A wise man once said, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones, (Proverbs 17:22 ESV).
If you increase your happiness, science says you can expect more positive benefits, when compared to people with less happiness:
– Superior mental health
– Excellent physical health
– Ability to bounce back from hardship and trauma
– Marital satisfaction
– Great sex
– Happy children
– Caring friends
– More requests for job interviews
– Better performance evaluations
– Higher productivity
– Greater job satisfaction
– Higher income
It’s not hard to be happy. With a little bit of effort, you can be happier today.
Here are four simple things you can do. You only need to do one to improve your mood and add pleasure to your day. You might even add joy to someone else’s day.
Pause and reflect on things that you’re thankful for. Choose at least three things that have happened within the last 24 hours that you’re grateful for. Write them down. Not only will this increase your happiness today, but if you do this three or four times in a week, you can increase your happiness for up to six months.
Do something generous. Buy lunch for a workmate. Buy a small gift for your spouse–something you know that they will appreciate. Volunteer your time and talent for a charity. Donate money to a cause that is important to you. Generous giving immediately boosts happiness.
The simple act of looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself can increase your happiness. But even better than that, smile at the people you meet today. Make it a genuine smile–one that you feel from your heart. And say something like, “it’s good to see you today!” Most people will return the smile and thank you.
Play isn’t just for children. I’m also not talking about playing a competitive sport. Sneak up on a family member and give them a gentle tickle. Flirt with your spouse the way you did when you were dating. Make a game out of tossing waste paper into the recycling bin, and invite somebody to join you–but don’t keep score. Be creative. Play won’t only increase your happiness, but will increase the happiness of those who play with you. It will also bring you closer to each other.
What are you going to do today to be happy?
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A version of this post also appeared on LifeZette.com.