Looking for a little more joy? Life isn’t always easy, but some habits and decisions are more likely to keep you grinning. Research has found that 50% of our happiness is determined by our genetics, 10% is determined by our circumstances in life, and 40% is determined by our thoughts, actions and behaviors. That leaves lots of room for extra cheer! Try these twelve science-approved tips for a happier, more fulfilled life.
READ MORE: Plan Out Your Happiness
1. Wake up earlier. Studies have found that early birds reported feeling happier and healthier than night owls, in part because the business world is structured on a schedule that accommodates their sleep schedules.
2. Seek out new experiences. People who try a variety of new things will hold onto more positive feelings and have an easier time letting go of negativity.
3. Reflect on the times you persevered through adversity. A 2010 study found that enduring a somewhat low amount of traumas in life leaders to better life satisfaction, happiness, and coping ability than those who have never faced any adversity. If you’ve had a tough time in your past, remember that it’s helping to shape your present happiness.
4. Find (or create) a sense of meaning in your life. Good moods can’t (and shouldn’t) stick around 24/7, and in moments when immediate happiness is waning, a life that is meaningful leads to greater fulfillment and satisfaction. Meaning can be whatever you want it to be — you can find it within your family, your career, your church, your creative passions, or any other aspect of life that is significant to you.
5. Serve others. Doing good deeds makes you feel great!
6. Count your blessings. Gratitude decreases toxic emotions and improves self-esteem, so at the end of each day, name three things you’re thankful for.
7. Pay attention to the details. When you’re having an enjoyable experience, try to soak up every little detail of the moment. Engage all your senses and try to live as presently as possible in your joy, because research has found that living in the moment is great for your sense of wellbeing.
READ MORE: How Happy Are You?
8. Cherish and nurture your relationships. Studies have found that a key source of happiness is feeling that you have a strong support system you can call when life gets rough. Spending lots of time with close friends and family members is also important, so give your best friend a call!
9. Take care of your health. It’s no secret that exercise and the endorphins that come along with it make you happier. Studies also point to the fact that what we eat can influence our mood, so opt for fresh fruits and veggies and participate in a workout you enjoy three times per week. Happiness is also derived from generally being in good health, and these habits can act as preventative measures to increase your odds of staying as healthy as possible in the future.
10. See your glass as half-full whenever you can. Many factors beyond our control determine how happy we are, but to some extent, we can improve our mood in certain situations by choosing happiness. The next time a minor annoyance or ho-hum day rolls around, look for any positive aspect of the situation that you can focus on and appreciate.
11. Focus on autonomy. Feeling that you have control over your own life is a major factor in your overall satisfaction, so remind yourself of the parts of your day-to-day that you do have control over. If you’re able, make changes in your life that will give you more autonomy in the long haul.
12. Seek out things to look forward to. Experiences often make us happier than material objects, and studies have found that anticipating those experiences before they even begin make us especially happy. If you can afford to book a vacation, do it! If not, take stock of any exciting events coming up in your schedule and start counting down the days.
READ MORE: Here’s Why Helping Others Is Good For You