10 Ways to Get Happier
Updated: Jun 16
There’s an avalanche of practical (and otherwise) information out there these days designed to help you feel happier about how you live your life. We like these hacks we found recently because they’re fun, doable and based on professional research of some kind!
1. Live in a Modern Farmhouse
Chances are you’ll be happier there!
Homes.com recently surveyed more than 5,000 American adults about their favorite house styles. Out of the seven most common residential architectural types -- Mid-century Modern Ranch, Modern Farmhouse, Spanish Colonial/Southwest, Bohemian Craftsman, Italianate, French Chateau, and Tudor – the “Modern Farmhouse” was voted the most-loved style of home. Survey correspondents liked the style because it’s simple, cozy, and not too busy.
What constitutes a Modern farmhouse style? Think of the traditional large 19th-century rural homes with wraparound porches updated inside with open floor plans, exposed beams, fresh bright colors, cozy fabrics, comfy vintage quilts, shabby-chic furnishings and large windows in every room to let the sun shine in!
This relaxed and welcoming style works on any scale from big, old-home renovations and new home designs to snug city apartment interiors.
2. Eat Blueberries
Get this! Blueberries have the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits. And antioxidants are those amazing, free radical-fighting molecules that reduce stress levels and anxiety by regulating your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that makes you feel anxious. Blueberries are packed with vitamin C which also lowers cortisol. So to get rid of the “blues” – nibble on some blueberries, or toast the day with a glass of fresh blueberry juice!
According to an article on Beliefnet.com, “Research shows that eating blueberries can improve memory and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Blueberries are sodium free, which is great when it comes to keeping a healthy blood pressure. Blueberries contain high amounts of water. Dehydration leads to poor mood and increased anxiety.”
3. Listen to the Most Beautiful Aria Ever Written
Giacomo Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh my dear papa”) from “Gianni Schicchi” will fill you with joy instantly, even if you don’t understand Italian! It is rated one of the top three most beautiful soprano opera arias of all time by diva Renée Fleming.
“Trust me, I have combed the repertoire,” the Grammy Award-winning singer laughs. “‘O mio babbino caro’ is definitely my go-to.”
In the melody, the protagonist Lauretta “asks her father if she can marry the boy that she loves and she threatens to jump in the river if he says no. It’s incredibly charming but also an immediately recognizable melody.”
Fleming’s second and third picks are “Un bel dì vedremo” from “Madam Butterfly” and “Vissi d’arte” from “Tosca.”
4. Get Married
It’s good to travel down life’s highways and byways with someone who’s vowed to stay by your side, “in good times and bad, in sickness and in health.” In fact, married people have the highest levels of happiness, averaging 7.67 out of 10, higher than co-habiting, single, widowed or divorced people.
This is a finding from the Measuring National Well-being programme, a survey of 300,000 adults in the UK, collected over three years between 2012 and 2015.
5. Spend Some Time in Helsinki
Sure, it’s cold and rainy and plunged into darkness for six months of the year, but Finland is consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world on the World Happiness Report, an annual survey conducted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. It looks at the state of global happiness in 156 countries, ranking countries on their levels of GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption.
In 2020, for the first time, the World Happiness Report also ranked the happiest cities in the world, too. It’s no surprise that the happiest-ranked city – Helsinki – is also the capital of Finland. The ranking is based on survey responses received from the city’s inhabitants themselves and compared to responses from other cities. People who live here are proud of their seaport city’s beauty, energy efficiency and access to nature.
Orderliness, trust and equality are valued highly here, and civic participation allows residents to have a direct say in how their city is run.
Plus, Helsinki’s tap water is rated the cleanest in the world, the granite sidewalks there are heated in the wintertime, and it is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights!
Photo by Daniell Langford
6. Live to Be 65 Years Old
OK, if you make it to 65, you’re gonna feel pretty darn happy, no matter what. The Measuring National Well-being programme report officially determined that people age 65 to 79 tended to report the highest average levels of personal well-being and happiness. At this point in life, people often have more time and resources to travel or indulge their hobbies, so that makes total sense.
The same report also noted that ratings of life satisfaction and happiness were at their lowest, on average, for those aged 45 to 59 – so you just have to push on through and persevere – your happiest years await!
7. Paint Your Apartment Yellow
Can color really influence your moods? If so, what is color makes us feel best?
According to color specialist Chip (as in color chip -- yes, that’s his real name) at the paint and coating industry’s leading color sample production house Dorn Color, you may be surprised to find out that psychology has a concrete answer to this question: yes -- and the color is yellow.
“Yellow is widely recognized as the happiest color in the world and comes with a scientific pedigree to back up this esteemed honor.
Research has suggested two main reasons why yellow is considered the happiest color. Many studies have linked the psychological powers of yellow to the sun. Sunlight helps to lift our mood and improve our outlook on life as well as being the source of life on earth. This connection suggests that the brain is programmed to associate yellow with these positive effects of sunlight and stimulate the nervous system. Studies have also suggested that the ability of yellow to stand out from other colors helps to associate the color yellow with positive memories.
“Despite some of the more ominous cultural associations of yellow such as caution, and cowardice, yellow remains a powerful psychological force of good.”
Also, the happy face is yellow too – just saying.
8. Feel the Love of a Beautiful Piece of Art
Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, discovered that viewing a beautiful or moving piece of art triggers the chemical release of dopamine, giving us the same pleasurable feeling we get when we fall in love.
What artworks are considered the most beautiful in the world? Everybody has their personal favorites from Monet’s “Waterlilies” to Michelangelo’s “David” to Jeff Koon’s “Balloon Dog.” What’s yours?
There are many lists online of the greatest, most beautiful or moving artworks ever created. Here are two of our favorites --
Check out the 10 best paintings of all time, according to TimeOut.com. Their top choice is “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci.
And here are the 42 most beautiful sculptures of all time from Thinkinghumanity.com. Their No. 1 pick is “Expansion” by Paige Bradley.
9. Watch Funny Baby Videos
Everybody knows that watching cat videos can be a fun and addictive pleasure to while away a few minutes – or hours -- online. But those recorded antics of our furry friends can also make us feel happy and energized, according to a study of 7,000 internet users published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
Babies are a lot like human kitties, so watching funny baby videos should have the same effect, right? This is one of our favorite compilations from Funny Awesome.
10. Buy Something
Studies have shown that shopping causes your brain to release more serotonin, which is a chemical that makes you feel good!
Remember, owning lots of stuff doesn’t make you happy. But being good to yourself does. So treat yourself (or a loved one) to something special every now and then – within budget of course. A box of truffles or new pair of shoes can do wonders for your psyche.
And if you manage to snag your treats on sale, all the better! Finding bargain deals makes us feel smarter, too.