Making eye contact and grinning at a stranger can brighten both of your days. “Research shows it cheers people up,” says Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work and a senior fellow at the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. “One theory about why is we’re clannish, tribal people. Our nervous system feels safer in groups. So the more connected we feel to people around us, the safer and more relaxed we feel, and that opens up the possibility we’ll be happy.” Plus, grinning activates the smile muscles, which can also put you in a better mood.
Your mom was right about standing straight—not only does walking with proper posture make you look slimmer, it also perks you up. A study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry monitored two groups of people: those who walked in a happy style and those who walked in a depressed style. The cheerier their stroll, the more positive the participants' memories of the experience were. “Pay attention to your posture,” says Carter. “Sitting up straight will lead to greater confidence—that’s a positive emotion, a form of happiness.”
“When you’re getting coffee, if you chat with a barista, you’re likely to feel happier when you leave than if you didn’t," says Carter. Bonus: The joy booster works for the barista, too.
It’s no secret that dedicating yourself to a cause you believe in helps you feel more fulfilled and joyful. But you don’t always need that time commitment to reap the perks. Even just signing a petition can bolster feelings of purpose and well-being, according to a study published in the journal Political Psychology. The research found that activists have stronger relationships, like themselves more, and experience higher levels of connection to others.
"Any little small act of kindness tends to boost our happiness pretty dramatically," says Carter. So feed someone's meter, or pay the toll or coffee shop bill of the person behind you. "The theory of why these acts make us happier is because it pulls us out of our tight, worried focus on ourselves," she says.
They say money can’t buy happiness—but sometimes it can. Research from San Francisco State University shows that spending dough on experiences—like concert tickets or a baseball game—delivers major satisfaction, mainly because it helps us feel more socially connected. However, splurging on material possessions doesn’t have the same effect since that doesn’t leave you with a lasting memory of the occasion. Ticketmaster.com, here you come...
There’s a reason visiting the Grand Canyon or seeing the Northern Lights ignites a spark in you. “Watching a video of a large whale with a human makes you feel small, but also provides a sense of awe,” says Carter. “That positive emotion gives you a sense of overall well-being.” In the Internet age, it’s easy to find a dose of inspiration, whether it’s by searching YouTube for a video that moves you or by scrolling through your Instagram feed.
“People who practice gratitude—thinking about the good things that have happened to you or you appreciate in your life—[are] more enthusiastic and interested in the world around them,” says Carter. “They’re more likely to be kind and helpful to other people.” For an instant brightener, she recommends thinking of something you’re thankful for. It will give you a larger perspective on happiness
“Touch is the way human beings most easily convey love and compassion,” says Carter. “Hugging somebody sets us up for a quick hit of care, those positive emotions associated with feelings of warmth toward another person.” And there’s evidence that longer hugs tend to release feel-good oxytocin, so lay a nice and cozy one on somebody!
* This article was taken from the Women´s Health