It's International Happiness Day! 4 ways to increase your joy

·2 min read

Everyone strives for happiness, right? Well, Wednesday March 20 is the perfect day to focus on the quest, as it’s the date that the United Nations has declared to be International Day of Happiness, every year since 2013.

To help get you to that joyful place, we’ve consulted with Dr. Mark D. Holder — a.k.a. the Happiness Doctor. He is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he studies the science of happiness. And he’s got four solid tips to help you personally increase yours.

Be social

“First,” Holder stresses, “nurture your personal relationships.” Why? “Other people really matter”

Appreciate nature

“The second thing you can do is spend mindful time in nature,” Holder advises. “So it doesn’t seem to matter how much time or how frequently you’re in nature, but that when you’re in nature, you disconnect from social media and pay attention to the emotion it evokes. So maybe go out there and take photographs, or sketch nature.”

Move that body

“The third thing you can do,” he says, “is exercise. We underestimate how much it’ll make us happy.”

Get spiritual

The final suggestion from Holder, he says, “is spirituality — and by that I don’t mean religiosity, but having a spiritual approach to life.”

You can even combine all four suggestions for maximum happiness effect, Holder says. “So for me, I’m an active mountain biker and an active skier. So I can go skiing or mountain biking with my friends, which is social, of course I’m getting exercise, I do this out in nature, and there’s a spiritual component to it, where I’m in awe of that beauty in nature that I experience.”

That, he concludes, “would be my sort of universal panacea for happiness, based on the research.”

So go get happy!

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