Want to feel happier? Here are some proven strategies to help us turn life’s lemons into lemonade, according to the latest science:
First: Watch a sad movie. It may sound counter-intuitive, but research shows that people who experience the most sadness while watching a movie, usually report greater happiness after the movie. That’s because sad films tend to put us in a reflective mood, where we compare our own lives to the sad characters onscreen. And experts say that can give you a deeper appreciation for the good things in life that make you happy.
Another way to feel happier: Throw out your self-help books. According to psychologist Dr. Willibald Ruch, too many of us make the mistake of trying to “fix” what we think is wrong with us. But studies show that we’re more likely to feel happy if we identify what’s going right – what we like about ourselves - and what’s good in our lives – instead of focusing on what needs to be fixed. And know this: Today you can take an online “test” to help identify your best qualities. Check it out, at ViaCharacter.org.
And if you’re still not happier after all that? Fake it anyway. Lots of new research shows that our facial expressions affect the emotions we feel. And forcing yourself to smile can actually trigger brain signals that make you feel happier.