Happiness is one of those universal feelings that everyone hopes to achieve. Some people are happy when they have a delicious meal, some people just want to cozy up with a loved one (perhaps a loved pet), while others are quite happy just plugging away at their work or their hobbies. Everyone is different. Some things will make others happy but won't make you feel any different, while some things you love might seem boring to someone else. At the end of the day, we all just want to figure out how to be a little happier, and that's why our motto is to live life to your tastes; because you need to do what makes you happy.

And that's why you're here: to figure out exactly how you can be happy.

1. Spend More On Time-Savers

a close up photo of a phone with a variety of apps showing on the screen

The age old question "can money buy happiness" is starting to get some answers thanks to a lot of newer research. And it turns out the answer is yes it can!... only if you spend it on the right things.

How many times have you tried to cram 40 hours of life into 24? Between a job, social life, chores, leisure, and personal care, we scarcely have the time to get anything else done. And you know what usually gets cut out when we don't have enough time? The things that make us happy. How can people afford to spend time reading their favorite book when the dishes haven't been done?

Studies have actually found that if you choose to spend more money to buy yourself more time, you'll be a lot more satisfied with your life. More time = more opportunities to do what you really care about. That's why it wouldn't kill you to splurge on a time-saving service every once in a while - it's really a sensible investment in yourself! Look into:

  • Getting food delivery when you're hungry, or even grocery delivery to save some of that precious Sunday afternoon time
  • An app that helps you schedule out important events and make time for yourself
  • Purchasing a Roomba to help with some of the chores, or just hiring a maid more often
  • Choose to live closer to work even if it costs more - the relief of a shorter commute might be totally worth it.

There's a popular saying, that "time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

Think about taking that to heart if you're looking for a little more happiness: If you free up more time, you can use it on all of the rest of the suggestions in this article!

2. Stop Obsessing Over Social Media

a person crossing out the facebook logo from their phone

We've all heard how social media is linked to various mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety. It's really the way in which we engage with social media that is the problem. If you're trying to keep up with posts on multiple platforms you can stress yourself out just trying to stay in touch and be involved in the conversation.

Not only that, but you can find yourself always comparing yourself to others in the worst way possible on social media. Most people only choose to share their most impressive, successful, and fun stories and photos on social media. How can your regular evening sitting around doing laundry compare to everyone else's highlight reel?

This is exactly why you should take a break from Facebook and Twitter to do things that make you happy. Skip out on posting photos of food to spend time with family or a significant other instead. Don't check social media as soon as you wake up or right before bed either. Read a good book or catch up on a show you've been neglecting. Spend some time on yourself - you deserve it. Time is valuable, so buy yourself some more time by getting off social media for a bit, and come back to it later with a fresh mindset.

3. Try To Hang Around Other Happy People

four friends laughing together

We all know that one person who is just sunny about everything. Well, those are the exact kinds of people we need in our lives to better our own happiness. Studies have shown that spending time with other people who have cheerful personalities can make you feel happier. Nothing lowers our mood more than hanging around with pessimistic people, and it can easily turn us into that negative person. Go out to coffee or have a dinner date with your perkier pals and it will help alleviate some of the stress we carry from day to day.

4. Manage Your Expectations - Don't Set The Bar Too High

a person on their laptop

A leading cause of unhappiness is our desire to be the very best at everything we do and have nothing bad happen to us ever. While that's a nice sentiment, life doesn't unravel the way it does in romantic comedies. Lower the bar for yourself. We're not saying abandon your dreams and aspirations, but rather recognize that it takes time to achieve your goals. It feels much better to achieve a reasonable goal than it does to fail numerous impossible goals that you set for yourself. Keep in mind that if you don't get that raise or get a date for New Year's Eve, the world isn't over. Sometimes, we feel like people in our lives have achieved happiness almost instantly; but as the saying goes "overnight success takes ten years." This applies to our well-being as well. Set small goals that you can accomplish frequently, and allow them to build you up into the person you want to be.

