• 1 Fill your home with houseplants – Not only do plants recycle your air; they also have a positive effect on mental health. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences discovered that having live plants at your work desk reduced sick leaves and increased productivity.
  • 2 Try new things – A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology required participants to go “outside their comfort zone” for two weeks while documenting their daily activities. Participants who started below the average of “life satisfaction” increased in satisfaction. The strongest increase came from activities that involved helping others.
  • 3 Smile more – Most people associate smiling with happiness, so in theory, you can “trick” your brain into releasing serotonin by smiling. In society, smiling has a greater effect than anticipated. According to the Public Library of Science, people cooperate better and have higher levels of trust with a smiling person than someone with a melancholy expression.
  • 4 Embrace gratitude – A study from March 2022, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, found that only participants who prioritize positivity and meaning in their lives benefited from intentionally practicing gratitude. Those who prioritize neither had no benefits from the experiment. Rather than just taking time to practice gratitude, it is important to include it in our daily routine while we also prioritize positivity and meaning throughout our days.



  • Bringslimark, T., Hartig, T., & Patil, G. G. (2007). Psychological Benefits of Indoor Plants in Workplaces: Putting Experimental Results into Context. HortScience, 42(3), 581–587. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.42.3.581
  • Russo-Netzer, P., & Cohen, G. L. (2022). ‘If you’re uncomfortable, go outside your comfort zone’: A novel behavioral ‘stretch’ intervention supports the well-being of unhappy people. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2022.2036794
  • Reed, L. I., Meyer, A. K., Okun, S. J., Best, C. K., & Hooley, J. M. (2020). In smiles we trust? Smiling in the context of antisocial and borderline personality pathology. PLoS ONE, 15(6), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234574
  • Atad, O. I., & Russo-Netzer, P. (2022). The Effect of Gratitude on Well-being: Should We Prioritize Positivity or Meaning? Journal of Happiness Studies, 23(3), 1245–1265. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-021-00448-4


Annelise Jacobs is a senior communication major from Maine.


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