GO Blog | EF Blog Canada
The latest on travel, languages and culture by EF Education First
MenuFree Brochure

Here’s how you can boost your happiness

Here’s how you can boost your happiness

Happiness doesn’t just feel good, it also does good for us. Being happy can lower our blood pressure and risk of health problems, help us become more productive and active, and improve our sleep.

But, according to the latest World Happiness Report, happiness in young people (15-25) in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand is falling — and has been declining for a decade. In many regions around the world, older adults are less happy than young people. 

There's been more and more research into how we can feel happier long-term. Unsurprisingly, social media and endless scrolling aren’t the secret to happiness. Instead, try doing some of these things to boost your overall happiness and support your well-being.

Eat a varied diet

We might not realize it but we make more than 200 food decisions a day, and they’re not always best for our happiness. It’s easy to use foods, particularly ones high in sugar like chocolate or carbohydrates, to feel good.

But these short-term solutions don’t help. The endorphin (happy hormones) spikes released in the brain are temporary and are often followed by a slump in energy and mood. Instead, take care of your mind and body by choosing a varied diet. Scientists suggest that eating fruit and veg can have immediate beneficial psychological effects, and one study found that eating vegetables has the strongest link to happiness over several days.

Around 95% of our serotonin (a key good mood hormone) is produced by our gut, not our brain, so try probiotics like kombucha and live yogurts to support gut health. Prioritize lots of different fruit, veg, and wholegrains which release sugars slowly, and support your vitamin B levels with green vegetables.

Move your body

Physical activity and happiness are linked. Partly because the more we can move, the more happy hormones we release. A US study found people who exercise report 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health each month. And you don’t need to run a marathon to feel the well-being benefits from exercise — adding just 30 minutes of moderate activity (walking, running, yoga, or gym workouts) to your routine 3 times a week can reduce stress or anxiety.

Beginning exercise routines can feel hard, but experts have discovered something interesting. Feeling happy helps us nurture healthier behaviors — when we’re happy we’re more likely to continue to exercise and eat better, which continues to support our wellbeing. So, science says that getting started is the hardest part. Sticking with it and moving regularly can kick-start a cycle of boosting happiness and improve our overall life satisfaction.

Boost your brain (by learning a language!)

Our brains are incredible tools and keeping them exercised is key. Pursuing our interests, learning, and using new skills can improve our mood, empower us, and boost our confidence.

Here’s where studying a language comes in. This can broaden your horizons, make you a better communicator, and open up doors to cultural exchange — especially if you study abroad! Costa Rica is widely regarded as ‘happy’ thanks to its fantastic nature, focus on sustainability, and high quality of life — why not study there?

Language learning can create cyclical happiness too; research shows that the more we enjoy learning, the deeper we engage as learners and the better we perform, leading to even more enjoyment and happiness.

Seek connections

Humans thrive on connection, and although we all have different social needs (introverts: we see you), our happiness can take a hit if we become disconnected. There’s no ‘ideal’ number of friends to have, although some studies suggest we benefit from between 3-6 really good ones. Meaningful social connection can improve our self-esteem and empathy, reducing anxiety and even boosting our immune systems, so it’s about quality, not quantity.

Our wider communities can also give us a sense of belonging. From a small group of friends that you see regularly, to training with a sports team or spending quality time with your family, take time to really connect with your people.

Make time for happiness

Happiness is important to a well-rounded and healthy life but is not something that simply happens to us. We’re able to support our happiness ourselves, so it’s also important we make time to focus on getting happy. Whether you choose to move more, eat better, learn a language, or laugh with your pals, these science-backed happiness habits could have a huge impact on how you feel long-term.

Start your language learning journeyStudy abroad
Get the latest on travel, languages and culture in the GO newsletterSign up

Test your language skills in minutes

Learn more