5 Simple Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier

This is not a post about transforming who you are in 2017 or becoming a new and better person, or even just a better version of yourself. These simple and scientifically-proven way to be happier this year are much easier than that. They don’t require any big changes to yourself or your life. These are just simple ways you can make yourself feel a little better than you did last year.

Get in the Garden

Gardening can make you healthier and happier. It’s actually known as a depression cure because getting your hands dirty in the garden increases your serotonin levels. Your serotonin levels increase on contact with the soil and certain soil bacteria, so even if you live in an apartment block without access to a garden, just tending a few house plants can bring benefit.

Pick Your Own Produce

Even more gardening! Let’s double up the benefits in the garden this year by growing our own produce. Studies suggest that our brains release dopamine when we harvest produce from the garden. The researcher’s theorised that this response evolved over 200,000 years of hunter-gathering. The dopamine is released at the sight of the produce and the smell. If you don’t have access to your own produce then make an appointment with friends to do some local berry or fruit picking.

Drink More Water

A study of 120 healthy female college students, which documented their eating and drinking habits showed that those who drank the most water were also happier. The water intake was from all sources (including food) and the study was controlled for known factors that affected mood, like exercise and caffeine. Fluctuations in hormones were also taken into account. The study showed that tension, depression and confusion scores of the participants went down as water intake went up.

Wear Brighter Colours

Even easier than the last few suggestions, all you need to do to feel better in 2017 is to wear bright colours. According to the author of How Not to Wear Black, Jules Standish “Research shows that the colours can have a psychological effect. When we look at certain colours it triggers neurological responses in the brain and causes the hypothalamus gland to release hormones.”

Looking at warm, bright colours such as red or pink, releases dopamine – known as the ‘feel good hormone – which can improve our mood, heighten attention span and even boost our sex drive.
Cool blues on the other hand, have been linked to the release of oxytocin, making you feel calm.

Watch Cat Videos

Yes, seriously. According to a study published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, watching cute cat videos boosts energy levels and increases feelings of happiness. The study even concluded that watching internet cats could be used as a form of digital pet therapy or stress relief.

Assistant Professor, Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University Media School said “Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the internet today. If we want to better understand the effects the internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore internet cats anymore.”

“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterwards.”

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Aussie freelance writer and professional blogger from the Goldcoast. When I'm not writing, I'm driving through the country with my retriever, Missy.