How to improve your happiness

Recent research from the US-based Society for Personality and Social Psychology has shown that people who value their time over the pursuit of wealth are happier. So how can you best make, save and use your time—and ensure you keep a smile on your face?

Pay someone to do the chores you hate

Why waste precious hours on housework or gardening if you can get someone else to do it?

 

Set time limits on tasks you can't avoid

Give yourself 20 minutes for vacuum cleaning or ten to hang out the washing. This will get pesky jobs out of the way faster and you’ll enjoy pitting yourself against the clock at the same time.

 

Volunteer

You’ll meet new friends, help others and get that warm, fuzzy feeling. An added bonus: there’s evidence that volunteering eases depression and makes people better able to cope with ill health.

 

Enjoy standing in that queue

Three people in front of you at the checkout? Think about how busy you usually are and see the wait as a gift, not a bore. Reflect on things you’re grateful for, talk to another customer or read a magazine.

 

Take on one new activity at a time

Trying to master too many new things at once can be overwhelming. At work and at home, be careful about the commitments you take on. If you already feel stressed at work, don’t do more at home.

 

Learn to say no

Be assertive by declining a new project, or telling someone you can’t talk right now or that you can only talk for a couple minutes. Be friendly but firm.

 

Make lists your friend

Start a wish list of the things you’d like to do or achieve and do more of the items that simply make you feel happy. Keep your daily to-do list manageable by putting it on an index card. Make sure you start with an easy task to feel like you’ve accomplished something and tackle the most difficult one second.

 

Give up ironing your knickers

Are there tasks you do out of habit, rather than because they matter? Consider giving up ironing all but the most creased articles, or rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Life’s too short.

 

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