3 smart secrets to happiness!

Published on August 9th, 2012
3 smart secrets to happiness!

Scientifically proven ways to make yourself happier…

1. Say thank you
Believe it or not, research has shown that saying thanks to the people who’ve helped you in life can make you feel happier for weeks or even months!

An American psychologist named Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues at the University of California, Riverside, examined 51 studies to find things you can do to increase your own happiness, and it turns out writing thank-you letters is one of them.

In fact, you don’t even have to deliver the letter to get the emotional boost – according to the research, letter-writers reported feeling better even when they never delivered their thank-you notes to the recipients! But we think that if you’re going to go to all the trouble of writing a thank-you letter, then you may as well deliver it to the person and make them feel happier too!

2. Don’t buy things – do things
Saving up for a new pair of takkies? Well, maybe you should consider saving up for a holiday instead. Why? Because according to American psychologists Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich, experiences will make you much happier than any object you buy ever could.

How did they figure this out? First, they gathered a group of volunteers and split them into two groups. Then they asked the first group to think about an object while the other group had to think about a holiday. And then finally, both groups had to rate their current mood on a scale of -4 (very sad) to +4 (very happy).

The result? The participants who thought about experiences they had had were much happier than those who thought about objects they’d bought. No one knows exactly why, but the researchers suggested that maybe it’s because objects only stay cool for a short while, while experiences can give you good memories that will make you feel good forever.

Oh, and while you’re planning those experiences, be sure to schedule some time for volunteer or charity work. Why? Because research shows that giving back to others can also boost your own happiness… not to mention the happiness of the people or animals you decide to help!

3. Sit up straight (if you’re a guy)
This may sound totally silly, but according to research by psychology professor Tomi-Ann Roberts at Colorado College, USA, sitting upright can make guys much happier and even improve their test results!

Tomi-Ann gave a group of people a Maths test to do, but asked some of the participants to sit up straight in their chairs while the others were asked to slouch. At the end of the test, all the participants were asked to rate their mood, and the results were suprising: the guys who sat up straight were significantly happier than the ones who slouched. Go figure…

For some reason, sitting up straight didn’t seem to have the same effect on girls, but we still think sitting upright in class will help you feel more alert and prevent nasty neck and backaches later on.

The above three smart ideas were brought to you by 3M, a company that uses curiosity and creativity to solve problems around the world every day. Click here to read more about this awesome, innovative company.


Credit: image from Flickr/Swamibu