By Jonathan Robinson
~ Author of Find Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance and Joy Into Your Life
Articles with titles like this usually offer up simple platitudes for being happy, such as “accept everyone,” or “live a balanced life.” While those ideas are true, they are also basically worthless. Such platitudes are so general that they don’t really give you anything that impacts your daily life. This article is different. I’m going to tell you what scientific research shows are the top 10 things you can quickly do to boost your level of happiness. By doing any of the 10 items that follow, you will almost surely feel dramatically better in under three minutes. In addition, by combining items from the list below, you can increase their effectiveness even more…
10. Look at pictures of people and animals you love on your smartphone or computer. As you look at each picture, remember an enjoyable time you had with them, and send them a silent wish that they live a happy and productive life.
9. Exercise-even if only for 3 minutes. Take a quick brisk walk, do some jumping jacks, whatever gets your heart going and your lungs breathing more deeply. In even a minute you’ll start to feel better. Hallelujah for such a simple thing.
8. Give someone money. Research shows that when we give to a needy person money, we immediately feel better about ourselves. It helps another person too, so it’s a win-win.
7. Get cooler. By going from a hot or warm environment to a cooler one, our mood and sense of happiness tends to go up. Hooray for air conditioning!
6. Work towards an important goal. Whether it be cleaning your desk or selling more widgets, when you feel like you’re making progress towards a specific and important goal, you invariably feel better. Just by reading all the way through this article, you’ll have achieved something-so you’ll feel good.
5. Tune into the power of gratitude. Just saying a sincere “Thank you” to people who serve you at a restaurant or bag your groceries can be a quick happiness booster. Another thing you can do to feel grateful is to write down three things you currently feel grateful for in your life. They could be big things-such as your children, or small things such as the great burger you had for lunch. By writing them down, you’ll immediately see that there is a lot of good in your life.
4. Do a 90-second “heart meditation” that consists of taking a deep breath and imagining exhaling out the center of your chest. Then, close your eyes and imagine someone you love-such as a pet, child, or friend. Remember special times with this being, and bask in the gratitude that they’re in your life. If you want, imagine hugging or holding them in a way that helps you to feel connected to them. This simple method can take you from stressed out to blissed out in about 90 seconds. Research shows that doing this for one minute can reduce your stress hormones for up to five hours.
3. Spend time with a beloved pet, toddler, and/or nature environment. Pets, young kids, and trees live in the moment they are in. You and I, on the other hand, spend most our time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. If you spend time playing with a pet, toddler, or enjoying nature, some of their ability to be present in the moment will rub off on you…
2. Play a song that you really enjoy and sing along. Here’s something to try: sing along with I Wanna Hold Your Hand by the Beatles and try to feel depressed. You can’t do it. By singing along with your favorite songs, you can lift yourself out of almost any bad mood.
1. … And, the winner for the single most effective way to quickly boost your happiness is: do an act of kindness for a stranger or friend. Yep, it’s true. When you do a small act of kindness, you feel better, your friend feels better, and the world has a bit more kindness in it. Even something small like saying what you appreciate about someone will immediately boost your level of well-being-as well as theirs.
…So now that you know the top 10 ways to quickly boost your happiness level, do something about it! The world could use a lot more happy people. After all, happy people are less selfish than “normal” people, they’re more productive, they make more money, and they are healthier than the rest of us. One simple way to boost your happiness this moment is for you to forward this article to friends and family. By doing that, you’ll be doing an act of kindness (the #1 booster!!), and helping those you care about feel even happier. What could be better than that? Do it now!
– Jonathan Robinson is the author of Find Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance and Joy Into Your Life (Redwheel/Weiser/ Conari, March 2014) a fun book offering easy ways to create more fulfillment and real lasting happiness. Robinson has taught more than 100 million people simple ways to be happier–through TV shows such as Oprah and CNN, and with his nine best-selling books. In his latest book, he focuses on ideas and methods that can be done in under three minutes-yet still have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. For information, FindingHappiness.com