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10 Science-Backed Ways to Be Happier Right Now

With everything going on in the world right now, we could all use a little boost. Here are 10 ways shown to be mood boosters, backed by science.

  1. Chug! … Water, of course. Did you know that being dehydrated can cause your dopamine and serotonin balances to misalign? By re-hydrating, you can restore your dopamine and serotonin balance and help your body and mood improve. If you’re curious about how this works, the Massachusetts Public Health Department released this article about how staying hydrated improves your mood.
  2. Think about three things you’re grateful for. Honestly, if you’re able to read this article, you probably have internet and a smartphone or computer, and that’s already a good start! Truly think on some aspects of your life that are going well or just simple moments that you’re grateful for. Both Harvard and Berkeley have proven this is a mood booster.
  3. Engage all of your senses. Look into the sky, are there some beautiful clouds? Do you hear any laughing or birds chirping? Do you smell something delicious? Engaging our senses can help ground us into reality and bring our heads back down to planet Earth. By getting our brains out of a negative cycle and noticing things around us, we break our negative thought pattern and engage in gratefulness. This boosts our mood greatly (see above!).
  4. Smile! Yes, we know it sounds corny, but it is actually a proven way to boost your mood. By engaging the smile-muscles in your face, you trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. The movement of these muscles creates a response in the brain that releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
  5. Have a real biiig stretch. Stretching, especially if you’ve been sitting at your desk for a while, will increase the blood flow to your muscles and brain. The increase in blood flow will help reinvigorate your mind and helps contribute to a cheerful mood.
  6. Take three deep breaths. This is a great exercise to do while you’re stretching. We have all heard the benefits of deep-breathing. The benefits of deep breaths are similar to those of stretching. The increase of oxygen to the brain will release endorphins, telling your brain that everything is okay and we can just relax.
  7. Call someone you love or spend time with a pet. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we lose sight of the things that are truly important to us: our loved ones. It can be easy to forget that love is the greatest gift of all. Call someone you love, have a chat with a neighbor, or hold your dog for a little. We know that spending time with loved ones can boost our mood, especially when those loved ones are our pets.
  8. Drink a cup of joe. Stanford University School of Medicine has found a connection between drinking coffee on a daily basis, improved mood, and greater age expectancy. Although scientists aren’t entirely sure of the reason the connection exists, it’s a pretty enjoyable way to boost your mood.
  9. Get some rays. Researchers have found that day to day levels of sunshine can have an important effect on our mood. According to a recent study by the Journal of Affective Disorders, patients reported less emotional distress during sunny days. If you can, sit near a window or get some fresh air outside. The rays from the sun on your skin will help increase those important chemicals we’ve been talking about! Winter can be a hard time to get the amount of sun you’d like, so you can give yourself a little boost with a Vitamin D or B supplement.
  10. Watch a cute animal on the internet. Come on, who doesn’t love those videos of unusual animal pairings? If you’re looking for a super smart dog that’s also really cute, you can watch Bunny the Sheepadoodle tell her mom about her day or tell on her friend Beacher for going potty on the back deck.

Dominique loves taking in the world around her and writing her thoughts on it. Avid library and coffee shop goer, she finds herself wandering city streets up and down the East Coast frequently. When she’s not photographing architecture, she’s probably eating or hiking with her dog, Russell.

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