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Scientists say these 25 habits can help you feel happier and healthier


master of none happy

We all have a remarkable capacity to make ourselves happier.

Each of the little things we do to boost our mood — from reading an adventure story to keeping a gratitude journal or even gazing up at the stars on a clear night — can add up to greater overall satisfaction.

But happiness doesn't come easy. We have to work at it. 

Here are some of the things that psychologists and social science researchers have found that have the power to lift your spirits and keep them high. Take a look:

UP NEXT: 17 'healthy habits' you're better off giving up

SEE ALSO: 35 science 'facts' that are totally wrong

Write down 3 things you're grateful for.

Keeping tabs on the things you feel lucky to have in your life is a great way to boost your mood.

In a recent study from psychologists at UC Davis, researchers had 3 groups of volunteers keep weekly journals focused on a single topic. While one group wrote about major events that had happened that week, the second group wrote about hassles they'd experienced, and the last group wrote about things they were grateful for.

Ten weeks later, those in the gratitude-journal group reported feeling more optimistic and more satisfied with their lives than those in any of the other groups and reported fewer physical symptoms of discomfort, from runny noses to headaches.

Go on a hike or gaze up at the stars on a clear night.

Awe is a powerful — even awesome, you might say — human emotion. And a handful of recent studies have found a link between experiencing a sense of awe — that feeling you get when you look up at a starry sky or out across a wide open valley — with feeling less stressed and more satisfied.

People who've recently had an awe-inspiring experience are also more likely to say they feel more curious about the world around them and to act more generously toward others.

Move to Switzerland.

Ok, moving to Switzerland might not make you happy, but people who live there are some of the happiest in the world, according to the 2015 World Happiness Report, a ranking compiled by an international team of economists, neuroscientists, and statisticians to measure global well-being.

One of the report's key findings, based on decades of neuroscientific and psychological research, suggests that keeping the brain happy relies on 4 main factors, which include staying positive, recovering from negative feelings, spending time with loved ones, and being mindful.

"These findings highlight the view that happiness and well-being are best regarded as skills that can be enhanced through training," the researchers write in their report.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 50 coolest new businesses in America


4x3_50 coolest new businesses 2015

Dozens of cool, innovative businesses pop up across the US every day, bringing new technologies, entertainment options, and services to their local communities.

Throughout the year, we've highlighted several of these small, independent businesses that have opened over the past five years or so in New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Portland, Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and now we've scoured the rest of the country for inventive new ventures.

From a pizza oven on wheels to a boutique where everything's free — with a catch, of course — there are plenty of smart places to check out. Read on to see our top 50.

Editing by Alex Morrell. Additional reporting by Lauren Browning.

SEE ALSO: The 29 coolest new businesses in New York City

SEE ALSO: The 19 coolest new businesses in San Francisco

5 Rabbit Cervecería

6398 W. 74th St., Bedford Park, Illinois

What it is: A Latin-influenced craft brewery that bases its beers on Aztec culture.

Why it's cool: Located just outside Chicago, the first Latin microbrewery, or cervecería, in the US infuses its brews with ancho chili, piloncillo cane sugar, and other Latin flavors. Inspired by an Aztec myth, 5 Rabbit names all of its beers to coincide with the Aztec calendar.

Angela & Roi

Online, based in Boston, Massachusetts

What it is: A handbag company that has a unique charity-donation policy.

Why it's cool: Angela & Roi handbags come in all sorts of colors, but when choosing, most customers don't just think about the color they like; they also think about the "color" they're donating to. A portion of each bag sale goes to the charity whose color coordinates with the bag — red is for HIV/AIDS, pink is for breast cancer, and so forth. Angela & Roi bags are also eco-conscious, made without animal products or sweatshop labor.


Online, based in Denver, Colorado

What it is: A brand that believes in ethically produced clothing and dressing up every day.

Why it's cool: This online retailer based in Denver claims to make it easier to get dressed in the morning, whether you’re running errands, heading to work, or grabbing coffee with a friend. This fair-trade fashion label was created by E.A. Lepine, a designer intent on trading lazy-day yoga pants for casual, comfortable, and trendy dresses.

All items sold at Arrowroot are sewn by a group of seven women in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The women earn fair wages — about $10 to $12 an hour, enough to support a family — and healthcare benefits.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 20 best business books of 2015


elon musk

Whether you're looking for a last-minute gift or want to make sure you didn't miss a must-read, it's worth checking out the year's best business stories, career guides, and management studies.

From a biography of Elon Musk to a look inside Google's management structure and an introduction to behavioral economics, we've picked our favorite business books of 2015.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most popular free online courses for professionals

DON'T MISS: 33 business books every professional should read before turning 30

'Elon Musk' by Ashlee Vance

Musk is the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. He says his mission in life is to prevent the human race from destroying itself.

Vance, a Bloomberg Business reporter, gained unprecedented access to Musk and those closest to him. He paints a picture of a man who has always felt a desire to change the world despite having difficulty finding his place in it, and an inspiring leader whose intensity can sometimes be difficult for the people he works with.

Find it here >>

'Work Rules!' by Laszlo Bock

Since joining Google as its senior vice president of People Operations in 2006, Bock has seen the company transform into a powerful global business, growing from 6,000 employees to nearly 60,000. In that same time, Google has regularly topped lists of the best places to work.

Bock takes readers behind the scenes and explores the management strategies that have helped make Google exceptional, from differentiating between employee development and performance and "paying unfairly."

