Here are five “happiness hacks” that will get you on track in your pursuit of happiness today.
1. Smile: People smile when they’re happy, but did you know that it can work the other way around too? Studies show that consciously smiling can increase our levels of happiness and reduce stress.
2. Keep a gratitude journal: One of the best ways to practice happiness is to focus on what is currently good in your life.
By focusing on the positive, you literally start to rewire your brain. Our brains are naturally programmed to focus more heavily on the negative stimuli in our lives. Scientists call this the negativity bias. It is the result of our natural flight or fight response, making negative experiences leave stronger impressions on us.
3. Surround yourself with happy people: While people have a lot of control over their perceived reality, cultivating a positive and happy environment goes a long way to nurture happiness. According to a study conducted by Harvard University and the University of California, happiness is actually contagious. This means your close associations can have a significant impact on your emotional well-being, including how happy you feel.
4. Identify your purpose: Many 20-somethings struggle to find their fundamental purpose and their life’s raison d’etre. Instead, they may wander from job to job or relationship to relationship without a clear path or vision. Unfortunately, this can land you in a career you don’t value and relationships that are unfulfilling.
5. Unplug: Today’s 20-somethings are part of the mobile generation. For many of us, disconnecting from our phones or devices feels akin to losing a limb. But there may be more serious consequences to our 24/7 reliance on technology.
Studies show that heavy use of computers and mobile devices can lead to sleep disorders, stress, and mental health issues in young adults. And there is a clear connection between lack of sleep and higher rates of depression in people of all ages.