How to be happy? 11 scientifically proven ways to achieve it

How to be happy? 11 scientifically proven ways to achieve it

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

We all go in search of happiness as if it were our goal in life, when in reality the key is in the way we walk the path.

Easier said than done, right?

But we can actually make some changes in our lives They are not difficult at all and can help us raise our spirits in our daily lives.

Here are 11 scientifically proven ways to be happier.


  • 1 Stay busy, but don't hurry
  • 2 Get enough sleep
  • 3 Exercise
  • 4 Maintain 5 close relationships
  • 5 Be proactive in your relationships
  • 6 Leave home
  • 7 Help other people
  • 8 Laugh more
  • 9 Plan fun time and spend on experiences
  • 10 Meditate
  • 11 Practice of gratitude

Stay busy, but don't hurry

When we talk about being busy, we don't mean planning the day so that we don't have a moment of rest. Overwork, obligations and haste are a one-way street towards stress and unhappiness.

Studies suggest that occupation in balance with free time It is the key, since excess boredom can also be a burden, for this reason we must focus on achieving a productive life, but without accelerating.

Achieving true balance may imply having to find a way to say "no" to certain things, but if we succeed, we will eventually be pleasantly rewarded.

Sleep enough

We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness.

The writers of the book "Educate today, nobody said it was easy" Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects positivity:

Negative stimuli are processed by the amygdala while positive or neutral memories are processed in the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation affects the hippocampus more negatively than the tonsil. The result is that people with lack of sleep do not access pleasant memories so well, however they remember sad or negative experiences better.

In an experiment with university students with lack of sleep they were proposed to memorize a list of words, later it was observed that they remembered up to 81% of the words with negative connotation, such as "cancer". But they only remembered 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, such as "sun" or "basket."

Do exercise

Do you think you don't have enough time to exercise? According to recent studies with only 7 minutes a day From some kind of sport we can already achieve our goal of increasing our levels of well-being and, therefore, happiness. That is a time any of us can fit into your schedule.

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective and well-known strategy for overcome depression. In a study on exercise and depression, three groups of depression patients were treated, one with medication only, the second with exercise, and the third with a combination of both. The results of this study were surprising: Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their levels of happiness from the beginning, follow-up evaluations proved to be radically different:

The groups were analyzed six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had only taken medication, 38% had fallen back into depression. Those in the combination of medication and exercise group were only slightly better, with a relapse rate of 31%. The biggest surprise, however, came from group that was treated only with exercise: Their relapse rate was only 9%.

Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain capacity, and even improve your body image, even if you don't lose weight. Indeed, even if your body appearance does not change by exercising, how you feel about your body does change for the better.

Maintain 5 close relationships

Relations and social contact are perhaps the most important point when we talk about satisfaction and happiness in life, at least for most people.

Studies indicate that when someone has 5 or more trusted people with whom they can talk about important problems, they are 60% more likely to say they are "very happy."

And we do not fool ourselves, we are essentially social animals, our happiness has a lot to do with the contact and relationship we have with our peers.

Be proactive in your relationships

Numerous tests indicate that most relationships (especially spouses) decrease in intensity over time.

Often a relationship can deteriorate if we let it flow without further, without worrying about her, as if we were wearing the autopilot.

Celebrating the good things in your life, letting the other know that we care, that we are interested in what you explain, and show us proactive in the relationship, will help the feelings not to decay and be lost forever.

Let's not fall into self-centeredness. Studies show that people like to talk about themselves, be heard and above all be understood. So, let's do it more often.

Taking care of oneself is also taking care of others. In this way, mutual dedication will bring benefits for both.

As someone once said: "If you're going to take care of me, I'm going to take care of you.". Let's make these words come true.

Leave home

Spending time outdoors substantially improve our levels of happiness.

But going outside during a pleasant day also offers other benefits; one study showed that spend 20 minutes outdoors in good weatherIn addition to boosting our positive mood, it helps strengthen our thinking and improves working memory.

A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors makes people feel happier:

Being outdoors, near the sea, in a warm and sunny environment is the perfect place for most people. In fact, it was observed that the participants felt substantially happier outdoors in any natural environment, but they were not in urban settings.

The American Meteorological Society in a research published in 2011 showed that temperature has a great effect on our happiness, and that variables such as wind speed, humidity or even average temperature over the course of a day, can be great conditions of our mood He also found that happiness is maximized when we are around 20 ° C, so it will be good to consider the weather forecast before leaving home for our 20 minutes of fresh air.

Help other people

Although at first it doesn't seem to have much logic, it seems helping others makes us feel happier. In fact, studies say that 100 hours a year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should devote to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

On the other hand, spend money on activities with other people such as going to dinner in groups, concerts, movies, etc. What would be the so-called "pro-social spending" helps increase our happiness. And it does not do it at the same level the fact of spending money on material things like clothes, televisions or expensive watches.

Also the fact of spending money on other people, either because they need it or because we want to give them a gift, makes us happier than buying things for ourselves.

The psychologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania Martin Seligman He explains that helping others can improve our own lives. Scientists have found that doing good produces a substantial increase in our well-being.

Laugh more

Smiling can make us feel better, but it's still more effective when accompanied by positive thoughts.

A study led by a researcher at Michigan State University suggests that customer service workers who show a false smile throughout the day worsen their mood and negatively affect their productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts, improve their mood and are more productive.

That is why the practice of real and genuine smiles is important, because the smile can improve our attention and help us to better perform cognitive tasks.

Laughing makes us feel good, which also increases our attention flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that the participants who smiled had a better performance in attention tasks, especially in those that were required to see the whole forest instead of just the trees.

A smile is also effective in reducing the pain we feel in certain circumstances, for example, it decreases the sensation of pain caused by an angry situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even with a forced smile, here is enough to slightly raise our mood (this is an example of body awareness).

Plan fun time and spend on experiences

Doing something fun will bring us greater well-being and feeling of happiness, of course, but research has shown that mere travel planning or other activities for the future, often helps to feel equally well.

Apparently, planning a party or a good dinner can have the same beneficial effect as later carrying out such plans with friends. The psychologist Dan gilbert He explains how in a study where participants won a free dinner, most actively scheduled their dinner one week in advance, rather than the next night.

Why this delay? Because thinking about how well they are going to have a good time and planning it calmly makes this feeling of satisfaction more lasting, making it lengthen over time.

In addition, as we have already advanced in point 7, if we spend on experiences, these "experiential purchases" tend to make us happier. In fact, a wide variety of research shows that most people are much happier buying experiences in the face of buying material goods.

The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Experiences improve with time: A great experience tends to age like a good wine. While researchers have observed that physical objects can age rapidly ("Ugh, my phone is already one year old!"), Experiences can be shared with enthusiasm for years.
  • People often relive their experiences: This goes hand in hand with the previous point, research shows that experiences tend to be remembered more often. We probably don't remember the first surfboard we bought, but we probably remember our first surf class with love.
  • The experiences are more unique: people are constantly compared to other people, and the vast majority prefer to stand out as much as possible. Since we almost always buy very common products, researchers point out that it is more likely that when comparing what we buy with others, we feel that it is not interesting. But experiences always have a unique touch, so we are much less likely to make comparisons in this regard, and we simply enjoy them, since we are enjoying their unique nature.
  • We adapt to experiences slowly: Another reason why experiences seem so important to us is that our brain takes longer to get used to them. Haven't you often felt very happy and excited after returning from a great show / dinner / vacation? It is less likely that a purchased item maintains our state of excitement for so long, and it is because we adapt before buying materials.
  • The experiences are social.: human beings are social animals, that is a fact. Did you know that being in solitary confinement is classified as a "cruel" punishment, due to the harmful effects it may have on the mind? Having experiences, sometimes even outside our comfort zone, is a fantastic way to create new connections in our brain and generate happiness.


The meditation It is an effective habit to improve our thoughts, clarity and ability to concentrate, in addition to helping to keep calm. But it turns out that our level of happiness is also useful for improvement.

In a study by a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, brain scans of 16 people were observed before and after they participated in an eight-week course of mindfulness meditation. The study concluded that after completing the course, the parts of the brain of the participants associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and the parts associated with stress decreased.

Meditation helps to slow down and calm the mind, which has often proven to be the most effective way to live a happier life.. Meditation can really make us happier in the long term.

Studies show that in the minutes immediately after meditation, we experience feelings of calm and satisfaction, as well as increased awareness and empathy. Regular meditation can raise levels of brain happiness.

Gratitude practice

This is a seemingly simple strategy, but apparently it is very effective. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, write a diary with the things for which we are grateful, share three good things that have happened to us every day with a friend or with our partner, show gratitude when others help us ...

In an experiment where participants took note of the things for which they were grateful each day, it was seen that their moods were improved only with this simple practice.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study in which thank you letters were used to prove how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:

The participants were a total of 219 men and women who wrote three letters of thanks over a period of 3 weeks. The results indicated that the writing of the letters of thanks markedly increased his happiness and satisfaction with life, while decreasing the depressive symptoms.

Another curious fact is that as we age, especially after middle age, we naturally tend to be happier. There is still some debate about why this happens, but scientists have some ideas:

Some researchers have found that when older people are shown images of faces or diverse situations, they tend to focus and remember more and more the happy ones and less the negative ones.

Other studies have discovered that as people get older, they look for situations that help them improve their mood, for example cut before with the social circles of friends or acquaintances that could make them feel bad. In another study, it was observed that older adults learn to put aside loss and disappointment for goals not achieved, and focus on what they have for their well-being.

That's how you were of those who thought that get older it would make you feel bad, we hope that after reading this you will develop a more positive perspective in this regard.

Being happy does not mean that everything is perfect. It means that you have decided to see beyond imperfections.