Helping someone in need—whether it's holding the door open or helping a friend pack boxes for an upcoming move—not only makes you feel happier, it also does wonders for your health, Lombardo says. "People who volunteer tend to live longer, have greater confidence, more happiness, and better health," she says. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment, as well as a connection with others, all of which help boost happiness and sense of self-worth. Even small gestures like giving up your seat on the train or letting a frazzled traveler cut in the security line are just as effective at boosting happiness as bigger actions like volunteering at the soup kitchen or building a Habitat for Humanity house.
Your action plan: Try a random act of kindness today—pay for someone's toll behind you on the freeway or shovel the snow off your neighbor’s driveway. It’ll make both of your days!