Make 2019 your happiest year yet by trying these simple techniques to boost your mood and improve your health.
Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about; even one hour a month can make a difference.
Find a physical activity you enjoy — whether it’s yoga, dancing, basketball or walking. Moving more can improve your mood and physical health.
Spend more time in nature — visit a state park, the mountains or the beach. Time in nature can reduce stress and boost your mental health.
Say “thank you” more often to strangers, friends and family members. Gratitude can make you more satisfied and optimistic.
Celebrate even your small wins, whether it’s making a delicious dinner, not yelling when you’re mad or making time to exercise. Recognizing your successes can help you develop good habits.
Read at least one book each month. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, nonfiction or poetry, on your e-reader or an audiobook.
Learn a new skill like throwing pottery, painting, woodworking or speaking another language. New skills help build your cognitive reserve, protecting your brain from dementia.
Try a new, healthy food every month. Expanding your palate can help you eat (and enjoy) a healthier diet.
Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to try new things every month. New and novel experiences release dopamine (a happy chemical) in your brain.
Give up habits like drinking or smoking that can hurt your physical and mental health. If you need help, ask your physician.
Be more self-compassionate; when you make a mistake, forgive yourself. Some studies suggest self-compassion is more important than self-esteem to being happy.
Spend less time online and on social media. Too much time in the virtual world can take you out of the moment and distract you from things and people you love.
Find time to be quiet and alone. Solitude gives you a chance to calm your mind and reflect on how you really feel.
Sleep more. As an adult, you need eight hours of sleep each night to feel and act your best; lack of sleep is associated with depression and anxiety.
Get organized. Ridding your home of clutter can help your space feel more calm and peaceful.
Work toward a personal goal that’s not related to work. Having something just for yourself can be a hugely satisfying experience.
Put your finances in order. Money is a huge stressor; creating a budget, saving money and ensuring your estate is in order can help you feel better.
Have dinner with others — friends, family or a significant other. Quality social time can help you feel more connected, which can reduce feelings of depression and even lower blood pressure.
Put an emphasis on intimacy. Even just kissing and cuddling can help release oxytocin, a hormone that increases bonding, strengthens relationships and boosts your mood.