4 Research-Backed Strategies That Will Help You Feel Happier

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Have you ever heard of "Don't worry, be happy?" These lyrics make finding happiness sound like a breeze. But it isn't always so simple.

Stress can be overwhelming and have you feeling like you're in a slump. To relax, you try to buy a cute top or two. But after all the shopping is over and done with, you still feel sad. That pinch of happiness left as soon as it came. How do other people manage to be happy and stay that way? 

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What makes you happy? What makes you break out in laughter? How do you keep feeling happy regardless of your situation and circumstances? It's not all just breaking into song and dance when you're upset, is it?

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to finding happiness. But there are proven ways to feel happier and make your happiness stick, even if it does require a little elbow grease from time to time. We asked some of our experts to tell us real ways to help achieve happiness, and this is the advice they offered.

Here are 4 science-backed strategies you can use to feel happier every day:

1. Take care of others.

“Positive psychology research has shown that the pursuit of happiness does not make you happier. The most important factor to improve your state of being is actually seeking ways to increase your sense of value. When you do or say things that in some way increase your value socially, there is a long-lasting and significant boost in your sense of well-being. So take a moment do something nice, and your mood will soar up high.”

John Ryder, PhD. is a psychologist, author, and workshop leader in private practice in NYC for over 35 years. He has been a major advocate of positive psychology: how to attain and maintain greater well-being. His book, Positive Directions, is a personal development guide.

2. Focus on building positive experiences. 

“Have you ever felt guilty for wanting someone else to do your tasks, like mowing the lawn, buying groceries or cleaning the bathroom, but stopped short of doing it because, well, you could do it yourself? Stop beating yourself up and hire that cleaning crew! Recent research shows that relieving your time scarcity will bring you more of a happiness boost than buying that next pair of boots.

Social scientists have long known that accumulating materials things is not going to bring you happiness. Rather, spending money on experiences, from vacations to a simple coffee shop date, yields much more rewards. Maybe that’s because they are more meaningful, or help us strengthen our social relationships, or maybe it’s we can continue to enjoy them afterward in our memories. Even just planning an experience, as opposed to buying yet another thing, gives your positivity an upward jolt.

Lack of time, or time famine, to do all that we think we need to do causes stress and keeps us from enjoying the precious time we have with our loved ones.”

Katherine Mackintosh, M.Ed., is a national board certified health and wellness coach, a positive psychology practitioner, and the founder of Clear Path Health Coaching LLC. She does public speaking on a variety of health and wellness issues in addition to coaching private clients. Find out more at Clear Path Health Coaching and Katherine Mackintosh on LinkedIn.

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3. Try to have more positive interactions.

“Practice positivity with someone you love. It can be anything that shows appreciation. A hug, A flower from the garden. A sincere compliment. Research by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Robert Levenson concluded that there is a magic ratio of positive to negative interactions in order to have a healthy relationship: Five positives to one negative. Happy couples have up to fifteen positive to one negative. It's a quick and easy way to bring more happiness to you and your partner!”

How many positive interactions have you had with your husband? 

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If you find yourself in a loop of negative interactions, try to make more positive ones. Tell your partner about how grateful you are for every little thing they do. Give him a small gift that you know he enjoys. Even a simple 'I love you' text can do a world of good.

Sally Evans is a licensed professional counselor and certified life coach based in Austin, Texas. For twenty years, she has helped people to move from emotional distress into lives of peace and happiness. Her coaching specialty is happiness coaching. You can reach her at SallyEvansCoach.com or sallycoach@gmail.com.

4. Have a spiritual balance. 

“Many people do not appreciate the significance of religion and focused spirituality in our struggle for personal completeness. Personal completeness is actually a biblical construct and includes happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, comprehensive well-being, peace, and healing. The religious and spiritual aspect of personal completeness is accomplished by spiritual energies that are intentioned and intensified.

For example, the Institute of Noetic Studies has experimented and cited upon a large number of past scientific studies to analyze and try to measure the varied healing power of spiritual prayers. In this new light, more hospitals are appreciating patients' sincere spirituality as contributing to faster effective healing.”

Tovari Eliyah, M.Div. is an ordained rabbi-pastor, church planter, educator, author, pastoral counselor and coach of spirituality and Shalom (Completeness) Psychology with its techniques for personal well-being, relationships, and success. He has been in spiritual ministry and teaching for over twenty years. He is also the founding director and teacher at Divine Glory Life Ministries. You can read more from him at DivineGloryLife.com or easily contact him on Facebook.

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Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who taught English in Hiroshima, Japan for 2 years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.

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