As we said before, happiness is subjective to everyone. Remember that things won't change in an instant, so now's a great time to implement the "don't set the bar too high" rule.

5. Spend on Memorable Activities, Not Just Valuable Property

a girl sitting in front of large paintings in a gallery

As much as I would love to have a chocolate fountain in my kitchen, possessions grow old and simply having them won't do your mood any favors in the long run. Items suffer wear and tear, and the initial excitement of a purchase tends to die after a while, especially if that chocolate fountain ends up sitting in the pantry collecting dust instead of being used regularly.

What never gets old, however, is a beautiful memory. That's why research suggests you spend your money on experiences rather than material possessions. It doesn't need to be a huge trip across the country. Something as simple as seeing that art exhibition, having a dinner date at a fancy restaurant, or going away for a weekend can boost the feel-good hormones. Plus, you'll be left with something to reflect on later.

We are not saying that you should never buy things. Possessions can lead to memorable moments, and there's plenty of tangible things worth buying. We are saying that you should think about what you buy before you buy it. Don't feel guilty about paying for a great experience!

6. Haul Yourself To The Gym

a woman stretching on a yoga mat

You may have already decided that the exercise lifestyle just isn't for you, but we had to mention this one because there is so much research out there suggesting that exercise does have a big impact on how happy we feel. Not only does it make you more energetic and reduce stress, but it also helps reduce the symptoms of depression. Working out regularly also helps those suffering from anxiety, which can be pretty horrible when combined with depression, so exercising really helps you deal with both!

You don't need to buy a gym membership or hire a personal trainer to exercise. There are tons of apps for every piece of technology out there, and you can invest in one of those freebies to get your groove on.

Don't kill your muscles trying to bench press 300 lbs, and don't expect to be running marathons in a month either. As we mentioned above, it's about setting your own goals and managing expectations. Take it easy, go at your own pace, try and push yourself where you can, and you'll soon see the benefits of exercising on both physical and mental health.

7. Spend More On Others

an open guitar case on the street

On Strangers

Ever notice how you feel better after performing a generous act? Whether it's giving money to someone on the street, tossing a dollar to street performers, or donating a bit of a paycheque to charity, generosity makes us feel better. In fact, studies have proved it. While it's important to stay within your means, spending a few bucks on someone occasionally definitely makes us happier.

Or On Loved Ones

If generosity makes you feel better when you do something for strangers, just think about how good you'll feel when helping out family and friends! What better way to spread the joy than to help out those who are closest to you when they need it most? Whether it's siblings are struggling with bills, or parents need some help, helping them might be worth considering. Remember to stay within your means, but lending money when you can spare it is a surefire way to feeling happy and fulfilled.

8. Reach Out To Loved Ones

a set of hands wrapped around one hand

In the grand scheme of things, keeping in touch with friends and family can sometimes fall by the wayside. While understandable, this is contributing to your unhappiness. We all need contact with others, especially those we love, to feel better. Pick up the phone and call your parents or a friend you haven't seen in a while. Hearing their voices will give you an instant boost and it'll feel great to reconnect with those closest to you. Even just sending out an email or social media to somebody that's been on your mind can go a long way in establishing a productive and meaningful dialogue. Ideally, you'll want to talk on the phone. Seriously, studies have shown that talking to your mom can reduce stress. Go give her a call.

9. Meet Some New Folks

two females wearing volunteer shirts and taking a photo together

I know, I know. If we don't have the time to get our lives in order how in the world are we supposed to meet new people? Don't worry - there are lots of ways for you to meet new friends as an adult and the activities double as situations that get you out of the house and trying new things. Having your friends around and meeting new people makes you happier, so get out there and explore the world. There are lots of ways to meet new people:

  • Volunteering. Not only do you meet new people, but you feel happier knowing you've done a good deed.
  • Check out meetup.com. You can have a look at which activities best suit your lifestyle and there's no commitment to keep attending meetings.
  • Accept invitations. When your friends invite you out, don't be so quick to blow them off. You could have a great time and even meet new people!

