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  • Writer's pictureAmba Brown

5 Left-Field Things that Make us Happy

Happiness tricks

Today, most of us have heard of the 5 main ingredients for happiness:

1. Enough sleep

2. Balanced diet

3. Regular exercise

4. Time for hobbies

5. Time for relationships

They're plastered everywhere (not that this means we're doing them all enough).

But here's 5 more things, a little more left-field, that you can do to improve your happiness....

1. Spend 100 hours a year helping others

Martin Seligman (well-known American Positive Psychologist - if you don't know him, look him up) has taught us that helping others improves our own happiness.

In his book Flourish he writes

"…we scientists have found that doing a kindness act for others produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested."

The magic number is believed to be 100 hours a year, or about 20 mins a day!

2. Plan a trip - but don't take it

If you don’t have time for a holiday at the moment – plan one anyway. Map out a trip you'd like to take when you get the chance.

Studies that have been conducted on the relationship between happiness and holidays have found that we’re at our happiest during the planning phase. You know that feeling of anticipation and excitement about all you could do and enjoy?

Plan it out and refer to it whenever you need the happiness boost!

Plan a holiday

3. Practice smiling

Smiling makes us feel good. It's that simple.

The '10 Hidden Benefits of Smiling' by PsyBlog explains:

“Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly”.

4. Spend time with animals

Animal therapy has also been found to make us feel generally more relaxed and improve our overall wellbeing.

“There’s something about the animal kingdom that possesses the ability for us to enjoy life a little better,” says Moore, author of over 20 pet books and Pet Life Radio show host.

So, get a pet or get to the zoo.

Spend time with animals

5. Look at beautiful images

A study conducted by HTC smartphones found that looking at beautiful images can make us feel happier!

They found that “Well-designed objects that are both beautiful and functional trigger positive emotions like calmness and contentment, reducing negative feelings like anger and annoyance by almost a third.”

And that “Purely beautiful objects reduce negative emotions by 29%, increasing a sense of calmness and ease.”

So, get searching for those beautiful pics.

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