How can I trick myself into feeling happier?

Adopt what University of California at Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky calls happiness strategies. Here are some to try:

  • Hang around smiling people - studies show that being around a happy person boosts your own happiness.
  • Eat well - The B vitamin folate, found in spinach, is essential to producing the mood-stabilizer serotonin. Protein-filled foods like beans, fish and meat contain amino acids also found in the pleasure-inducing brain chemical dopamine. And complex carbohydrates like legumes and whole-grain breads keep energy high by slowly releasing glucose.
  • Don't feel overwhelmed by your to-do list: Identify what you can fix in a bite-sized, incremental manner.
  • Be altruistic: Donating to charity or helping someone in need activates the brain's reward center, releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine.
  • Exercise: Just one aerobic workout can release pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters in the brain for 12 hours.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.