How To Be Happy In Life: 20 Joyful Things To Do In A Day

how to be happy single

How to be happy in life using science, in 2020 and beyond?

Frankly, no one knows for now as the world battles on with a pandemic. But honestly, the best shot you can have at happiness in this new life is starting with the following three scientific truths about happiness.

What are the three truths about happiness from science?

  1. You do not need to postpone present happiness for future happiness.
  2. You can be happy by purposefully doing things that make you happy.
  3. Your happiness depends more on you and your actions than things outside you.

Science of Happiness

We know that happiness is not the mere absence of sadness or other negative feelings. We also know that human happiness is not all about smiles and laughter.

The Science of Happiness never advises us to ignore human sufferings and psychological disorders. Instead, it encourages us to adopt healthy practices that can boost our optimism, resilience, life-satisfaction, and joy.

How is positive psychology related to the science of happiness?

Positive psychology is a relatively newer branch of psychology that studies wellbeing, happiness, strengths, resilience, positivity, and optimism. Because its experts study the optimal human functioning, positive psychology is commonly known as the science of happiness or the science of flourishing.

What types of experiences pay the biggest happiness dividends?

Studies in the field of science of happiness inform us that strong social connections (friends, family, children, parents, relatives, colleagues) play the biggest role in making and keeping us happier.

In fact, our friends give us the most happiness among all our social relationships.

How much of your happiness is within your conscious control?

According to studies carried out by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon, and others, we control about forty percent of our happiness. To find out more about it, read this definitive post: The Happiness Formula.

The science of happiness says we can not find lasting happiness, that is happiness that lasts forever. Our happiness levels change from hour to hour in our everyday life.

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the study of positive human characteristics as strength, resilience, wellbeing, and optimal functioning. The goal of positive psychology is to make people happier by understanding and building positive emotions, life satisfaction, and meaning.

In simple words, positive psychology may be called the scientific study of happiness, wellbeing, and positivity. In essence, the positive psychologists study and research every human aspect that makes life most worth living.

Is psychology a positive science?

Traditionally, psychology has been the focus of the study of the dysfunctions and impaired conditions of the human mind. It mainly concerns itself with what is wrong with the mind and its processes, as behavior and thoughts.

To balance the field of psychology, Martin Seligman and his colleagues started the positive psychology movement in 1998.

The newer branch of psychology, called positive psychology, centers around feelings of authentic happiness as flow, and other positive emotions, that help people thrive. Positive psychology is about the good life, the positive experiences, the positive individual traits, and positive institutions that help people flourish.

So, psychology in the traditional sense has not been a positive science. On the other hand, the new science of positive psychology is, for the most part, a positive science.

Positive psychology is the science of happiness. More specifically, positive psychology is about focusing on … love, happiness, strength, and virtues.

— Tal Ben-Shahar

Positive psychology is not ‘positivity’ — it is authentic science, based on experiments and research. And, this new science does not intend to replace the traditional psychology but rests soundly within the field of psychology.

How helpful is positive psychology?

Positive psychology is helpful and effective. Some of its key findings are:

  1. Happy people make good things happen. And happiness is a reason for good things in life and a precursor to success and good outcomes.
  2. Happiness, good relationships, and strengths of character shield against the harmful effects of failures and setbacks.
    3.For a satisfying life, a life of meaning (eudaimonia) outdoes a life of pleasure
    (hedonism).
  3. Good days are marked by a feeling of autonomy, competency, and connection to others.
  4. The principles of a good life can be learned and taught.

Positive psychology is concerned with three issues: positive emotions, positive traits, and positive institutions.

At any point, however, this branch of psychology does not involve ignoring the problems people face.

Positive psychology does not ask people to flaunt fake smiles while imploring them to be just happy. It does not deny the existence of hardships. What positive psychology does tell us is when we encounter challenges, we do not need to be unprepared for the trial ahead.

It can train us, via positive psychology interventions, to be more resilient, courageous, and optimistic, so that we can meet adversity with courage and contemplation.

To find out how positive psychology can train coaches to help their clients, check out these links that list the university courses on Applied Positive Psychology and MOOCs on Happiness And Wellbeing.

happiness in life is inside us

Why Are You Unhappy In Life

Let’s try to get an idea about why and how you do not need to sacrifice your present happiness for a life of future joy.

