11 Happiness Boosters

11 Happiness Boosters You Need to Try Now because happiness begins on the inside.

how to be more grateful

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” -Dalai Lama

And while there’s no magic key to happiness, the following tips can boost your happiness levels while you’re doing the deeper internal work toward creating a relationship with yourself and your life that’s one of joy.

  1. Listen to music that gives you chills. It’s proven that music-induced goosebumps is related to an increase in dopamine (one of the feel-good, happiness hormones). Also, music that is from the happiest time in your life, even if you don’t experience chills, increases happiness levels.
  2. Think of a person you love. Just the simple act of bringing to mind (and heart) someone you love shifts the chemicals in your brain and increases happiness. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between if they are standing right next to you or if they live far away, but it does know that this person makes you feel good and your body rewards with a flow of feel-good hormones.
  3. Walk in nature.  For all you worriers out there, taking a walk in nature decreases the firing of neurons in parts of brain associated with “brooding”. This allows for more receptivity to an upward shift in mood.  Bonus: walking in nature also has been proven to increase creativity!
  4. Surround yourself with happy(ish) people. We are a reflection of the people with whom we spend the most time. List the people you spend the most time with and put a plus next to their name if you find them to be mostly happy and optimistic. This doesn’t mean the conversation always has to be positive or happy (hence the “ish” in the heading). Real and authentic is essential. Next, put a minus next to their name if when you’re with them, you spend your time together complaining and griping more than smiling, dreaming and creating. Once you’re done your list, look at how many pluses vs. minuses you have. Make a conscious choice about who you choose to spend your time with going forward.
  5. Watch something funny. Both fake and real laughter make you happier. That’s it. Your body tells your brain that good, fun, happy things are happening and your brain rewards with more feel-good chemicals.
  6. Initiate a 30-second dance party. Upbeat music and moving your body for just 30-seconds can completely shift your mood from blah to ah! It may feel silly and make you laugh (even better!), but try crankin’ a good tune and move like no one is watching. Uptown Funk anyone?
  7. Wear sunglasses. Here’s a fascinating fact for you. Because squinting looks and feels a lot like worrying, when you squint your body sends a signal to your brain that tells it you’re worrying.  Your brain responds by releasing cortisol (stress hormone). So, open your eyes wide and be sure to don your shades on sunny days.
  8. 60-second affirmation meditation. Pause and set a timer for 60 seconds. Close your eyes and sit tall. On your inhale silently say to yourself “I am safe and life is good.” On your exhale silently say to yourself “I am healthy and all will be well.” When the timer goes off, notice what you feel. Happiness is rooted in silent mindful moments where you get to remind yourself of the present truth.
  9. Set goals. Thinking about your long-term dreams and goals has been shown to give your brain a sense of increased control, which rewards you with more hormones that make you feel not only “good” but motivated to achieve your goals.
  10. Reflect on the best part of your day. Looking back and re-experiencing a good interaction, feeling, event allows you to re-live it again in your body, mind and heart. Check out this post about a really fun way to make a daily practice of just this!
  11. Pick a self-care activity. Nurturing yourself has been proven to promote oxytocin, which is a hormone that lowers stress. Here are some suggestions for a way to nurture yourself, but really you know what nurtures you best. Don’t hold back – give yourself what you need to feel good and happy inside and out. Examples: manicure, mini-massage, nap, home facial, bath, tea, or buy fresh flowers.

These tips are great for a quick boost of happiness. Try each one to see what works best for you and maybe challenge yourself to try ones that don’t seem like “you”.  You never know what will work until you try it.

If you seek longer lasting happiness and profound joy, that’s the deeper, beautiful and sometimes challenging journey. In my experience, it’s always worth it!

For more tips to shift your mood, you might like these posts…

13 Things you can do to be Less Anxious

Moving through the Blues

16 Mind-Body Depression Hacks that don’t require Medication

Most importantly, live what you love and honor your heart, body and mind. 

Rachel Shanken PTSD therapist New York City

P.S. Curious about your mind-body connection? Take the free 10-question MindBody IQ Quiz.

P.P.S. Join other like-spirited people just like you in the private, free Facebook group: the MindBodyWise Living Room.