11 Ways to Find Happiness Every Day

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If only there were a formula for happiness ... oh wait, there is!

Ah, happiness ... that feel-good emotion that rings with contentment and puppies and rainbows. Some people seem born enveloped by it, for others it’s an elusive thing. But whether you see the world through rose-colored glasses or walk through life beneath a small storm cloud, there are ways to encourage more happiness in your life.

New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner has been studying happiness for his entire life – and it appears that spreading the word is something makes him happy. In his latest book, he discusses “nine major keys to achieving happiness in everyday life,” notes National Geographic, who has put together a video (below) explaining what they characterize as undemanding actions. “These steps may seem simple,” Nat Geo writes, “but they can go a long way in increasing your happiness over time.”

9. Find the right community. Buettner says it’s important to live in a community that supports well-being and offers access to healthy foods. This may be more than a simple step if it requires relocation, but the other advice – to give back and support your community – should be easier.

8. Shape your surroundings to ensure that things like home, work, and social media all foster happiness. For me that would mean cleaning out the clutter closet that constantly vexes me ... and maybe breaking up with Twitter until there is an administration that is more in line with my thinking.

7. Get more than six hours of sleep.

6. Look forward; focus on meaningful things, set goals, monitor progress.

5. Move. Even if it’s just a daily walk, movement has enormous benefits for the body as well as one’s mood.

4. “Practice likability.” This one struck me as a bit New Age smarmy, but I get it. One can choose to be warm and open in their daily interactions or they can choose to be cold and grumpy. Which one is bound to lead to happiness?

3. Engage. Find something you like and do it – the effort of doing something you like is more important than what you are actually doing.

2. Cultivate friendships – have at least three close friends whom you can count on.

1. Love someone.

And now here is where I add two more:

10. Love a pet. Among other things, companion animals provide meaningful and life-improving social support for owners. Study after study find that pet owners are happier and healthier than people without pets.

11. Get some nature. I actually can’t believe this wasn’t included in Buettner’s nine steps, though maybe it is hidden in the book somewhere. Spending time in nature is one of the quickest sure-fire ways to boost happiness, even if it’s just walking through a city park ... or even, I kid you not, looking at a houseplant.