Happiness is something that can feel as though it’s out of your reach. People view happiness as something that happens to other people, but in fact it’s something that you can create yourself. Here are 10 things that are scientifically proven to make you happier, and how you can make these changes for yourself.

1. Get an extra hour of sleep

Everyone knows how it feels when you don’t get enough sleep. It can leave you feeling grumpy and irritable, at the very least. Health writer Roger Finlay from State Of Writing says:

“The best thing you can do to increase happiness is to get an extra hour of sleep. It can make you feel much more refreshed in the morning, and ready to take on the world.”

Look for the best time to fit this extra hour in. It may be you go to bed an hour earlier, or find a way to get to work later so you can lie in the morning.

2. Help others

This can be as small or as large a gesture as you want it to be. Why not bring a homeless person a coffee as you make your way to work, or clean out your wardrobe and donate your clothes to a women’s refuge? If you want to think bigger, you can look at donating money or time to a charity that’s close to your heart. Doing something for others will make you feel happier in the long run.

3. Try something new

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Then now’s the time to do it. People who continually seek out new experiences and activities are shown to be much happier than those who delay or ignore opportunities altogether. You’ll find you’re having a much more fulfilling social life, even if the thing you try isn’t for you. At least you tried it!

4. Hug more

Physical connection with other people has a real effect on you, and it’s a fact that you should seek it out more often. When you hug someone, your levels of oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone, rise. After only 20 seconds, you can feel a real effect on your happiness and stress levels. It’s a good excuse to show that special someone that you love them, after all.

5. Break a bad habit

Everyone has a vice they wish they didn’t have. Maybe you smoke, drink too much, or eat too many unhealthy foods. Whatever it is, look to break that habit. Just the act of trying to break the habit can make you feel better, and success can boost mood greatly. Even if you only kick it for a day, you’ll see the difference.

6. Write about your feelings

You kept a journal as a teenager, but have you thought about keeping one now? There’s a lot of benefits to writing about your feelings, even if you keep those writings to yourself. Writer Harriet Burns at Huffington Post says ‘Putting your feelings down on paper can really help you get them in order, and put them into perspective.

7. Surround yourself with positive people

Have you ever found that when you’re around people who are being negative, your mood drops? It’s only human to complain every now and then, but if you find that your friends are being negative all the time, you’ll need to seek out positive people to spend time with. They’ll help you see the positive in what’s around you, and help you feel happier.

8. Spend your money on others

When you’re unhappy, it’s tempting to go on a big blowout and buy yourself things you don’t need. However, it’s actually much better to spend that money on others. That way, you’re creating social connections and it’ll make you happier in turn. Try buying someone you love a small gift as a surprise. You’ll be amazed at how good it will make you feel.

9. Exercise more

It sounds obvious, but if you exercise more, you’ll feel better in yourself. There’s a lot of physical benefits, such as weight loss, and increased fitness. However, it will also reduce your stress levels and give you more energy to get through the day. If you have a spare 20 minutes in the morning, use them to get a mini workout in. That way, you can face the day feeling better about yourself.

10. Buy experiences rather than things

Finally, put your money into experiences for yourself, rather than things to own. That iPad may be the must-have thing right now, but will it make you happier in the long run? Spend the money on plane tickets instead, and you’ll see the difference.

Try these 10 tips and see just how much your happiness increases. You’ll find that you’ll feel much better in yourself, just by making these small changes.

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Author: Rachel Summers

Rachel Summers is a freelance writer whose passion is helping students get the most out of their learning journey. She started out as a writer and journalist in the newspaper industry, including Revieweal, before breaking out to go freelance and follow her own passions. Her writing is designed to help you get the most out of college. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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