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Help others.

Studies have shown that people around the world say they feel happy when they spend money on other people or give to charity. Research has found that even toddlers act happier when they help others.

Helping others doesn't require giving lots of your time or money. Even small gifts can make you feel happier, Carter says. For instance:

  • Pay a bridge or highway toll for yourself and the person behind you.
  • Smile at people and ask how they're doing.

These gestures can give others a sense that people are kind and the world is a better place, she says. And you come away happy that you're a force of good in the world.