First, why any routine advice does not work for solving the question of “how to be happy in life?”

The all-too-common idea about getting a happier life is plain wrong: When you get to your goals, you’ll find happiness — you do NOT.

So, when you buy a large and beautiful home, bring home a big luxury car, get to an income of a million bucks a year, or marry the most desirable person in your city — your life will be happy.

But that famous idea doesn’t work in real life. Reaching your goals doesn’t guarantee lasting happiness in life. Look around, and you will find many who pushed themselves to realize their life goals to become happy but did not become so.

Why chasing and reaching goals do not make you happy?

You may find an answer to that if you take a note of these:

  • When you say you’ll be happy in life once you marry, then you might mean to say that you can’t be satisfied as long as you’re single.
  • When you announce your life will fill up with happiness once you meet your financial goal, then you might mean to say that you can’t be happy until you’re money-rich.
  • When you tell others you’ll make yourself happy once you move into a big house, then you might mean to say that you can’t be happy while living in your small home.

Do you know, in a study, around 50% of the people said traveling gives them more positive feelings than what they had had on their most momentous day — their wedding day? In the same study, 50% also said they think holidays are more vital to their happiness than landing a dream job.

So, while they were saying holidays make them happier than their wedding day or their dream job, they were essentially also saying that they can’t be merry unless they go on a holiday.

What’s wrong there? It’s this:

I’ll be happy once I reach that goal. Till then, it’s okay for me to stay unhappy.

When you always think on those lines, it makes your current life unhappy.

When you pursue a critically positive change in your life — success, money, love, spouse, kids, accolades, position — you often fall back into thinking that once it happens, it will start an unending spell of happiness.

With that line of thinking, what you wrongly tell yourself is this: Success will replace my unhappiness with happiness.

But can your success delete your sadness?

No — that’s the answer, and you already know it. Whatever it is you’re doing for your future happiness, it has become the cause of your present unhappiness.

If you’re not happy to begin with, success won’t make you any happier.

Because you’ve tied your reasons to be happy in life to your successes, but goals and success are things outside yourself. You can’t fully control them. Therefore your plans to control your happiness also fall flat.

So, why do you want to postpone your happiness until success enters your life? Why do you choose to be unhappy now?

Success will not automatically replace your misery with joy.

How Can You Be Happier In Life

Know this — you can stop waiting for happiness tomorrow and get happy today. We know for sure now, as science has shown, we can control a sizeable chunk of our present happiness.

Research says you can control about 40% of your total happiness in life by intentionally doing certain activities. These happiness-raising activities are called happiness interventions. When you do them on purpose, you increase your present levels of happiness.

You need not stay unhappy until you realize a future life-goal that promises you boundless happiness. You can be happy in your life now — as we tell you today — and also in the future. So why throw away your chance to be happy now for a distant goal?

Happiness is easy, so why make it hard to get your hands on?

We talk about that today: how to be happy in life using science? You can hack your way to genuine happiness with these 20 factual tips drawn from research in positive psychology.

However, the best thing about this post is we have organized these happiness hacks in such a unique way so you could carry out these 20 activities all in a single day. You may find it nowhere else on the internet.

So, choose a day in your life to get happier and follow this guide. We promise you will not be disappointed.

As we bring you these twenty authentic happiness hacks, we promise if you apply even a few of these to your day, it will make you decidedly happier. And remember, these strategies have scientific backing.

So, let us plan a near-perfect day of happiness — and be happy for a day, on a day of our choice. We have designed the right plan for you here, for all in a day’s work.

But wait, why do we need a plan? Because happiness comes more from our actions than anything else. Lasting happiness comes from activities we choose to do, so says science, rather than appearing out of thin air. 

Happiness is an action word — that is, you have to take action to be happier.

We can’t stress this enough — happiness is a skill that can be learned and honed. And you must train yourself to be happy because it can help you live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Now, here is your complete guide: How To Be Happy In Life (In 2020 And Beyond).

How To Be Happy In Life: 20 Things To Do

In this article, we selected 20 happiness-increasing activities from positive psychology and arranged them in a way so you could do them all in a day.

