Exercise gets your endorphins flowing—check! That’s a major happiness driver right there. But don’t stop at the gym door. Flex your smile muscles all day long with these joy-winning tips. No gear required.
Track More than Reps
Copping an attitude of gratitude is literally one of the best ways to feel happiness, according to multiple studies. It comes less naturally to men than women, say psychologists at George Mason University, but here’s how to make it a no-brainer: Whenever you log a workout, add something you’re grateful for—even if it’s just a bright blue sky or cushiony sneakers. Sign up for reminders at happyrambles.com.
Learn New Tricks
You know the exhilaration of crossing a finish line—and the pain it takes to get there. The same rule applies to sharpening a new skill, like assembling an Ikea cabinet or learning to set the DVR. Though you may stress your way through the process, mastering that new talent provides a long-lasting buzz, say psychologists from San Francisco State University. Pain = gain.
Walk the Walk
When you’re happy and you know it, strut your stuff. That’s not how the song goes, but research from Florida Atlantic University found that when people take long strides while swinging their arms and holding their heads high, they feel happier than when they take short, shuffling steps with their eyes to the ground. Stand up tall, proud peacock!
Don’t Try to Be Happy
Sure, you’re driven, but striving for happiness can backfire. Yale University researchers found that when people don’t end up as cheerful as they expect, their sense of failure can make them feel worse. Instead, identify things you know you love—a post-spin smoothie or an early morning swim—and pursue them specifically.