Being in a good mood or feeling happy doesn’t have to be solely a long-term goal — small things you do for yourself every day can make a huge difference in the way you feel.
Some people worry that wanting to be happier is a selfish goal, but in fact, research shows that happier people are more sociable, likable, healthy, productive and more inclined to help other people. By working to boost your own happiness, you’re making other people happier too.
We’ve come up with nine things you can do to boost your morale and feel good about yourself. Not only will these tasks themselves increase your happiness, but the mere fact that you’ve achieved some concrete goals will boost your mood.
1.Raise your activity level
Pump up your energy and give yourself an endorphin rush. If you’re on the phone, stand up and pace. Take the stairs instead of the lift, put more energy into your voice or even take a brisk 10-minute walk around the office — every little thing helps.
2. Let’s go outside
Research has suggested that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve moods. For an extra boost, get your dose of sunlight first thing in the morning. If you leave for work before sunrise, take a quick break at about 10am and soak in some sunshine — at this hour, sunlight has the maximum amount of vitamin D absorbable by the human body.
3. Reach out
Send an email or call to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or reach out to someone new. Developing close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness. When you act in a friendly way, not only will others feel friendlier towards you, but you’ll also strengthen your feelings of friendliness for other people.
4. Rid yourself of a nagging task
Deal with that insurance problem, purchase something you need, or make that long-postponed appointment with the dentist. Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a rush of elation.
5. Create a more serene environment
Outer order contributes to inner peace, so spend some time organising your desk and tackling those piles of paperwork. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizable dent. Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and see what you can do.
6. Do a good deed
Introduce two people by email, take a minute to pass along useful information, or deliver some gratifying praise. Simple things that make a huge difference all around.
7. Save someone’s life
Donate some blood or sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family about your decision. It will make you feel good that you are making a difference to someone else’s life.
8. Act happy
Fake it ‘til you feel it. Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. And if you’re smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.
9. Learn something new
Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about and spend 15 minutes on the Internet reading about it, or go to a bookstore and buy a book about it. But be honest and pick a topic that really interests you, not something you think you should or need to learn about.
This article appeared on the Live it! page, The Edge Financial Daily, June 3, 2011.