Here are 20 activities from the Science of Happiness to become happier:

  1. Wake up naturally
  2. Smile the first thing
  3. Go for some exercise
  4. Take an aromatic shower
  5. Do some mindfulness meditation
  6. Take this breakfast, this way
  7. Pick up a book to read
  8. Pledge to uni-task today
  9. Eat a colored lunch
  10. Take an afternoon nap
  11. Phone up some friends
  12. Meet some real-life friends
  13. Spend on social activities
  14. Go back home happy
  15. Give hugs (to those you know)
  16. Dine leisurely
  17. Express gratitude
  18. Do The 3 Good Things
  19. Go to sleep early
  20. Drink water
20 Happiness Hacks In A Day

How To Be Happy: Preparing For A Happy Day

All the activities you find here about how to be happy in a day have backing from the science of positive psychology.

Zero in on a day when you’ll not have any traveling or heavy lifting to do. Preferably, fix a day when you’re on holiday from work.

Now, put up three reminders to your D-day — 48 hours before, 24 hours before, and the night before. This is spaced-repetition. It chisels an event into your memory.

You may mark and sync your phone and laptop calendars, and even put up a sticky note on your mirror.

Now, pre-plan your the day of happiness as follows:

  1. Ten hours: You would need around 10 hours for completing all these happiness activities in a day. Hey, happiness takes time!
  2. Action time: You should ready yourself to be active. Happiness is in essence a verb – that is, you work for your happiness.
  3. Friends: Check the availability of a few friends – just 2 to 3.
  4. Notebook: A paper notebook or a note-taking app.
  5. Sleep early: Sign off the previous day early and go to bed in a way so you get around 8 hours of sleep. Leave the morning alarm off.

• Tip: Right after reading this, look into the calendar on your phone and mark a day for that one happy day.

How To Be Happy In Life: 10 Things To Do In First Half

These are the 10 happiness activities scheduled for the first half of your day of happiness:

1. Wake Up Naturally

how-to-be-happy-in-life-barbara-taeger
Be Happy: Wake Up Naturally

Just wake up whenever your biorhythm wakes you up, with no alarms to jolt you rudely out of your slumber. When you wake up after a full night of sleep, you wake up rested and energized.

We talk more about the happiness effects of sleep science in hack #19.

The first thing to do is declare to yourself it’s your happy day. Do this while you stretch out your arms and legs, breathe in big swirls of air, and noisily breathe out the carbon-dioxide laden air from your lungs. Large gulps of oxygen feed up the brain fast and freshen up your mood.

Belly-breathing is a practical method of relaxing yourself on short notice. Several studies show deep, slow breathing practice is effective against anxiety and insomnia. These breathing techniques have both physiological (via the vagus or the wandering nerve) as well as psychological (via distraction from worrying thought cycles) effect.

Now, get a big glass of water to hydrate yourself. Why? Because dreams are active parts of your sleep, and you lose body water as sweat during your REM sleep.

OK, let the happy day roll out now.

2. Smile The First Thing

Announce cheerfully to yourself and everyone else around in your home, and even to the mirror:

Good Morning! Today is my happy day!”

Smile up, because the play-face antics of your facial muscles ask your brain (scientists call it facial feedback) to make you look more relaxed and more attractive socially.

Though there are about 18 different types of smiles, science says only one of them reflects genuine happiness – the Duchenne smile. It involves pulling up the zygomatic major muscles raising the corners of the mouth and drawing up the orbicularis oculi muscle causing crow’s feet around the eyes.

New research that combed through 50 years of data shows when we smile, we feel happier — even if we were under stress at that point.

• Tip: Science apart, here’s some spiritual motivation to smile:

Sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen monk

3. Go For Some Exercise

First thing on exercise: If you’re healthier, you tend to be happier. And if you are happier, you tend to be healthier. It works both ways.

So, go for a bout of exercise now – a brisk walk, a jog, a session of jumping jacks, whatever. Warm-up slowly, and pound on for 20 minutes before cooling out.

Exercise jolts your body into a mode of threat-perception. And this releases four brain chemicals that make an excitement surge through your body:

  1. adrenaline
  2. serotonin
  3. dopamine
  4. BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)

Even 7 minutes of exercise (30 seconds each of 12 exercises, and 1 minute of rest in between two) can be enough to boost your happiness.

