Want to be happier? About 60% of our outlook on life is down to genetics and our life experiences. But the other 40% is within our power to change. So here are a few happiness strategies from researcher Gretchen Rubin:
First: Hang out with happy people because an upbeat mood is contagious. To put it simply, when you hang out with happy people, you tend to feel happier, have more energy, and feel less stressed. Even just standing close to a happy person can make you happier yourself. Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that humans can pick up whether a person is feeling happy and positive solely through how they SMELL. It’s a phenomenon known as chemo-signaling. And just like we can “smell fear” – we can smell happiness, even though we’re not consciously aware of it. And chemo-signals help us sync-up emotionally.
Another happiness-booster: Daylight. Even on the cloudiest day, you’re still exposed to mood-boosting UV rays. And to double the effect of sunlight, head outside. Researchers at the University of Michigan found walking through nature increases positive feelings, and reduces stress and depression.
The final happiness booster: Meditation! Researchers found people who meditated for just 8 weeks saw growth in brain areas linked to self-awareness, compassion, and introspection – which are all linked to happiness. So, go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and be present in the moment. And whenever your mind starts to wander, focus on your breath again. Researchers recommend gradually working up to 20 minutes a day. But even 5 minutes of meditation is a proven mood-booster.