How to be Happier – Part 2

Today’s post is a continuation of the blog post on December 24th.  Hopefully at this point you’ve been able to try at least a couple of the first 5 tips to be happier, and are now living a more fulfilling, enjoyable life!

The second set of tips is below (source:

6) Spend some time helping others.  Doing something nice for other people makes other people’s lives better and just makes us feel good.  How much does it take?  Studies have shown that 100 hours of volunteering or other do-gooding over the year is enough to make a significance difference in your happiness.

7) Smile! Real smiling only – the kind where you use your eye sockets.  This is an important point, as studies have shown that people who “fake smile” tend to worsen their mood and withdraw more, whereas people who smile genuinely smile have an improved mood and overall outlook.  And then there’s this thing psychologists call “the facial feedback hypothesis”: smiling can help reduce stress caused by an upsetting situation.

8) Plan a trip (really, just plan it).  I’m not sure how this one works, but apparently just thinking about taking a trip can promote happiness. So next time you’re daydreaming about that 2-week vacation to the Caribbean, go a step further and plan out activities or look more closely at resorts.  Chances are, your mood will get even more of a boost!

9) Meditate.  Meditation can improve attention, focus, and clarity, and can keep us calm.  Immediately after meditating, we experience a sense of calm and clarity.  Additionally, studies have shown that regular meditation can actually rewire our brains and raise our baseline level of happiness.

10) Be grateful.  A nice Thanksgiving tradition is to go around the table and tell everyone about the things you’re thankful for.  I don’t know of anyone who’s ever done this and felt worse afterward.  So practice this same sort of gratitude every day!  Before bed, think of something that happened during the day that made you smile.  If someone did something special for you that made you feel good, let them know!  Remembering positive experiences is bound to improve our outlook.  Even if the experiences are short-lived or small, find the positive in everyday encounters, and reap the benefits of increased happiness!

Karen Southwick