1) Thank someone
First thing in the morning, send an email thanking or praising someone. Research shows this can brighten your day.
2) Spend money — on someone else
Harvard professor Michael Norton, author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, talks about this in this video:
[embedplusvideo height=”400″ width=”620″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1kkpiC6″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/3xEeh5S6Qmk?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=3xEeh5S6Qmk&width=620&height=400&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep7640″ /]
3) Give 5 hugs
In a one-of-a-kind study, students at Pennsylvania State University were assigned to two groups. The first group was instructed to give or recevie a minimum of five hugs per day over the course of four weeks and to record the details. The hugs had to be front-to-front (nonsexual) hugs, using both arms of both participants; these students couldn’t simply huge their boyfriends or girlfriends half a dozen times; they had to aim to hug as many different individuals as possible. The second, the controls, was instructed simply to record the number of hours they read each day over the same four weeks.
People assigned to give or receive hugs 5 times a day ended up happier than the control group. From Sonja Lyubomirsky’s 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.
5) Do 5 little nice things for others
Pick one day a week and make a point of committing five acts of kindness. But if you want to reap the psychological benefit, make sure you do these things deliberately and consciously—you can’t just look back over the last 24 hours and declare your acts post hoc.
6) Create something to look forward to
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar—even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
7) Spend time with friends
Having a better social life is the happiness equivalent of making an extra $131,232 a year:
There is substantial evidence in the psychology and sociology literature that social relationships promote happiness for the individual. Yet the size of their impacts remains largely unknown. This paper explores the use of shadow pricing method to estimate the monetary values of the satisfaction with life gained by an increase in the frequency of interaction with friends, relatives, and neighbours.
8) Before bed, write down three good things that happened today
Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“ My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“ My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).