News and entertainment outlets have bombarded us with reports about the benefits of happiness, which include better mental and physical health, longer life, and more fulfilling relationships. So how can you bring a little more joy into your everyday experience? Try some of these strategies, custom designed for busy people in a fast-paced world.
1. Send a snail-mail card.
We’ve all heard the saying that it’s better to give than to receive. That’s because doing something kind for another person (even if it’s only something very small) brings that person happiness—and we’re hardwired to enjoy that feeling. Depending on your recipient, you might send a care package, a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, a hand-written letter, a card, or a meaningful photograph. A five-minute project on your end could bring a day’s worth of happiness (or more!) to the person checking his or her mailbox.
2. Dance to your favorite song.
Even people with insanely busy schedules should have time for a three- to five-minute dance break. The benefits are worth the time: music triggers strong emotional responses, and the endorphins you’ll get from even a short bout of energetic dancing will help recharge a failing battery. For an even bigger bliss boost, enlist a friend to help you bust your move.
3. Let yourself enjoy your food.
Hectic schedules often dictate that we bolt meals while sitting in front of a screen or driving from one event to the next. Even if you have to multi-task during lunch, take a few seconds to experience and enjoy the flavors in your mouth. Studies show that actively practicing gratitude is a great way to boost happiness. As a bonus, slowing down while you eat is an effective way to prevent overeating and associated weight gain.
4. Breathe deeply in a stressful situation.
There’s nothing like a traffic jam or a backup at the grocery store checkout to raise your stress level and zap your happiness. But experts say that we can actually choose how such roadblocks affect us. Next time you’re in a less-than-ideal situation, use the down time to focus on breathing deeply, pulling air into your stomach and exhaling slowly. This strategy helps us relax physically and reminds us that we control our worlds—a big component toward achieving happiness.
We’ve all found tricks for bringing more smiles into our chaotic lives—what are your favorite tips for hanging on to the grin-worthy moments in your life? Feel free to share below!