Happy people plan actions,

they don’t plan results.

Denis Waitley

What makes you happy?

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of fascinating studies done to try to figure out what makes people happy, and how other people can tap into that “happiness factor” for themselves. If you’re wondering how you could increase your happiness, here are some simple strategies that have been suggested based on research.

1. Give to others more often. Research has clearly shown that people who give even a small amount of money, tend to be happier than those who spend money only on themselves.

Even more fascinating is that when researchers evaluated how people who buy for themselves feel, it was discovered that purchasing new items had no real lasting beneficial effect on one’s happiness. Perhaps the reason you feel the need to go shopping so often is that, no matter what you buy or how much stuff you own, it isn’t really doing anything for you, or filling a need. Buying things does not actually make you happy.

2. Have an adventure. When you’re younger, go for some excitement, find an adventure. Young people often reported their definition of happiness as “excitement.”

3. Increasing peace. As you continue to age gracefully, you should be striving more peacefulness. As people age, they indicated that happiness means having a “peaceful” life.

4. Get some exercise. A Harvard study looked at people in their 50s and found that those who exercised regularly were generally happier when they were re-evaluated again at age 80, than those who didn’t exercise.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. In this same Harvard study, weight was also a factor that could either boost or decrease your level of happiness. Those who are overweight or underweight seemed to experience less happiness than those who keep their weight in the average range.

6. BFFs. Spend time often with your best friend. Go out and do things with your friends frequently or just hang out together. Having strong social supports will increase your happiness. Try it. Go ahead and call them right now for an immediate boost to your mood.

7. Meditate. According to the National Institute of Health, the NIH, people who meditate regularly improve levels of happiness indirectly by increasing their character traits that contributed to their happiness, such as conscientiousness and empathy.

8. Feel. Experience more and buy less. Another fascinating take away from the research is that you’ll be happier from having more experiences in life than you will from having more material goods.

Research indicates that people feel happier about their memories of events than they do about their recent purchase. After all, how often can you say to yourself ten years after buying something, “Wow, that new sweater really changed my life!” A rafting trip with your friends, on the other hand, is bound to create some excellent long-lasting memories!

9. Engage in activities that make you happy. No matter what other people try to tell you about how to spend your time, if you take part in activities of your own choosing, you will be happier. Think about your friend who says, “Cleaning my house makes me happy. I really enjoy doing it.” You might be thinking, as I would, ”Ugh, are you crazy?” The key is to do what you enjoy.

For instance, if you are curious about acting in a play, take a local acting class. If you have ever wanted to grab a pair of binoculars and go to the closest national park to go bird-watching, do it.

When you start doing the things that spur your interests and satisfy your curiosities, or things that simply make your heart sing, you will feel much happier.

This newest research regarding what makes people happy might help you in your own quest. Take advantage of the information presented here and increase your level of happiness.

Make someone happy: you!