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Small Things That Can Bring You Joy
Small Things That Can Bring You Joy
1. Small Things That Can Bring You Joy
We all want to be happy. It s a desire as universal as our want for water, food, and fresh air. But happiness is a difficult thing to measure. It s a spectrum not an absolute. There s a whole science behind our happiness levels, why they fluctuate, and what we can do to boost them. Ironically, too much time and thought spent in the pursuit of happiness has been found to actually decrease a person s overall happiness. So it s fortuitous that scientists have identified a countless number of small, conscious steps a person can take to elevate their mood with minimal effort.
2. Talk to a Stranger
Smile, or better yet, strike up a conversation with a stranger in line at Starbucks or during your morning commute. Behavioral scientists sayinitiating positive interactions with people whose gazes we might otherwise avoid evokes higher happiness levels in both parties. It s a guaranteed winwin.
3. Send Snail Mail to a Friend
What s better than opening the mailbox to find an unexpected handwritten note from a friend, just because? This small act of love and friendship pays off twofold, for you, too, get to experience a burst of joy knowing you ve brightened the day of your letter s recipient. A simple envelopesealed note will suffice, but feel free to let your imagination run wild with small gifts, puzzle cards, and other personal ideas.
4. Watch the Sun Rise
It happens 365 days a year. But how often do you make a point of seeing it? Watching the sun rise is actually an ancient method of healing. And there are numerous other benefits, like enjoying a beautiful show of color and light, and having quiet moments of stillness and reflection.
5. Go to the Theater
Behind exercise, people are happiest at the theater. That s the takeaway of a British study on activities that bring people the most glee. Time to scout out tickets for Shakespeare in the park or your favorite Broadway musical.
In helping others, you also help yourself. That s because altruism is proven to boost happiness. So spend some time volunteering for a community, charity, or religious organization. The more often you give back, the more selfsatisfaction you ll receive. Volunteering will also help you live longer, according to some studies.
A shot of endorphins to the brain will make you feel ohsogood. And one of the best ways of getting this boost is with exercise. So pick your poison running, soccer, ice skating, a long walk in the woods. Get moving and get instant satisfaction.
8. Power Down Your Gadgets
Sure, technology has its benefits, but it s also making us sick. Literally.Stress, depression, and vision impairment are just a few of the negative consequences of spending too much time on our phones, tablets, and computers. Luckily, there s a simple fix: power down. Unplug. After work, on weekends whenever you can. By disconnecting from email, text messaging, and social media, you can actually increase your connectivity to the people around you. And you ll feel a heck of a lot better while you re at it.
9. Go Shopping
Retail therapy isn t just a buzz phrase invented to help women feel better about overspending on shoes. There s real science behind it. A study published in 2011 found that treating yourself to a shopping trip is an effective way to elevate your mood. It doesn t have to be a bigtime shopping spree, either. Allowing yourself to indulge in even the smallest of purchases can have just as strong of a mood enhancing effect.
10. Try Something New
People who participate in bold, new activities and collect unique experiences are more likely to retain more positive memories than negative ones. The more positive memories we keep, the lighter we become. So go ahead and sign up for those guitar lessons. Book that trip to Antigua. Do it in the name of happiness.
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