Want to feel a whole lot happier? Right now? Then grab a pen and a thank-you card, and share some gratitude with someone.
When a group of students wrote a series of one-page thank-you letters every 2 weeks for 6 weeks, measurements showed that their baseline happiness levels increased by 20 percent.
What Is Happiness?
Science says that happiness is 50 percent genetic, 10 percent circumstances, and 40 percent intentional activity (i.e., what you do). With so much happiness attributed to your own actions, it makes sense to do things that make you feel good. For the study, that meant the students expressed gratitude in writing, and their happiness increased with each letter. Every month, try writing a couple of thank-you notes to people who did something nice for you. (This article helps explain how happy feelings directly affect your health.)