Everyone talks about finding the key to happiness… but what if we said you could unlock happiness without one? Here are three small tricks to increase everyday happiness without hunting for that metaphorical key.

Cheat on Your Diet

Health gurus have said this time and again: if you want to make a healthy lifestyle enjoyable, set aside one meal a week where you enjoy your food with good company and not worry about counting calories, gaining weight or maintaining an image. Diet and exercise are great and worth the effort, but can be stressful when combined with work, family and social responsibilities. You’ll be a lot happier if you have that one meal a week (not a whole day!) to unwind with your favorite carbs or a little something sweet. For bonus happiness, share this time with someone you don’t get to see often. Or host a solo candlelight dinner in front of the tube. Whatever helps you relax for a few hours.

HEALTH TRICKS: 5 Simple Tips for Toning Up Your Body This New Year

Tunes to Soothe the Soul

Listening to music isn’t just for faster growing plants. Research has found that upbeat music is a happiness booster in humans. Here are some suggestions to lift your mood:

  • Listen to a genre that makes you feel good
  • Choose songs that bring back good memories
  • Statistically speaking, up-tempo music in a major key is always a good bet
  • Live music releases happy chemicals in your brain, so go to a concert or enjoy a live band in your local pub

(Controlled) Retail Therapy

We’re not saying it’s okay to blow a paycheck on brand name shoes, but if that clearance watch has been on your mind all day, week or month, odds are you won’t stop thinking about it until it’s yours. Don’t let the distraction keep you from concentrating on work or school. Maybe a new car is a little much, so downsize to a new coffee machine for the office or sensible flats to get you through the day. The thrill of something “new” has been found to increase levels of happiness, just don’t get carried away. Practical splurges will make the feeling last longer because of the added benefit of the item’s usefulness. And, hey, you always need to know the time.

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