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7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Make Yourself Happier

Want to be a happier person? You don't need to embark upon a massive life overhaul. You just need to learn a few simple tricks.

happy balloons 

(Photo Credit: karrienodalo/Flickr)

In a recent post on Buffer's blog, Belle Beth Cooper shared several ways to cheer yourself up. All are backed by scientific research, and most require very little effort.

1. Exercise.

Working out has been shown to be more effective at treating depression than medication in some studies. It's also been shown to improve our self image, even when we don't work out enough to actually change the appearance of our bodies.

2. Get more sleep.

Being sleep-deprived makes us more sensitive to negative emotions. Hey, it's as good an excuse for a nap as any.

3. Hang out with your friends.

Cooper quotes happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, who says, "We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends."

4. Go outside -- especially if it's nice out.

Twenty minutes outside when the weather is nice boosts mood and memory.

5. Shorten your commute.

Our commute -- the method we use, the time it takes -- has a tremendous effect on our happiness. Cut down on the time you spend getting to work, and you might enjoy your life a lot more, both at the office and outside of it.

6. Give back.

People who give 100 hours a year to helping others are happier than those who don't give back (and those who give to the point of exhaustion). This "magic number" of giving works out to about two hours a week -- not so much time that you won't be able to nap, exercise, and hang out with your friends, but enough so that you have a sense of perspective about your life and your ability to create positive change in the world.

7. Get older.

Finally, perhaps the best treatment for unhappiness is good old-fashioned tincture of time. Studies have shown that we tend to get happier as we age -- perhaps because we get better at putting ourselves in situations that make us happy.

Tell Us What You Think

What do you do to fight the blues? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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