10. Have Those Deep Conversations

overhead shot of two people on a date

Don't worry, we're not talking about the kind of conversation that'll ruin your whole day. Having deep conversations doesn't mean only diving into downer topics, but simply sitting with a close friend or your significant other and having a good long talk about life, or finding out more about the other person. These conversations can go a long way in making you happy. Why? Because the intimacy of such a conversation is a mood-lifter and all parties will feel more connected to the other afterward. Various studies on the topic provide questions you can ask others to initiate such a conversation such as:

  • What is your favorite holiday? Why?
  • Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
  • What does friendship mean to you?

11. Spend Smarter, Feel Better

a person holding out money

What feels better than seeing money piling up in a savings account? Or having a decent amount leftover when your next payroll comes around? Financial responsibility feels pretty great. What you really want to avoid, though, is just how stressful it can be to not be financially stable. If you find yourself buried under piles of bills then you're going to want to get help with that ASAP.

There are dozens of ways to save money though in your regular day-to-day life without driving yourself crazy with boredom or denying yourself every luxury. Instead, try:

  • Focusing more on where you're spending, see where you can make cuts, and go from there
  • Cut out the things you don't need, like those weekly magazines or a Crackle account you never use
  • Don't give into your every impulse when you walk by a store
  • Collect your loose change in a jar, or use nifty apps that round up your purchases into a savings account

12. Meditation Goes A Long Way

a person meditating

For a lot of people, meditation sounds like hooey. I understand the skepticism of those who've never participated in the craft, but it's something worth looking into.

The goal of meditation should be to help you focus better on how you're actually feeling, and if you're unhappy or stressed get in touch with exactly what's causing stress or negative thoughts. Meditating allows us to stop overthinking every aspect of our lives and allow us to peel back the layers of our mind and get to the root of our real problems. It's a huge help in the road to making yourself happier.

Apps like Headspace will give free trials and different exercises to help with:

  • Mental health
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Focus
  • Sleep patterns

Some of the exercises only take a few minutes, too, and you can schedule when you'd like to meditate to fit your lifestyle.

13. Recognize The Negative Thoughts

an upset man sitting on a ledge

Learning how to be happy takes a lot of reflection and patience. Instead of taking time to meditate, an alternative exercise is to catch yourself whenever a negative thought sneaks into your mind and take note of it. Don't push them down or ignore them; negativity is a part of life, for some more than others, and ignoring it only represses feelings. Instead, try and recognize when a negative thought comes into your head and follow it up with some positive way of dealing with it.

14. Thank Your Lucky Stars

a couple hugging

When we're in a foul mood it can be tough to see anything to be thankful for. But, whether it's Thanksgiving, or a lovely day in the spring, there's no time like the present to think of everything you're grateful for. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that making a conscious effort to be more grateful benefits your well-being and happiness. If you're someone who's not super well-versed in showing gratitude, try out some of the following techniques to get started:

  • Express your thanks to someone in a heartfelt letter (everyone loves snail mail)
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate them in an email or social media message
  • Phone a friend or loved one to let them know you're thinking about them, wondering how they're doing and how thankful you are to them

You'd be surprised how special someone feels when you let them know how grateful you are for them. So take that initiative and spread the good word.

15. Go See Your Doctor

a doctor giving advice

They'll know better than anyone whether what you're going through while trying to be happy is just a temporary feeling as a symptom of being human, or if it's something more. Depression is a real problem that affects millions of people, and it seems to be increasing lately.

A doctor might be able to help you out by recommending you to a counselor or a therapist to help you implement some of the strategies in this article (or better ones they learned!). Or they might recommend a psychiatrist if medication might be the most impactful tool to help you out. Either way, don't take depression lightly!

Being happy won't just come to you, but there are steps you can take to building a lifestyle and atmosphere for your happiness to grow and thrive. Try implementing some of the tips we've presented, and see if you can't truly live life to your tastes!

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