10 ways to get happy

Katia Hetter | 3/23/2015, 6:25 a.m.
Happy people don't sit around waiting for good vibes to happen to them.

Stop hanging out on social media so much. People who spend more time on Facebook and other social media report lower self-esteem, less connection to others, fewer positive emotions and even more homesickness (for college students), said Timothy Bono, assistant dean and lecturer in psychology at Washington University. "Social media also evokes upward social comparison, often leaving us feeling worse about ourselves," he said.

Stop checking your email. People who check their email all the time are more stressed than people who check their email just three times daily, according to a recent study. We know it's hard to do. "People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress," said Kostadin Kushlev, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia's Department of Psychology, in a statement.

Focus on time, not money. Although people typically focus on money, marketing professor Cassie Mogilner has found that that focusing on time often helps people realize that time is a precious resource. That knowledge helps them be more deliberate in how they spend it. "This leads people to spend their time in ways that are more fulfilling and that make them happier, like connecting with the people in their lives," said Mogilner, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Lose yourself in your activities. Do you remember the time you "lost" yourself because you were having so much fun playing tennis, gardening, sailing, learning a new musical instrument, woodworking or baking the perfect pie? Increase the number of opportunities to "lose" yourself in a new or old activity that occupies your brain and body.

Embrace failure. Failing is way to learn what doesn't work before we learn what does work. People who succeed often fail many times before they succeed. "Success requires acquiring experiences and learning lessons," Bono said. "Very often, the best way, and sometimes the only way, to acquire that experience and learn those lessons is through failure: trying things one way, realizing what doesn't work and then making the appropriate changes."

If it makes you happy to share, please let us know the ways you used these tools on social media using the #gethappy hashtag.