Is less more? You’ve heard the saying a million times, applied to every topic, from the amount of makeup you wear to the salt in your soup. While this adage doesn’t always fit the bill, it turns out to be profoundly sage advice when it comes to your mood. Research has unearthed some surprising components to mental health. In the hope of upping your happiness quotient, here are three research-backed, mood-boosting activities:
- Cleaning house.
Research at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute reveals that clutter restricts your brain’s ability to focus and process information. An organized, uncluttered home and office will help you be less irritable and distracted and better able to process information effectively, which boosts your productivity and mood.
- Accumulating experiences (not objects).
Want to be happy? Researchers advise spending your money on experiences, not material objects. They reason that sheer anticipation of the event is a pleasant experience in and of itself. Plus, your memory of the outing is a gift that keeps on giving as you reminisce. With experiences, you are also less likely to compare yourself to others—and we all know how well the dreadful comparison game plays out. Any pleasant experience will do, especially little delights. Consider swapping your next designer handbag purchase with a series of small experiences, such as a monthly massage or a weekly supply of fresh flowers.
- Living in the moment.
A wandering mind is an unhappy mind, according to a study at Harvard University. They found that people spend almost half of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, a nasty habit that invariably tanks your mood. To improve your spirits, the first step is awareness. When you catch yourself daydreaming, simply change your focus to your feet to remember where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether working or doing the laundry. Keeping your brain in the present is all that counts.