7-minute workout routine

Research shows those who exercise feel more positive about their bodies, even when they found no actual change in their physique or any weight loss.

Exercise puts the body in a threat-perception mode, and releases 4 neurotransmitters in the brain that refresh us. Click To Tweet

After exercise, as you are cooling down, we bet you can’t help feeling a calm and refreshed mood coming over you. It is because the neurons inside the memory center of your brain (hippocampus) get reset.

• Tip: If you decide to walk or jog for exercise, we suggest you go out in a forest or a park with big trees.

Japanese researchers have discovered trees release chemicals called phytoncides (wood essential oils) that increase our natural killer cell activity and make us more immune to diseases.

Called forest therapy or forest-bathing or shinrin-yuku, walking in a forest with large trees also helps reduce stress and blood pressure, and makes us happier.

4. Take An Aromatic Shower

Come back home to have a bath with your favorite scented shower gel.

Our favorite aromas have pleasant olfactory memories associated with them. A rehash of those aromas replays those memories in our minds. It takes us back to that earlier-felt blissful state.

Research says another thing of interest:

Happiness has a smell that others can detect. We can transfer our joys.

The research indicates we produce chemical compounds, or chemosignals, when we experience happiness. And these chemicals can be detected by others who smell our sweat. In the experiment, women who smelled the “happy sweat” displayed the “Duchenne smile” — reflecting the face of a person who is genuinely happy.

So, scientists are essentially saying that smelling a sweat-soaked T-shirt of a happy person may make you happy. As humans, we can transfer our positive emotions, like joy, via the smell of our sweat.

If you’re happy, another person may become happier by smelling your happiness.

5. Do Some Mindfulness Meditation

Now it’s time for a quick 10-minute session of mindfulness meditation.

10-Minute Meditation For Beginners

Mindfulness has immediate brain effects. GABA is an anti-anxiety chemical that gets released in the brain while practicing meditation or yoga. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found there is a 27% increase in GABA levels after an hour of yoga.

Mindfulness can also literally change your brain over time. MRI brain scans reveal a practice of mindfulness can shrink the grey matter in the amygdala – a region in the brain that processes anger, fear, and sadness, and regulates stress.

Mindfulness can enlarge the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in the frontal cortex of your brain – a part responsible for higher cognitive functions as decision-making, problem-solving, and self-regulation.

Meditators also show increased activity in the hippocampus – the regulator of emotions, motivation, learning, and memory.

Mindfulness meditation practice not only calms you down and helps you stay in the moment longer, but research shows it is also one of the most effective ways to achieve a happier life. It grows compassion, acceptance, and self-awareness.

Simple steps to practice mindfulness — Sit down in a comfortable pose, take easy breaths, and pay attention to your breath flowing in and out. There will be distracting thoughts that take your focus away – take them on board, and then let them go. Then bring back your attention to your breathing.

• Tip: If you’re looking to learn how to start a practice of mindfulness quickly, here’s one compact, neat guide: Mindfulness in 7 Steps.

6. Take This Breakfast, This Way

Get on your plate a mix of high-fiber solids and low-sugar liquids. Pay full attention to the food you are eating, noticing the texture, taste, and tease of the morsels.

Eat your food in a mindful, sensual, and engaging way. Avoid watching your phone or television screens, or newspapers while eating. If you want to find out the science behind it, see this: 20 Finest Tips To Practice Mindful Eating.

• Tip: Add a cup of green-tea to load up on antioxidants – the killers of carcinogenic free-radicals.

7. Pick Up A Book To Read

Pick up a long-neglected book, and leave home for the nearest cafe to find yourself a comfortable seat. Research says you can focus better in a crowded cafe than at home (Coffee Shop Effect).

Before you dive into your book, turn off the internet on your phone. If you are to pull out your mobile with every notification alert to check out what it is for, then you are priming yourself for stressing up.

Every time you get a notification from your phone, there’s a little elevation in dopamine that says you might have something that’s compelling.

— David Greenfield, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

• Tip: Do not leave your mobile back home. Because, other than for reasons of emergency, most of us have nomophobia — the fear of having no mobile phone with us.

8. Pledge To Uni-task Today

Uni-tasking is doing one thing at a time, whereas multitasking is doing many things together. Uni-tasking is a highly effective strategy to keep yourself away from distress and disquiet.

