How To Boost Your Happiness


Rebecca Smith

Happiness. What is it truly? Some may define happiness with an adjective like contentment, comfort, or satisfaction, others may use people and experiences to define it for themselves, mentioning their best friends, family, or significant others. Everyone is going to interpret it differently based on their own lives and mindsets, but have you ever looked deeper into what happiness is?

Have you ever heard someone describe a person as naturally happy? Well, they’re not necessarily wrong. According to research, 40% of your happiness does come from your genetics, while the other 60% comes from your environment. That research also shows that it is entirely possible to train or rewire your brain to be happier. Psychotherapist Susan Zinn’s research shows there are three main components of happiness, satisfaction, engagement, and purpose.

There’s no denying that we could all be a little happier; especially given that recently the mental health of adolescents has been declared a national emergency which is worrisome. The covid-19 pandemic really took a toll on today’s youth; between March and October 2020, mental health emergencies rose 31% for ages 12-17.

Given this situation, let’s look at things we can incorporate into our daily lives to boost overall happiness.

Gratitude. In a study conducted by the University of California, a group of people was asked to write about things they were grateful for for 10 weeks while another group was asked to write about their daily annoyances. After the 10 weeks were over, the group who wrote about what they were grateful for had a more optimistic view of their life and felt much better about themselves.

Showing gratitude and appreciation in our daily lives directly correlates with feelings of happiness, scientifically proven. I encourage everyone reading this to stop and think about five things/people you’re grateful for. Want to see the effects of gratitude over time? Start a gratitude journal. Don’t just list your appreciation in one or two words, write one or two sentences for each, really think about why it is that you’re grateful for that person or that thing. Gratitude can not only improve your outlook on your life, but it can improve your relationships, and the happiness that comes from your gratefulness can even improve your physical health.

Kindness has also been proven to boost happiness. In a study done by researchers in Britain, people were asked to take a life satisfaction survey and then perform acts of kindness for the next 10 days. After those 10 days were up they took the survey once again which showed a significant boost in their levels of happiness. Not only do kind acts make you feel good in the moment, but they actually have an impact on your overall happiness, which is an amazing thing.

So show a little more kindness in your everyday life. Hold the door open for someone. Start a pay it forward chain at your favorite coffee shop. Give someone you love a compliment. Invite someone new to sit with you at lunch. Do something to cheer up your friend when they’re sad. Whether the action is big or small, it has an effect, and the effect is worth it.

Go out and practice more kindness. Incorporate gratitude into your life. It’s never too late to start, and the results will be well worth it.