got happiness?

Science says you can make yourself happier

An excellent post by Belle Beth Cooper in Buffer lists “10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science.” I often hear people talk about happiness as if it was a static state, something you achieve once and then somehow maintain. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it goes.

For me, happiness is . . . well, when I’m ok with what’s happening. It could be ‘good’ stuff happening. It could be ‘bad’ stuff happening. The common denominator in both instances would be me being present to what is. I’m not going to claim that I can always pull this off, but I will say that my intention is to be present to whatever is happening in the moment, and this brings me to a state that I call “happiness.”

Whatever your ideas are about what happiness is, here are the 10 that Cooper chose that are backed by scientific research:

  1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough
  2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions
  3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house
  4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed
  5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit)
  6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number (only 2 hours per week)
  7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain
  8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one (have something fun to look forward to)
  9. Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness
  10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

How do you define happiness? I’d love to hear from anyone who cares to share their ideas.

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