So, take a pledge and promise yourself you will not multitask all day long today.

Multitasking actually divides your attention throughout your activities. It creates a build-up of stress. Clifford Nass, a cognitive scientist at Stanford University, found that high-multitasking people have more social problems than low-multitasking people in their group.

Experts speculate multi-taskers face trouble paying attention to people.

• Tip: So, uni-task — do one task at a time. Read more about this in this excellent book by Cal Newport: Deep Work.

Why the Human Brain Can't Multitask
High-multitasking people have more social problems than low-multitasking people in their group. Click To Tweet

9. Eat A Colored Lunch

Two things of note here – one, make most of the lunch with your favorite colored salads; and two, use plates that contrast the food. Color can alter your perception of how hungry you are. Charles Spence, the Oxford psychologist, says,

People will wolf down more from a mixed bowl than they will from a bowl full of their favorite color alone.

Nutritionists will have a much more comprehensive say in planning your food for a happy day, so you better let them, the experts, to design a diet chart for the day.

• Tip: Eat food with colors that stand out against the plate color. A study from Cornell University showed you eat more when your food color matches the plate, as against contrasting colors.

10. Take An Afternoon Nap

Take a nap — it has many benefits. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a quick nap of 20–30 minutes “for improved alertness and performance without… interfering with night-time sleep.”

A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%. Even Google allows its employees an afternoon nap — they have nap-pods installed at their offices.

Research shows when you don’t take a nap in the day, you become extra-sensitive to negative emotions like anger or fear. By the way, do you know what’s the best nap length?

• Tip: However, remember to keep your nap just around the recommended time of 20-30 minutes, as more would cause grogginess, scientifically called sleep inertia.

How To Be Happy In Life: 10 Things To Do In Second Half

These are the next 10 happiness activities, scheduled for the second half of your day of happiness:

11. Phone Up Some Friends

Phone up friends to be happy
Phone Up Some Friends

Up from nap, call up a few friends or relatives you haven’t caught up with for a long time, perhaps years.

Happiness is contagious.

Happy friends increase our happiness by 15.3%, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal in Dec 2008, by Harvard University researchers Fowler and Christakis.

Research says #Happiness is contagious. Happy friends increase our happiness by 15%. Click To Tweet

12. Meet Some Real-Life Friends

After this, it’s time to find a few (1–2) friends in your area – for a meetup this evening. The Fowler and Christakis study also found a happy friend who lives within a half-mile makes you 42% more likely to be happy yourself. The reason: face-to-face interaction.

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.

— Daniel Gilbert, Positive Psychologist

George Eman Vaillant, a professor at Harvard University, and a pioneer in the study of adult development, once said:

That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.

Vaillant’s most famous quote summing up the 20-million-dollar, 75-year-long Grant study is this — in just five words:

Happiness is love. Full stop.

13. Spend On Social Activities

Spend some money and take your friends out for a treat – movie or a game or a drink. This has a solid foundation in positive psychology. In their research-based book Happy Money, Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton show that for happiness, the most satisfying thing you can do with your money is to spend it on someone else other than you.

You can donate to a charity or buy lunch for a friend — it lets you connect with others as well as make an impact upon the world.

Helping others not only makes you happier but also helps you live longer and healthier.

Those who helped their friends and neighbors, and advised others and cared for them, the Terman study of the Gifted found, lived to old age.

• Tip: If you really want to know the ultimate truth behind the relationship between money and happiness, based on scientific research, read this.

14. Go Back Home Happy

It’s time to go home. It’s been a happy day, and you’re going to carry the spirit back home. Buy small gifts (perhaps chocolate) for everyone there. If you’re partnered, get a special gift for them — perhaps flowers. Remember, by doing this, you’re spreading the contagion of happiness.

While on your way back, play in your mind some happy memories with your family – a holiday, a date, a get-together. Happy memories release serotonin – the ‘confidence chemical’ – which creates a sense of belonging.

how to be happy in a day

• Tip: On your way back, listen to some cheerful music.

15. Give Hugs (To Those You Know)

Have you heard about the ‘cuddle chemical’ – oxytocin? It is a hormone linked to social bonding that helps foster trust and loyalty. Oxytocin triggers the bond between a mother and an infant, and it may also play a role in recognition, arousal, pleasure, trust, love, and anxiety.