Find it here >>

'Misbehaving' by Richard Thaler

Thaler is an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business best known as "the father of behavioral economics."

In traditional economics, people are presumed to be purely rational actors; in reality, people's decisions are also influenced by biases and impulses that often have nothing to do with logic.

"Misbehaving" serves as an introduction into Thaler's way of understanding markets, and it's filled with his colorful wit.

Find it here >>

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

25 mountains everyone should ski in their lifetime


Riksgränsen, Sweden

Ski bums and boarders follow the powder around the world to get the chance to shred the slopes at the best ski resorts. From ritzy Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado, to the steep terrain of Cerro Catedral in Argentina, here are 25 mountains that all skiers and boarders should visit in their lifetime.

Julie Zeveloff contributed to this story.

SEE ALSO: The 11 most underrated ski resorts in America

Ski or snowboard in the shadow of the Matterhorn at Zermatt, Switzerland's iconic ski town.

With a vertical drop of 4,105 feet and 116 trails for expert, intermediate, and beginner skiers, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has something for all skill levels. The Wyoming mountain was ranked the No. 1 overall resort by Ski Magazine in 2013.

Conquer the Andes Mountains at Valle Nevado, a ski resort just outside Santiago, Chile. After a day of skiing, don't forget to have a Pisco Sour on the outdoor deck.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

20 stunning portraits from the 'Humans of New York' photographer's interviews with Syrian refugees

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The BBC designed a fun quiz inspired by psychologists to test how dark your personality is — and you can take it now


the joker the dark knight

If you've ever wondered how evil you are, now there's a test you can take to find out.

Although the quiz was designed "solely for entertainment," it still offers an interesting (if unscientific) glimpse into your personality.

The BBC designed the quiz, which was inspired by questionnaires developed by psychologists Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones.

Psychologists have defined a "dark triad" of personality traits: 

  1. Machiavellianism - being manipulative
  2. Narcissism - loving yourself too much
  3. Psychopathy - lack of empathy

High scores on these three traits suggests you're a malevolent person, though of course the quiz is still just for fun. Still, some actual studies have linked the traits to negative behaviors like aggression and sexual coercion.

Originally, each of the "dark triad traits" was tested separately, but in 2010, Peter Jonason and Gregory Webster developed a combined test. Four years later, Paulhus and Jones developed a another version of the test. That's the one the BBC quiz is based on.

You can take the quiz here.

The quiz presents a series of statements, such as "I like to use clever manipulation to get my way" and "You should wait for the right time to get back at people," and then asks you to select how much you agree with each (from strongly agree to strongly disagree).

dark personality test

I took the test, and scored the result "Infrequently vile — you mostly put others before yourself, though you may find occasions in which you dark side shines."

Take it for yourself and see how malevolent you are!

CHECK OUT: This personality test can signal if you have selfish or manipulative tendencies

NOW READ: A scientist who studies psychopaths found out he was one by accident — and it completely changed his life

Join the conversation about this story »

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21 heartbreaking photos of the ongoing refugee crisis


refugee greece

Instability throughout large parts of the world in 2015 have furthered exacerbated a growing refugee crisis in Turkey, parts of the Middle East, and throughout Europe. 

Coming from war zones in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and portions of sub-Saharan Africa, the refugees have been driven towards Europe with the hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their families. The scope of the crisis is almost impossible to grasp: in 2015, over 1 million refugees have entered Europe alone. 

To give an idea of the struggles that so many have faced, we have compiled 21 of the most heartbreaking images of the ongoing refugee crisis.

A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece's border with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015.

A local man helps a Syrian refugee who jumped off board from a dinghy as he swims exhausted at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos on September 17, 2015.

A girl holds her toys as Macedonian policemen block refugees at the Greek-Macedonian borders, near the village of Idomeni, Greece November 20, 2015.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 17 best books of the year, according to readers


Why Not Me Mindy Kaling

No one knows good books better than the people who read them.

Book recommendation sharing website Goodreads just released its 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards chosen by readers themselves.

Goodreads users rated books that were published this year in a number of genres; the highest-rated book in each was declared the winner.

Keep scrolling to see the best books from 2015.

SEE ALSO: 25 books that will blow your mind

FICTION: "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee

In the sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout Finch, now 26, returns to Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. When she learns some unsavory information about her family and her hometown, it stirs up old memories in what was then a region stuck in the middle of the tense Civil Rights movement.

Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" continues the stories of Maycomb, Alabama's most beloved characters.

Buy the book here »

NONFICTION: "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

In "Modern Romance," comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg take a hilarious and intelligent look at what it's like to date in the digital age.

Speaking both on- and off-stage with fans from around the world, Ansari and Klinenberg examine the way in which dating has changed over the last few decades, and how the internet has made it better... or worse. Ansari injects his own humor and personal experience into this exploration of love and the paradox of choice.

Buy the book here »

MYSTERY/THRILLER: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

Every day Rachel takes the commuter train to London, and every day she passes the same house occupied by a couple who seem perfect. Rachel gives them names and even makes up a backstory about their life together. That is, until one day, when the train passes by and Rachel sees something disturbing. She becomes wrapped up in the lives of people she only knew in her imagination, who it turns out may not be so perfect after all.

Hawkins' "Girl on the Train" is a masterful thriller that chills from beginning to end.

Buy the book here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The most incredible world records of 2015

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