4 – Get frisky with your partner
This may either sound like not much nocturnal mischief at all to some or simply too much to others. Nevertheless, according to a surprisingly comprehensive study looking at the happiness of those in romantic relationships, sex once a week is all you need to get a long-lasting positive mood boost from it – one that lasts around 24 hours, according to another piece of curious research.
Sex is actually such a good happiness deliverer that weekly friskiness beats out a $50,000 pay rise when it comes to boosting a person’s mood – although few would likely protest at receiving both.
5 – Watch nature documentaries
The BBC recently debuted its unbelievably good natural world documentary series, Planet Earth II, and they wanted to know how happy it actually made people. Teaming up with the University of California, Berkeley, they found that people from all demographics and from all over the world gain a long-lasting happiness boost from watching bears scratch their backs on trees and baby iguanas outrun malicious snakes.
Interestingly, people between the ages of 16 and 24 experienced the most significant reduction in stress, nervousness, the feeling of being overburdened, and fatigued, with a huge uptick in contentment, joy, awe and curiosity.
6 – Listen to some music
Another obvious one, but one that can’t be understated – listening to music we enjoy releases a huge amount of dopamine, the same hormone that dominates our brain’s reward system. Those chills you get when that crescendo in that song you love blasts into your earholes? That’s technically known as “musical frisson,” and that’s a sign that dopamine is flooding your brain.
7 – Sleep more
With such an exhilarating amount of fun that’s out there to be had, it’s frankly insulting that we’ve evolved to need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Inconveniently, without enough of it, we essentially act severely drunk, in that our mental capacity is severely hampered.
A lack of sleep puts a lot of pressure on our physical health – particularly our immune system – but there are plenty of studies showing that it’s needed to maintain our mental health too. So snooze well, dear readers.
8 – Try and appreciate a bit of dark humor
Bleak jokes and morally ambiguous senses of humor are often linked to people who are melancholic or downbeat. However, a new study revealed that people that can maneuver through the clever linguistics of such rib-ticklers tend to score lower for incidences of aggression and negative moods. They also tended to have higher IQs, so this source of stress reduction may not apply to everyone.
9 – Get revenge on someone that wronged you
A rather bizarre study involving virtual voodoo dolls and personality clashes revealed that vengeance is a good way to boost our mood, at least when it comes to social rejection. As it so happens, the negative frame of mind that societal expulsion engenders in people is effectively balanced out by a bit of revenge in one form or another.
Science isn’t saying that revenge is inherently good, though – but there are neurological reasons why it feels so good.