Lately I’ve been on a quest of sorts — a quest to understand happiness. It started with watching documentaries about the human condition like I AM and 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama, and ultimately led me to stumble upon an incredible site called Happier. Happier is an app for your phone — I can hear you now, how does an app make someone happier? Well… it doesn’t really. What it does is lead you to discover the happiness that’s already in your life by encouraging you to practice gratitude on a daily basis. I’ve been doing it and I love it. In the midst of a dialogue about how technology is ruining our lives, it’s very encouraging to discover a person who’s taken that technology and used it to help people. We caught up with Happier founder, Nataly Kogan, to talk about everyday things we can all do to be happier people. Here, she gives us nine simple tips to apply to our own lives (and a very special discount for Camille Styles readers!) Read on to discover more:
1. Find something to be grateful for every single day — even the tough ones.
Happiness really is in the little things. More than 11,000 different studies have shown that developing a more grateful mindset has long-lasting and meaningful impact on your overall well-being. The effects range from feeling more positive and less stressed to catching fewer colds and having a 50% lower chance of heart attack or stroke! The very act of recording moments of gratitude elevates mood even more.
2. Go Outside
Whether it’s the vitamin D, fresh air, or sunlight — the bottom line is that when you spend more time outside, you’re happier. Studies have linked just 20 minutes a day outdoors to everything from elevated mood to improved working memory.
3. Be Generous
Being kind to others remains the best way to increase feelings of well-being. Everything from basic kindness to spending on others boosts your happiness (spending money on others makes us happier than spending it on ourselves). University of Pennsylvania professor and renowned happiness researcher Martin Seligman reports, “…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”
4. Say Thank You
These two words increase both gratitude and kindness, and therefore, happiness. Giving thanks to others increases our interpersonal connections and overall life satisfaction — plus, it’s an easy habit to cultivate.
5. Spend Time With People You Care About
Science shows that spending time with friends and family boosts happiness and helps you live longer. Studies demonstrate that not spending time with friends can have the same negative impact on your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
6. Flex Your Talents
When you focus on your strengths you feel more positive and get more done. Doing things we’re good at makes us feel better about ourselves. This has been replicated in multiple studies, demonstrating that the happiness boost we receive from using our “signature strengths” can have long-lasting effects on mood even a month later.
7. Try Something New
Those who continue learning new things are happier than those who don’t. Scientists have long demonstrated that new experiences help sharpen everything from our motor skills to our memories, but it turns out that people who learn new things on a regular basis are also just plain happier than those who don’t.
photo by chelsea fullerton
8. Set Goals
Both the goal-setting and progress towards them elevates our mood. Various researchers have found that the mere act of goal-setting boosts happiness, while working towards those goals not only increases happiness, but has a suppressive effect on negative emotions like fear as well.
9. Sleep More
Researchers say six hours a day is what you need to feel your best. What’s more, research proves sleep deprivation directly impacts the hippocampus (the area of the brain where positive memories are processed) — as a result, people who are sleep deprived have trouble recalling happy memories, and their moods are more negative.
Nataly Kogan is the founder of Happier, a platform that uses science and research to help users discover their happiest selves. Best of all, it’s easy and fun to use! The app is free to download, and there are special courses available for purchase designed to guide you further on your happiness journey. I’ve already taken the one called “Everyday Grateful” and loved it. We’re excited to share that Nataly has extended a special offer to Camille Styles readers:
Use this link to take the mobile course, “Meditation Vacation” for %50 off.
And thanks, Nataly, we’re feeling happier already!