By Eric Barker
July 11, 2015
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Wouldn’t you love a real list of things that make you happier? Here’s what scientific research says will work:

 

1) Thank Someone

First thing in the morning, send an email thanking or praising someone. (Texting is fine, too.)

 

2) Spend Money — On Someone Else

Harvard professor Michael Norton, author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, explains how spending money on other people can generate more happiness than spending on yourself:

 

3) Give 5 Hugs

People assigned to give or receive hugs 5 times a day ended up happier than the control group.

From Sonja Lyubomirsky’s very interesting book, The How of Happiness:

 

4) Do Stuff You’re Good At

People who deliberately exercised their signature strengths on a daily basis — those qualities they were uniquely best at, the talents that set them apart from others – became significantly happier for months.

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

This has been shown repeatedly in research studies.

 

5) Do 5 Little Nice Things For Others

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

 

6) Create Something To Look Forward To

Make plans to do something fun:

 

7) Spend Time With Friends

Having a better social life is the happiness equivalent of making an extra $131,232 a year:

 

8) Before Bed, Write Down Three Good Things That Happened Today

This technique has been proven again and again and again. Here it is, explained by its originator, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman.

Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being:

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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