Psychologists who study happiness believe we can pursue happiness. We can do this by thwarting negative emotions.
Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier from Belle Beth Cooper, Content Crafter at Buffer.
Read more: 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy
1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be EnoughExercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don't lose any weight.
Even if your actual appearance doesn't change, how you feel about your body does change.
2. Sleep More: You'll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions
We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness.
In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects positivity: Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task throughout the course of a day, researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive to negative emotions like fear and anger.
Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day.
3. Spend More Time With Friends/Family: Money Can't Buy You Happiness
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying.
If you want more evidence that time with friends is beneficial for you, research proves it can make you happier right now, too.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel.
Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it: We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.