Banish stress with 6 tricks to boost your happiness levels

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This might not be big news to your flustered colleagues but stress is contagious, says science. So, here are a few strategies to nip stress in the bud, stat. The results are guaranteed.

Panic disorders and anxiety

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According to new research, merely seeing another person in a crappy situation is enough to trigger stress responses in our own bodies.

Even if we're just watching the telly, or seeing a stranger struggle through a worrying time, we feel the stress ourselves.

Researchers said that stress is a major health threat in today's society, causing a range of psychological problems such as total burnout, depression and anxiety.

If you're feeling the stress, why not check out our guide to feeling happier right this second.

Spend money on other people


A study by the Harvard Business School revealed that the happiest people are those who give the most money to charity and to others, rather than splurging on themselves.

And no, it wasn't just millionaires, or those with cash to spare.

It applied to everyone in the study - regardless of what they earned.

Count your blessings


People who wrote down three good things that happened to them every night were significantly happier than the control group, another Harvard study showed.

The good things can be simple - someone giving up their seat for you on the bus, or getting a 'well done' from your boss.

Delay gratification


Anticipating happiness actually makes you happy. In his book, Stumbling on Happiness professor of Psychology Daniel Gilbert explains that that it's human nature to forestall an enjoyable event.

Participants who were told they'd won a meal at a posh French restaurant all opted to redeem their prize a week into the future, rather than that evening.

It seems sitting down to a free melting wagon of brie is even better once you've spent a few days salivating in anticipation.

Get loved up


People in relationships are generally found to be happier than other people, and spouses have the highest sense of well-being whether they are happily married or not, according to a study from Cornell University.

It's all about commitment - the stronger the person felt their relationship was, the happier they were.

Get to work quickly


OK so nobody enjoys spending an hour getting to work (unless, of course, you can plug into your iPad and spend the time catching up on Game of Thrones), but scientists say that the optimal time for a commute is a speedy 20 minutes.

The study, conducting on behalf of Yeo Valley, revealed that a lengthy commute can affect your health and fitness too.

Act happy


We're not suggesting you go round with a grin plastered on your face at all times, but acting happy when you're sad can actually make you feel better.

A 1989 study had respondents making a long 'e' sound, which replicates a smile. They then compared this with the 'u' sound, which forces the mouth into more of a pout.

The people reported feeling happier after the 'e'.

Scientists deduced that the simple act of smiling can cause people to experience happy feelings.

Any suggestions to add to the list? Tweet us @handbagcom

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