Hugs release oxytocin — the cuddle molecule or love hormone — that helps us bond, feel joy, and sense pleasure.

If you’re single and alone, you could hug a teddy bear, a Mickey mouse dress-up, or even a pillow.

Scientists have correlated high levels of oxytocin with romantic bonds.

Studies show if something separates a couple for long periods, it reduces their oxytocin levels and drives the feeling of longing to bond with that person again.

A hug lowers your blood pressure and helps you loosen up if you’re feeling anxious. A hug lowers the levels of your cortisol, also called the stress hormone.

A hug can make you feel safer and increase your sense of belonging towards others — your friends, your family, and even strangers — and make your life more meaningful.

Researchers found hugs act as buffers against the damaging effects of mood changes when people are going through conflicts. A good hug can help you sail through your day with calm. Even if you were to get into an argument later in the day, the positive effect of an earlier hug stays on.

So, when you reach home, share warm hugs and cuddles. Ask your partner, “How was your day?” and listen intently.

Express admiration, appreciation, and affection… The happiest partnerships are also strong friendships.

— Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky

• Tip: However, remember to make each hug last for at least 20 seconds. That’s the right duration, as per science, to make someone and yourself happier by hugging, any day.

Hugs for at least 20 seconds each releases oxytocin, the cuddle molecule – to make your day happy! Click To Tweet
how to be happy give hugs
How To Be Happy: Give Hugs

16. Dine Leisurely

For dinner time, let’s keep the instructions short here. Make your dinner an hour-long stretched out affair, having a relaxed conversation, sharing fun stories from the day.

This insight comes from many studies on the French and Mediterranean eating patterns which form the basis of their healthy hearts.

17. Express Gratitude

The fourth-last happiness activity on our list here, without which a lot of what you did for your day of happiness would pass by without any meaning: Express gratitude.

In his book Even Happier, the author Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, writes,

I have been doing this exercise daily since September 19, 1999… When we make a habit of gratitude, we no longer require a special event to make us happy. We become more aware of good things that happen to us during the day, as we anticipate putting them on our list.

Gratitude has three parts:
1. Appreciation (to value it)
2. Expression (to say it)
3. Goodwill (to feel it)

One key point is to remain mindful through each of these phases.

• Tip: Whenever you thank someone, do so with genuineness. It will make you as well as them happier.

18. Do The Three Good Things

This is a writing exercise for increasing your good feelings. Write three good things for which you are grateful for on that day.  Help yourself by revisiting the experiences vividly in your mind.

Robert Emmons, one of the best-known researchers on gratitude, reminds us grateful people tend to be happier, more energetic, more hopeful, and feel more positive emotions.

• Tip: If you need a primer, catch the shortest guide to three good things here.

Three-Good-Things-For-Happiness
Three Good Things For Happiness

19. Go To Sleep Early

Sleep is crucial for your happiness. When you sleep less, your hippocampus (the seat of pleasant and neutral memories in your brain) starts acting erratically. As a result, your sleep-deprived brain tends to recall less of positive memories, and more of dark memories.

So, sleep well, for at least 6 hours. Better make it full 8 hours.

Beware, sleeping less than 4 hours a day can lower your optimism levels. Experts have correlated sleep problems with 40 times higher rates of depression.

If you’re interested, Dreamland is a fine book by David K. Randall on the science of sleep.

• Tip: If you or someone you know has a troublesome relationship with sleep, you can check out the best sleep science hacks here.

20. Drink Water

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning on waking up. Then keep drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day.

An OnePoll study of 2,000 Americans found 67% of those who drank “more than enough” water, they marked themselves “very happy” compared to those who did not drink enough water. Also, this second class of participants was less likely to say they were “very happy” (21%).

A study showed a mere 1.5 percent loss of normal body fluid volume can cause fatigue, anxiety, headaches, difficulty to remember, difficulty concentrating, and an unwillingness to take up challenging tasks.

Happiness 2020: Afterthought In A Pandemic

When we wrote this back in the early days of December 2019, we titled this How To Be Happy In Life: 20 Scientific Happiness Hacks For 2020. We had no idea then that a novel Coronavirus would change the entire world into such an uncertain and anxious place in 2020.

