a woman who found happiness in 2015

10 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness in 2015

Happiness is a thing that all of us want but very few of us know how to get. Luckily, improving your mood doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark—there are lots of science-backed ways to achieve happiness. Why not start 2015 out right and use these proven methods for cultivating a good mood?

  1. Spend some time outside.
    Anyone who’s a fan of the great outdoors can tell you that being in nature is a great way to boost your happiness, and now there is scientific research to back up this anecdotal evidence. According to one study, simply looking at images of outdoor scenes can boost your happiness! Additionally, when you spend time outside the sun is able to provide you with healthy doses of vitamin D—a nutrient that has been linked to the prevention of depression.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep.
    It’s commonly known that sleep is important for mental clarity and productivity, but according to some researchers, it may also have a big impact on our happiness. A study from sleep scientists at the University of California, Berkley found that getting a good night’s sleep helps insulate people against negative emotions. If you find it difficult to get a good seven to eight hours of sleep each night, consider taking a mid-afternoon nap—the study found that this can be just as beneficial.
  3. Spend time with your loved ones.
    You probably don’t need science to realize that spending time with friends and family is good for your emotional health, but if you’re not convinced there is some evidence to back this claim up. According to research done by “happiness expert” Daniel Gilbert, maintaining a healthy social life does more for your happiness than most anything else—including a hefty bump in your income. It’s also worth noting that not spending more time with loved ones is one of the top five regrets for people who are near death.
  4. Give back.
    It turns out that helping others achieve happiness is a great way to help yourself as well. According to "The Happiness Advantage," a book by psychologist Shawn Achor, people who spend money on activities involving others, like a group dinner, are more happy with their purchases than those who buy material things for themselves. Additionally, a study out of Germany found that those who volunteer regularly have higher satisfaction with their lives than those who don’t.
  5. Exercise more.
    While the prospect of hitting the gym may not sound like a good time to you, exercising is actually a very effective way to become happier. When you work out, your body releases chemicals known as endorphins that help reduce feelings of pain and encourage euphoric ones—some researchers have even compared the effects of endorphins to those of morphine. Unlike morphine though, there’s no risk of addiction with endorphins, so get out there and start moving!
  6. Plan a vacation.
    Obviously a week on a beautiful beach can do wonders for your happiness, but the planning stages of vacations are the time when people often feel the best. According to a study from the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, the anticipation of a vacation has the potential to boost your mood for up to eight weeks! On the other hand, once you return from your trip, your happiness levels return to normal much quicker.
  7. Stay hydrated.
    Your body uses water for a variety of things, from regulating your internal temperature to aiding in the digestive process. However, drinking enough water may have a big impact on your happiness as well. According to a study about the effects of dehydration by the Agricultural Research Service, participants who were subjected to mild dehydration were more likely to experience negative emotions than those who were not.
  8. Trash your unhappiness.
    In one of the most fascinating happiness studies to date, psychologists from Madrid found that people who wrote down and then threw away their negative thoughts were less likely to be mentally affected by those thoughts. Additionally, there is also some evidence indicating that writing down positive emotions and memories is likely to reinforce them in your mind.
  9. Stop and smell the roses.
    Flowers aren’t just for decorative purposes—they can have a big impact on your mood as well. A study from Harvard University found that seeing a bouquet of flowers immediately after waking up led to people feeling less anxious, experiencing more happiness, and having more energy. Additionally, there are some studies that flowers in the workplace have the potential to boost both mood and productivity.
  10. Don’t be afraid to complain.
    You wouldn’t normally think of complaining as being a good way to boost happiness, but when done the right way it can actually be beneficial. If you’re going to complain, be sure to focus on tangible, realistic ways you might be able to fix this problem. Doing this can lead to a boost in mood and feelings of empowerment. 
Last Updated: April 01, 2015