It’s easy to find your bliss on the French Riviera or at a Barney’s Warehouse sale. The challenge is to find reasons to smile in between those grander moments. Here’s how.
Treat Your Friends
A shiny new object will lift your spirits but you’ll get a bigger buzz from gifting it to a friend. According to Harvard psychologists, generosity is hardwired in our brains, since getting along with the people around us is key to survival. No need to splurge, either. A simple stick of gum or quick favor will impart the glow of giving.
Sleep like a King
You spend a third of your life in bed, so make it your sanctuary: Try a memory foam mattress, which rates highest in slumber-satisfaction—we like Essentia, which is free of noxious chemicals; baby your skin with certified organic cotton bedding (Coyuchi.com, PureRest.com); and sleep more soundly with an ergonomic pillow—we like the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow. Consider wearing a gadget like the Sleeptracker Elite, which wakes you up at the exact time it senses you’re ready.
Plant Your Plate
You might think happiness is a seven-course tasting menu at Le Bernardin. (And yes, it is.) But day to day, eating seven portions of fruit and veggies will make you happier, say UK researchers. With the 80,000 people they studied, mental wellbeing rose along with daily portions of produce, peaking at seven. Whether the mood boost comes from the healthy food itself or the knowledge that you’re doing right by your body, it’s a good idea to veg out. Use the free iPhone app Locavore to find nearby farmer’s markets and learn which greens are in season in your area.
Savor Simple Pleasures
A perfectly brewed espresso, a toasty towel after a shower, an infectious laugh or the first crocus of spring—these are the sights, sounds and smells that make us feel alive. Tons of research shows that people are happier when they make an effort to appreciate the beauty of everyday things and feel grateful for them. Use the iTunes app Happier, one of Time Magazine’s best apps of 2013, to keep track of small happy moments in your day.