11. Give back.
Be generous with your time and your money. Give to others in need. Give to those you love and care for. Those who give back have a sense of selflessness and humanitarianism. Those who are generous in spending money on others tend to have good health, perhaps because giving has a feel-good effect that lowers blood pressure and stress.
12. Surprise yourself.
It’s hard to feel happy if you are bored or feeling blah about life. Part of feeling happy is feeling stimulated, interested and a little surprised by life. So surprise yourself by setting goals outside your comfort zone. Put yourself in new or unexpected situations. Set goals for yourself and then work to achieve them. And remember to enjoy the ride!
13. Listen to and engage with music.
Listening to music lifts our spirits. It makes us feel better, in part because listening to music causes our brains to release dopamine, a neurochemical connected to pleasure and reward. Those who engage with music through dance or through attending concerts report high levels of happiness and a sense of well-being.
14. You do you.
One of the best things you can do to boost your happiness is to just be yourself. That means not being dependent on the approval of others, but accepting yourself for who you are. Spend some time getting to know yourself. What defines you? What do you believe in? Who are you, underneath it all? Search for ways to be comfortable in your own skin.
15. Build meaningful relationships.
Happiness, love, friendship and community go hand in hand. As humans, we have a fundamental need to interact and connect with others. We naturally seek our tribe — the people who will support us, understand us and be there for us through life’s roller-coaster ride. Without meaningful relationships, we are lonely and isolated. We’re happier when we pursue happiness with others.
16. Nothing compares to you.
Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. Most importantly, stop comparing your things to all the things everyone else has. Social media has a way of making us feel like everyone else has it better than us. How often does scrolling through your newsfeed make you feel negative emotions? Allowing envy and resentment to take root robs us of appreciating what we have.
17. Stop worrying.
Constantly worrying about everything creates toxic anxiety, where your mind is steeped in negative, spiraling thoughts. Worries plague your mind and make you afraid and apprehensive about things you often have no control over. Sometimes we believe that if we worry enough, we can keep bad things from happening. But the truth is, you cannot experience joy or even contentment when you’re consumed by worry.
18. Hang out with happy people.
Ever hang out with a gloomy person and leave feeling bummed? That’s because moods can be contagious. It turns out that feelings can be transferred from one person to another, and the more we share experiences with one another, the more our emotions and behaviors become synchronized. One secret to long-term happiness is surrounding yourself with others who are also happy.
19. Spend time in nature.
Some researchers believe that today’s ultra-wired generation is actually suffering from a nature-deficit disorder. Studies have shown that the more time we spend in nature, and the more we relate to the natural world around us, the greater our sense of happiness. Our connection to nature also plays a role in maintaining positive mental health.
20. Reminisce over happy memories.
Why do we love all things retro? Perhaps because nostalgia makes us happy. Nostalgic feelings, or reminiscing about our past, can help us reconnect with feelings of love and a sense of wonder and fulfillment. Our past shapes us and defines our identity. When we remember good times and happy memories, we can increase our self-confidence and feel closer to those around us.