Tons of money is spent each year on research, but much of it never sees the light of day outside the academic community. Here is a list of 6 recent studies all focused on giving you a simple way to get happier. With all this data, at the very least, you can feel upbeat that all these smart people are working hard to perk up your mood.
1. Walk like you're happy.
A recent study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry determined that if you walk like a happy person you will feel like a happy person. By contrast if you walk with your head down and a cloud over your head, your mood will reflect that same gloominess. If you are unclear how to walk happy you may want to check in with the ministry of silly walks.
2. Sit upright.
Apparently, if you are already feeling depressed, you need to lift yourself up physically. German researchers published a study in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy earlier this year. They found that depressed people who sit upright, recall fewer negative words than depressed people who slump.
3. Strike up a conversation.
A 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General found that starting your day mingling with strangers gives you a boost. They studied commuters who had social conversations on trains, buses, taxi cabs and in waiting rooms compared with those told to remain disconnected. The minglers appeared to report greater well-being. So there is another good reason to carpool.
4. Get to know your Barista.
The University of British Columbia published a study in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science, in which two groups at Starbucks were randomly assigned. One group was told to create a genuine connection with the barista using eye contact, smiles or some chat. The other was instructed to be brief and impersonal with the barista. The socialites consistently said they had a more upbeat mood and a better Starbucks experience than those who just ordered, picked up and left. Maybe you can finally figure out why they just don't say small, medium and large.
5. Pair up your weirdest friends.
This year, there was a series of four studies published in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science. They examined over 100 college students who like to play matchmaker. Apparently after making matches in a laboratory setting they got a real mood boost. The boost was even higher when the match was odd and unlikely. Of course, if you are single you can always start with yourself.
6. Drop chocolate for a week.
It's been a long-held belief that chocolate enhances mood. Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, an associate psychology professor at the University of British Columbia co-authored a study to dig a little deeper. She measured initial reactions to chocolate in three groups. Then she told one group to avoid chocolate for a week and encouraged another group to eat all they wanted. She set up a control group who had no instructions. After a week, each group came back and she measured their responses when eating more chocolate. Dr. Dunn stated these results.
"People who gave up chocolate for a week were the only ones who basically savored the chocolate as much and got as much positive affect from it the second time as they had the first,"