Psychologists say the top way to feel happier is to focus on the good things in your life, rather than the bad. So here’s how to make that type of positive thinking automatic.
- Start a new dinner ritual. For example, begin each meal by saying grace, and you’ll find yourself in a happier frame of mind. Dr. David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, says those who pray regularly are much happier than those who don’t. That’s because saying a prayer gets you in touch with gratitude and almost instantly lowers your blood pressure, heart, and breathing rates. It also triggers the production of calming brain waves, which help boost your immune system.
- Use enthusiastic words. When someone asks how your day is going, instead of saying “Okay”, say “Great!” According to psychologist Dr. Thomas Spencer, people who use more positive, enthusiastic words feel happier. Why? Enthusiastic words trick your brain into thinking that you feel great – and eventually you start to believe it.
- Say yes to dessert! Adding a little fat to your diet greatly improves your mood and lowers your risk for depression. Research at Johns Hopkins University say the very taste of sugar on the tongue releases endorphins in your brain, producing euphoria. Just limit yourself to a third of a chocolate bar a day.
- Over-tip at your favorite restaurant! Studies from the University of Michigan found that being generous towards others makes you feel optimistic and gives you higher self-esteem. It also makes you feel more connected to others and triggers feel-good chemicals in your brain.