January 27, 2020

20 Ways to Be Happier Every Day in 2020

Everyday habits that can transform your every day happiness

The Sad State of Happiness

Editor’s note: You all had such a wonderfully strong positive response to the #PracticeOptimism campaign I posted on IG in partnership with Hush Puppies. And I too loved the concept of the campaign: how to improve our happiness levels in everyday life. So, even though the sponsored content requirements did not include a blog post component, I personally wanted to continue the conversation around happiness that we started…

According to the World Happiness Report, negative feelings like depression, anxiety, and worry have risen 27 percent in the last ten years!

While that number is sobering, it’s not altogether shocking. Newspapers, TV news reports, and more decry all the negative things happening in our world today. It’s easy to become sad and sullen and even depressed and despondent by all the tragedies and injustices in the world.

And while we cannot solve all the world’s woes, we as individuals can do our part to take care of ourselves. Research shows that we can maintain – and even increase – our own happiness levels by actively incorporating certain habits into our daily routines.

If you have wondered how you can be happy in your daily life, this article is for you! If you have asked how you can be a happier person overall in this day and age, this article is for you! If you’ve asked how you can make the most of every day, then this article is for you!

Keep scrolling for some fun facts about happiness and practical ways to add more happiness to your life this year…

20 Facts About Happiness

Have you ever wondered what makes us happy? What causes happiness? Can we show prove what makes people happy?

If you, like me, are data-driven and like to have scientific facts and statistics, then this list is for you, my friend! Read on for some of the most interesting results of research on happiness.

1 – People who spend six to seven hours each day with their friends and family are 12 times as likely to feel joyful than anxious and stressed. (Gallup)

2 – Gratitude journals, where you write down things you are grateful for, lead to higher levels of optimism and overall satisfaction with life. (Harvard Medical School)

3 – Forgiving people we feel have done us wrong helps us feel better about ourselves, sustain more positive emotions, and experience a deeper connection to others. (Journal of Health and Psychology)

4 – After reaching an annual salary of $75,000, making more money doesn’t have a significant effect on your daily happiness. (Princeton University)

5 – The practice of savoring positive feelings as we experience them impacts how much of a mood boost we get. (The Journal of Neuroscience)

6 – Spending money on others causes higher happiness levels than spending money on yourself. (University of British Columbia)

7 – Exercising regularly results in increased happiness, higher self-esteem, decreased anxiety, and reduced levels of stress. (The How of Happiness)

8 – Listening to music causes the release of dopamine, one of the chemicals that triggers happiness. (McGill University)

9 – Getting one extra hour of sleep can have a more significant impact on happiness than a $60,000 raise. (Norbert Schwarz, Ph. D)

10 – Optimism is a skill that can be cultivated by consciously challenging negative thoughts. (Learned Optimism)

11 – Older people who are positive experience a lower risk of heart disease than those who are pessimistic. (Boston University School of Medicine)

12 – Practicing mindfulness can lead to a strengthened immune system, greater happiness levels, and decreased anxiety. (Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley)

13 – Seventy percent of dog parents say their fur baby has made them happier. (Barkbox)

14 – A deeper connection to nature causes an increase in positive emotions, vitality, and overall life satisfaction. (National Institute of Health)

15 – The highest performing teams in the workplace give each other six positive comments for every negative comment. (Harvard Business Review)

16 – Happy employees are 20 percent more productive than unhappy ones. (Social Market Foundation)

17 – Certain foods are scientifically proven to make you happier. A few of those foods include salmon, butternut squash, watermelon, garlic, jalapeños, and grapefruit. (mindbodygreen)

18 – The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal. (Loehr and Schwarz, The Power of Full Engagement)

19 – Having regular contact with ten or more friends leads has a substantial impact on one’s happiness level. (Science Daily)

20 – Adults who have sex 2-3x a week experience 55% higher levels of happiness than those who don’t. (The University of Colorado)

20 Ways to Be Happier in Your Everyday Life

Isn’t it good news that we can all be optimists? Optimism isn’t something that we are either born with or not. Rather, we can actively cultivate a happy life.

So, here are 20 easy, practical, free ideas for making your everyday life happier in 2020.

1 – Wear more color! #morecolorplease

2 – Get outside and go for a walk

3 – Go to the gym to exercise

4 – Do yoga every day

5 – Count your blessings

6 – Smile and laugh frequently

7 – Journal regularly

8 – Record your gratitudes

9 – Spend time with friends

10 – Turn up the music

11 – Eat one of the “happy foods” mentioned above

12 – Get a pet

13 – Train yourself to look at the bright side

14 – Give compliments to others

15 – Send a thank you note

16 – Consider a digital detox

17 – Make a photo album of happy memories

18 – Go to bed earlier

19 – Declutter your home

20 – Surround yourself with positive people

In Closing

Has this article made you think? If you’d like to read more on the subject, I encourage you to read the full World Happiness Report.

For further reading about how you can actively add more joy to your life, check out Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book Joyful. Plus, her website Aesthetics of Joy is a great resource.

What ideas would you add to this list? What everyday practices increase your happiness levels? Share in the comments!


  1. Erin says:

    Great tips, Carrie!

    1. Thanks, Erin! I’m glad you liked it.

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