15 Little Choices That Will Make You Happy Now

mbg Class Instructor & Meditation Teacher By Light Watkins
mbg Class Instructor & Meditation Teacher
Light Watkins is a Santa Monica–based Vedic Meditation teacher, mindbodygreen class instructor, TEDx speaker, and author of Bliss More, How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying. He grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from Howard University with a bachelor's in communications.

There’s a science to being happy, and it’s not as complicated as we sometimes think. According to research from happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, only about 10 percent of our happiness comes from external circumstances (where we live, how much money we earn, etc.). We get another 50 percent of our happiness from our genes. And 40 percent is within our control. It comes directly from the choices we make.

Science now tells us that the lifestyle portion of our happiness is the only part that’s within our control, and we can optimize it by making tiny changes in how we live. Here are 15 scientifically proven suggestions for where to start.

1. Stop “hanging out” and commit.

Being in a committed relationship makes you happier than being single.

2. Go dancing.

Moving to upbeat music releases chemicals that will boost your mood.

3. Be a good Samaritan.

As it turns out, money can buy happiness — if you use it to help others.

4. Make every day Thanksgiving.

Expressing gratitude for what you have does wonders for your overall well-being.

5. Hug it out.

Touch is huge for happiness! Hugging your children makes them better-adjusted adults, and you benefit from it, too.

6. Bring home fresh flowers.

The aroma of flowers can spike those mood-improving chemicals almost instantly.

7. Sit down and shut up.

No surprise here. Daily meditation super-sizes satisfaction from the inside out.

8. Do some burpees.

Intense exercise releases endorphins, a major factor in feelings of well-being.

9. Take the hourly job over a salary.

Hourly employees are statistically happier than salaried employees.

10. Hit the snooze button six times.

An additional hour of sleep each night increases life satisfaction significantly.

11. Become a master.

Evidently, when you work to master a skill, you become happier in the long term.

12. Stop dressing like a New Yorker.

Wearing all black actually has a negative effect on your state of mind. Start wearing brighter colors, especially yellow.

13. Invest in experiences rather than things.

Deciding between a new speaker system and a vacation? Statistics show going on vacation will give you greater life satisfaction over time.

14. Live with passion.

Identifying and sharing your life’s purpose is one of the keys to sustaining happiness into old age.

15. Sign up for that timeshare in Hawaii.

Spending time in warm-weather climates reduces stress levels and boosts happiness. Color me surprised.

Want more tips on getting happy? Start here:

Light Watkins
Light Watkins
Light Watkins is a Santa Monica–based Vedic Meditation teacher, mindbodygreen class instructor, TEDx...
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Light Watkins
Light Watkins
Light Watkins is a Santa Monica–based Vedic Meditation teacher,...
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