13 Scientifically Proven Ways to Feel Happier Right Now
1. Swing a spell
Just 15 to 20 minutes of fresh air can quiet your mind, says science journalist Florence Williams. Add a swing and the good vibes get better: The swaying motion increases concentration so you can tune out everything but the waves.
Swings We Love:
2. Eat breakfast in bed.
But be sure to throw open the curtains and let the seaside sun stream in. Sunlight exposure in the morning leads to a better mood during the day and better sleep at night. It helps generate Vitamin D, too, which improves bone health and supports the immune system. All that while you're still in your pajamas.
Tray: Scully & Scully Breakfast Bed Tray with Reading Rack, $185; scullyandscully.com
Dishware: Juliska Classic Bamboo Natural 5 pc Setting, $137; bloomingdales.com
Breakfast: Quince & Apple Raspberry Rose Preserves, $10; quinceandapple.com
3. Pour on the nutrients.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are high in zinc and amino acids, which rev up energy levels.
Our Recommendation: Back to Nature Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed Granola, $32 (pack of 6); walmart.com
4. Swap coffee for green tea.
It has enough caffeine to help you rise and shine, but won't give you the jitters. This one has rosebuds in it for fresh-picked flavor.
Our Recommendation: Palais des Thés Signature Tea Blend in Thé des Vahinés, $21; food52.com
5. Book a trip—months in advance.
Scientific studies suggest people are happiest when they're anticipating a vacation. Here, three dreamy getaways from outfitters we love.Greek Islands Yacht Adventure
Butterfield & Robinson
This is island-hopping at its best: A private yacht spirits you among Greece's Cyclades islands for hiking, biking, and dips in the Mediterranean. Rates (offered April through October) start at $9,995 per person; butterfield.com.
Baja Whale Camp and Kayak
Explore the gray whales' winter calving grounds by boat, and then discover the islands of the Sea of Cortez by kayak. Beach camping allows you to totally unplug. Rates (offered January through March) start at $2,295; baja-unbound.com.
Bermuda Bike Tour
Ride through historic parishes, swim with parrotfish, and bunk down at the luxurious Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club and Rosewood Tucker's Point resort escape. Rates (offered April through November) start at $3,298; backroads.com.
6. Go for a walk on the beach.
Spending time by the water gives our brains a break, says marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, so leave the phone at home and take in the view on your morning stroll. Plus, amp up your beach-walk wardrobe with these chic picks.
Our Picks for Beach-Chic Activewear
- adidas by Stella McCartney Training Tights in Blaze Orange, $60; zappos.com
- C9 Champion Running Tee in Steel Blue, $20; target.com
- adidas Wanderflex Halter Bra in Tactile Green, $50; adidas.com
- Nike Dry Tempo Short in Racer Pink/Wolf Gray, $30; zappos.com
- VEJA Holiday B-Mesh Nautico Pierre Tilapia Sneakers, $130; veja-store.com
- S'well Satin Collections 17 oz. Turquoise Blue Bottle with Silver Cap, $35; swellbottle.com
- Kühl Léa Pullover, $89; kuhl.com
7. Bring your dog, too!
Studies report that canine companions decrease blood pressure and trigger the release of feel-good neurochemicals.
Don't forget a chic leash! Bond & Co. Turquoise & Buff Rope Dog Leash, $30; petco.com (inset)
8. Take a bath.
Revel in that post-beach-day soak: Research has shown that a daily bath can make you feel more optimistic about the future. See more of our most relaxing coastal baths.
Editor-Approved Bath Essentials
9. Bring the outdoors in.
House plants make you feel happier, say scientists—plus, they can improve air quality.
Pretty potting goes a long way! Habit + Form Cylinder Pots in Brass, from $6 each; shopterrain.com
10. Make time for story time.
Reading a novel (even for just six minutes!) can reduce stress by 60 percent.
For next-level relaxation: Umbra Me Time Bamboo Bath Tray Caddy in Natural, $49; urbanoutfitters.com
11. Try a new scent.
From romantic florals to tropical coconut, these fresh fragrances are instant pick-me-ups.
12. Throw a low-key dinner party.
Seriously! Spending time with cheerful people, especially friends and neighbors, increases the likelihood that you'll also be happy. Cue up the Beach Boys, too: Researchers say listening to music you love releases dopamine, the chemical that produces positive feelings. How's that for good vibrations?
Pillows & Tablecloth:
John Robshaw Textiles Pindeti Decorative Pillows, $99 each; johnrobshaw.com for similar
Kathryn M. Ireland Casablanca Fabric in Natural/Flame & Mustard, available to the trade; kathrynireland.com
Juliska Sitio Stripe Indigo Dinner Plates, $40 each; bloomingdales.com
Meissen Blue Onion Salad Plates, $32 each; replacements.com
Schumann Strawflower Salad Plates, $48 for a set of two (vintage); etsy.com/shop/kemblerichards
Blue Pheasant Colette Wineglasses in Soft Yellow, $156 for a set of six; irwinribera.com
Cutipol Bali Cutlery in Polished Steel, $75 for a five-piece setting; shophorne.com
13. Eat more seafood.
… especially fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are key for heart health. Our top picks:
- Salmon: Fresh, frozen, and canned are all good options. See our favorite salmon recipes.
- Farmed Rainbow Trout: It's also a good source of vitamins B12 and D.
- Anchovies: Buy those sourced from the adriatic sea, where they're sustainably fished.