of purchasing material items created more happiness for people. Making memories with those we love is much more valuable than acquiring ‘stuff’ that we don’t need and that ends up in a closet somewhere anyway.
2. Turn up the tunes.
Several studies have found that listening to happy music can boost your mood. As long as the music isn’t loud enough to damage your eardrums, add your favorites to your playlist and get your groove on!
3. Opt for coffee instead of soda.
According to a 2014 study in Plos One, four or more cans of sweetened soda a day was found to raise a person’s risk of depression by 30%, while drinking four cups of coffee lowered the risk by 10%! Plus, studies have found several other health benefits of coffee.
Read more: Coffee may help you live longer
4. Seriously: Stop to smell the roses.
Research by Harvard University found that people who kept fresh cut flowers in their home for one week felt more energized and less anxious. This backs up a 2001 Rutgers University study, which found that 81% of adults aged 55 and older experienced reduced levels of depression after receiving flowers.
5. Smile and laugh.
A 2011 study found that thinking about something that makes you smile actually makes you feel happier, while laughter can boost mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
6. Work out regularly.
By now, we should all be aware that exercise improves our health significantly. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day, five times a week. But did you know that starting a fitness routine between the ages of 20 and 40 three times a week can cut the risk of depression by 16%? This is according to a British research study published in 2014.
Read more: Best and worst fitness trackers.
7. Perform an act of kindness or volunteer.
According to the University of California, doing something kind for someone else can boost our mood. In addition, volunteering was found to boost happiness and lessen depression, in a study by University of Exeter.
8. Pray and Meditate.
Meditation may be helpful in lowering stress levels and reducing symptoms of mild depression, and prayer is also linked to lowering stress. A review of more than 300 studies found spirituality and religious involvement is linked with greater well-being and happiness.
9. Keep a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is a great way to keep in remembrance all the things you have. Even if we don’t feel like we have a lot to be thankful for, we can always find something. Several studies have found a connection to gratitude and well being, even at a young age.
10. Go on vacation.
A 2010 Dutch study found that even the anticipation of an upcoming trip can boost overall happiness for up to eight weeks before your actual trip.
Read more: Another reason to take a vacation: Your health!
There are simple ways we can be happier and take charge of how much happiness we have in our lives. Being intentional by applying some of these simple steps can significantly improve the quality of our lives!