6 Ways to Boost Happiness

Smiling can actually put a smile on your face (for real!)

Smiling can actually put a smile on your face (for real!)

I saw the Indigo Girls perform with the Phoenix Symphony over the weekend and all I can say is WOW! I had a giant smile on my face the entire time, almost exploding with the joy of the moment. It was a magical performance… and to think I almost didn’t go. I’m not one to commit to things too far in advance, the tickets weren’t exactly cheap, and hanging with the symphony isn’t my usual thang – but I broke all my rules and committed to the ticket. So glad I did. It was definitely a happiness-booster on many levels. And it got me thinking about what really makes us happy. Here are 6 proven mood-boosters:

1. Turn on the happiness tunes – Listening to an upbeat song can lift your mood, say researchers from the University of Missouri – but only if you’re trying to get happier. Music has also been shown to ease anxiety and decrease blood pressure levels.

2. Take a stroll outside – Go take a walk, a leisurely stroll along the Greenbelt on around Tempe Town Lake, and I dare you not to feel happier afterwards. Yes, research says that sunlight improves mood, so does getting outside, taking time for you and breathing in fresh air.

3. Finally cross that nagging task off your to-do list – You know, the one you keep putting it on the back-burner because you just don’t want to deal with it (like that mail pile I keep ignoring). Postponing the inevitable only builds negative emotion, but filing it in the “done” category equals instant elation.

Tackle your to-do list and you'll feel lighter

Tackle your to-do list and you’ll feel lighter

4. Organize the chaos around you – I feel discombobulated if my immediate surroundings are in disarray. That’s because clutter affects mood. So spend a few minutes organizing bills or clearing out the junk drawer and watch your mood soar.

5. Go on, smile! – The act of smiling can make us feel better – added bonus if the smile stems from positive thoughts.

6. Get tickets to the Phoenix Symphony – Okay, it doesn’t have to be the Phoenix Symphony, but researchers have found that spending money on experiences rather than material possessions (eg: buying theater tickets as opposed to new jeans) can boost your mood. This also creates fond memories for future smiles.

Happy tunes can put you in a good mood

Happy tunes can put you in a good mood

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