It happened so fast. Within a couple of months, the entire world was in lockdown and quarantine. No one could have foreseen this likeness of a post-apocalyptic earth spill out of fiction into the present reality.

It feels downright scary to think our world today looks so much like the scenes from those apocalyptic movies we could only watch with our beliefs suspended. A re-watch of one of those, the 2011’s Contagion, now leaves us shaken as we match the eerie similarities.

The days of the week seem to have lost all meaning. A cloak of doom hangs heavy all around, as we remain vaguely vigilant of some bad news we could relate to breaking any hour.

Each day, as we are shut into our homes, we find worries mounting, sleep going haywire, our ability to think straight disappearing. Our inner voice refuses to stop its chatter, and we have begun to talk to plants and walls to cast out some of it.

2020 is turning out to be the most challenging year ever for the whole of humanity. None of us know what our world will turn out into when we get over this Corona (COVID-19) pandemic.

Our medics are fighting the toughest battle of their lives, as we count the rising number of deaths across the countries. It’s so darn hard to imagine right now if we could ever have a normal, happy day again. In these times, it’s plain impossible to be happy for an entire day.

No, this is not a promise that these activities would thrill you out or make you deliriously happy. No, because the world isn’t the same anymore.

But you could try, as we all could, to do a few of these happiness-boosting exercises and see how we fare.

Final Words

We get it. Happiness has been a lot of work throughout your day. Just to put in a word of encouragement from an expert positive psychologist:

Pursuing happiness takes work, but consider that this ‘happiness work’ may be the most rewarding work you’ll ever do.

— Sonja Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness)

Well, that completes our idea of living a day of happiness based on scientific findings from positive psychology research. Do you know there’s a happiness formula?

• Tip: Now you’ve completed your 20 happiness tasks in a day, finish it up by going to your mirror, and giving it another smile.

If you follow these all in a day, you can have the happiest day in your life. Because these strategies are all backed by science, and proven by scientists to work to increase your happiness. Though all these can be done in a day, you could also pick out a few from the list for a day.

And if you are daring enough, you could dive into planning and living a full day of happiness.

Take it up as your 1-day happiness challenge. If you like it, you can keep adding more days of happiness later in the year.

We have missed out on many things, as we presumed one can not possibly cover over 20 happiness activities in a day. So, we ask you to fill in those gaps with your ideas on how to be happy.

One of the vital qualities to have for happiness is self-compassion. Learn how you can cultivate and grow your self-compassion.

What do you think we missed?

Share your ideas on social networks, telling your friends what we could have done better.

One last thing. At the cost of sounding preachy, we repeat what we said in the beginning. A great truth to carry around is:

Once you find your happiness, know for sure it won’t be an endless run. You will worry again, you will stress again, you will face challenges again, and you will be unhappy again.

What you can do is willfully working at your happiness. You just have to pick up a few of these twenty activities any day in your life, or even every day, and help yourself get happier.

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FAQs

Can a single person use this guide to get happier?

Yes, of course. If you’re single, you can certainly use this guide to be happy. None of these twenty hacks make any distinction based on whether you are single or live with a partner.

Can a person living alone use this guide to make themselves happier?

If you live alone, can you employ these hacks to get happy? Yes, you can be strongly happy alone, if you have at least one friend to use the full power of hack number 12. But even if you don’t have that option at this time, then you can use all others to be happy yourself, skipping the 12th one.

Can this be useful for me if I’m already happy?

Yes, of course. Why is it important to try to be happier when you’re already happy? Because happiness has its advantages. You can act on these hacks to make yourself happier. So, why wouldn’t you?

Can I use this to get my happiness back?

If you’re not happy and do not feel like doing anything to be happy, is this useful? Yes. Happiness is practically more of an action word, scientists confirm. You can raise your happiness by up to 40% if you carry out these happiness activities.

Can I use this to be happy all the time?

If your question is “How can I always smile, and be happy and positive?” – then sorry to break the news to you. You can not be happy all the time. You will find happiness in your life only in bursts of time, never in a continuous run.

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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy – medical doctor, psychology writer, happiness researcher. Founder of Happiness India Project, and chief editor of its blog. He writes popular-science articles on positive psychology and related medical topics.


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