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5 Research-Backed Methods To Instantly Boost Your Mood

By Ryan Munsey

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"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar

Why is this true? Why doesn't motivation last?

Why can we go to Tony Robbins conference on Saturday, get fired up, and then be back down below baseline by the next Friday?

Why, despite our best intentions, do we struggle to stay motivated, happy, and in positive moods?

According to this poll, only 1 in 3 Americans are "very happy".

More than 20.9 million people suffer from some type of mood disorder, (about 9.5% of the US) with the average age of onset being 30.

Our recent podcasts with Tait Fletcher on depression and Charlie Hoehn on playing away anxiety prompted tremendous feedback.

Thanks to your demand, here are 5 research-backed "happiness hacks" you can use to instantly boost your mood. 

This picture made you smile, didn't it?

Listen to the podcast here - or skip straight to the 5 happiness booster and the research below.

5 Research-Backed Methods To Increase Happiness

1. Get Outside

This report shows that our brains produce more of the feel-good hormone serotonin on sunny day than on cloudy days, linking sunshine and mood.

This study also linked sun exposure to positive moods.

This study linked decreased sun exposure to decreases in Vitamin D and increases in depression.

This study linked sun exposure to endorphin release and healthy immune systems.

Time in nature, aka the Great Outdoors, increases happiness.

According to this study at Stanford University:

  1. City dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety disorders and a 40 percent higher risk of mood disorders as compared to people in rural areas.
  2. Subjects who spent 90 minutes in nature showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

Time outdoors is so powerful that a single 20-minute walk in nature improves mental performance.

Simply looking at nature pictures improves mental performance.

2. Move More

Sedentary behaviors are linked to depression.

Chinese researchers found that sedentary people were 25% more likely to experience feelings of depression.

Sedentary lifestyles do not actively promote the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for fear, mood and anxiety. 

Sedentary lifestyles compromise normal, healthy physiological function.

3. Socialize

Humans are social animals.

People who spend 6-8 hours a day socializing are 12X more likely to be happy.

We even have a special "love hormone", oxytocin that we release around other people. (Interestingly, autistic people may not "experience this reward' in social situations, possibly explaining why they do not enjoy socialization.)

Even introverts are happier with social interaction.

A study at the University of Rochester advises that we form more relationships in our 20's and form deeper relationships in our 30's.

This study at UCLA concluded that social interaction "has effects on the body that are more powerful than cigarette smoking [...] The magnitude is very strong.”

Contrary to what comedians tell you, this study found that married people tend to be 10% happier than single people.

4. Ditch Social Media

We spend 116 minutes on social media every day. 4 minutes shy of 2 hours, this adds up to 5 years and 4 months of our lives.

More time on Facebook has been linked to increases in depressive symptoms.

This study found an extra hour daily online increased children's unhappiness by 14%.

This report links social media usage to a 1.7-2.7X increase in depression rates.

Forgetting the links to depression, do you start each day with the goal to spend 2 hours on social media? Do you want to spend 5 years of your life watching other people live their lives - or would you rather spend it living your own?

5. Ditch What Drains You

The things we do either give us energy or take energy from us.

Identify these sources of stress in your life and seek to minimize the amount of time you allow them to occupy in your schedule.

Instead, seek to spend more time in pursuit of the things that energize you - your passion, your true calling.

After all, happiness is the ability to pursue a calling.

Don't chase happiness. Chase your true purpose. And remember, we're not entitled to the fruit of our labor, only the labor itself.

Listen to the whole podcast for more science and strategies to implement these tactics into your daily life:

Watch the video here:

Links & Resources:

Tait Fletcher on Depression: Episode #100 & #101

Charlie Hoehn on Playing Away Anxiety

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