Everyone would love a little more happiness in their lives. Things both big and small can lift us when we're feeling blue but, more than that, did you know there is a science to happiness? Happiness, overall, is such a complex notion that it's been studied constantly for years. On International Day of Happiness, thanks to research, we are now equipped with plenty of information that can help us to better understand the notion of what it really means to be happy. Below are six scientific facts about happiness that you'll want to know.
Bright colours can really help
According to a 2010 study out of the journal BMC Medical Research Methodology, bright colours go hand-in-hand with happiness. And the colour that the happiest people favour? Yellow, of course. Luckily, there are so many ways you can wear it.
Happiness boosts your immune system
Did you know happiness can help boost our immune systems? Research published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found people who have more positive emotions are less likely to develop the common cold. The World Happiness Report also found that happy people live longer, are more productive and earn more.
Happiness is linked to your sense of smell
A study from the journal Chemical Senses found that the scents of vanilla and clementine boosted people's moods, with the vanilla scent inducing a more relaxed positive state and the clementine creating happy stimulation.
Being outside makes you happier
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness: "Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood but broadened thinking and improved working memory." The Journal of Global Environmental Change also affirms that being outdoors makes people happier.
Mastering a skill makes you happier in the long run
A study found that people who engage in behaviours that increase your natural skill set, for example at work, school or the gym, experience decreased happiness in the moment, lower levels of enjoyment and higher levels of momentary stress. Despite the negative effects felt on an hourly basis, participants reported that these same activities made them feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on their day as a whole. This surprising find suggests that in the process of becoming proficient at a particular skill, your happiness levels increase overall.
Happiness is contagious
Smile, it's contagious. We catch emotions from one another according to the Framingham Heart Study. "Your happiness impacts your friend's happiness, [which] impacts your friend's friend's happiness, whom you may never have met, [which] impacts your friend's friend's friend's happiness. Happiness and emotions radiate."