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11 Proven Ways to Boost Your Happiness

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    Be Positive

    When Italian researchers measured happiness, people reported being happy 48 percent of the time. Then, when they told them to see things in a more positive light, the feeling of happiness rose 30 percentage points, according to the study in PLOS ONE. Obvious, sure. Motivating, definitely.

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    Stand Tall

    Want to be confident and happy? Face the world with your spine straight and shoulders back, says research published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

  • Get Moving

    Your thrice-weekly workout could ward off depression, according to a study in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers from University College London followed 11,135 people from birth to 50 years old and recorded their depressive symptoms and exercising habits. Turns out, sedentary people were more likely to be depressed than active people. In fact, risk of depression decreased 6 percent each time they worked out.

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    Have a Theme Song

    When you're about to face something unpleasant or that causes you a lot of anxiety, turn to music that moves you. Research out of McGill University found that listening to music that you identify with releases the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain. Rock on.

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    Share a Meal

    Those who share food may feel less depressed and have a better quality of life, suggests a study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging. When Japanese researchers followed 856 residents over age 65 in one community, they found that those who ate alone were significantly more depressed than their neighbors who broke bread with others. And when it came to being happy, 62 percent of the social eaters felt that way compared to the 58 percent of the singletons who did. Researchers concluded that this shows that simple interactions with family, friends, and neighbors can have a significant effect on mood and quality of life.

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    Eat Fruits and Vegetables

    Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been correlated to feeling greater happiness and life satisfaction, according to the British Journal of Health Psychology. This built upon a previous study done in 2013 that found on days when subjects ate seven to eight servings, they felt more positive about their well-being compared to days when they ate junk food. Plant foods are abundant in antioxidants many of which—such as B vitamins and carotenoids—are associated with better mood.

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    Make Out

    After questioning over 1,000 heterosexual couples about what makes them happy in their relationships, researchers reported that frequent kissing, cuddling, and sex, as well as caring about orgasm—their own and their partners—kept the couples satisfied. The study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

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    Daydream

    Upset people felt better when they daydreamed about their loved ones, according to Consciousness and Cognition. Researchers concluded that imagining others close to you may increase positive feelings.

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    Find Purpose

    Whether your spirituality manifests itself through religion, transcendental meditation, yoga, or volunteerism, research published in the Journal of Religion & Health concluded that people are happier when they have a sense of personal meaning and awareness of something higher than themselves.

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    Get Some Sleep

    Harvard researchers found that when you don't get enough sleep, your hippocampus—the part of the brain that processes positive thoughts—turns to the dark side. When researchers asked sleep-deprived college students to recall words, they could only remember 31 percent of the positive words and 81 percent of the negative words.

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    Smile!

    London researchers found that by just smiling, you—and those around you—will feel happier, according to their report in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.