You’re happiest while on a quest—on the trail and in the surf, over mountains and in caves. But these key moves will keep you smiling between adventures, too. Enjoy life’s journey no matter where you’re headed.
Seek Novelty Daily
When Google engineer Matt Cutt went on a quest to try new things for 30 days—to snap a daily pic, for example, or write a novel—he says his time became more memorable and more meaningful, and he gained confidence, ultimately hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Check out his TED talk: “Try something new for 30 days.” Whether you sign up for an Indie film class or just try the new restaurant across town, start mixing it up!
Share the Love
Tons of research shows that helping other people makes us happy. Put your passion for adventure to work in your community: Go to volunteermatch.org and enter your zip code to find thousands of recreational give-back gigs in your area. You could lead a scout troop on nature walks, help build and maintain forest trails, hike public parks in search of deer, accompany seniors on day trips, or organize outings for disadvantaged kids. Giving back was never this fun!
Ride the Weekend Wave
TGIF (thank God it’s Friday) is a universal sentiment, even if you love your job. According to University of Rochester psychologists, we’re happiest on weekends because we’re free to choose our activities and hang with our favorite people. Give yourself something to look forward to during the week by booking some excitement for the weekend. One suggestion: Go skiing. A Korean study found that the playful pastime leads to “all-out pleasure and enjoyment.”
If you’ve ever seen the TV show Hoarders, you know that stockpiling stuff is not a path to bliss. San Francisco state psychologists have found that experiences make us happier than material objects because they fulfill higher-level needs, like for social connection. So next time you give a gift, make it a shared experience—like a restaurant meal, a play or a concert—and you’ll enjoy it, too. The pleasure also lasts. As the researchers say, “We don’t tend to get bored with happy memories.”