How to be happy: 4 tips from positive psychology researchers
1. DIRECT YOUR FOCUS
Each day, make a goal to simply add three smiles to your day. Sounds too easy, but when you smile, your brain changes and you actually feel happier. If you’re at work or dropping your kids off at school – there are always people we see who we may not acknowledge. Instead, try to consciously smile at them and see the reaction you get. This habit is powerful because you are showing your brain that there are people in your community you can connect with and it widens your circle.
Smiling also increases the amount of perceived social support you have as people you know smile back.
2. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Write down or say out loud three NEW things you are grateful for – ideally with a partner each day. They can be simple, like “I’m grateful for this coffee,” or “I’m grateful for the sunshine,” but you cannot repeat any over the course of 21 days. Doing this trains your brain to see more positives in the world. Your brain actually gets better at being more positive.
3. SPREAD POSITIVITY
Each day say a nice compliment to three different people, like “you have the best smile” or “you are so compassionate!” It has to be a real compliment to work. But when you do it, watch how much it recharges your battery, as you realize you have the power to make a positive world. The more meaningful and specific you are with others, often the greater the benefit.
4. CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Use your supercharged battery to fill up someone else’s battery by doing one random act of kindness each day, like picking up someone’s mail for them or getting them a coffee when you know they are feeling drained. This is obviously good for the recipient, but it’s also often a bonus for you.