How to "Treat Yo Self," According to Science


In the Parks and Recreation universe, October 13 is considered the absolute best day of the year. For the uninitiated, it’s the day where you’re required to treat yo self — be it with massages, mimosas, or fine leather goods.

But while characters Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle certainly understand how to make the most out of a day of luxury (think red carpet shoes and a Mercedes-Benz ML350), science warns that material goods aren’t necessarily the best way to hack happiness. Here’s how to really treat yo self today.

Get hypnotized

A team of Stanford scientists published research this June arguing that hypnosis is an extremely effective tool for combating pain, anxiety, and stress. That’s because when someone is hypnotized, body awareness melts away while the part of the brain that causes self-reflection is ignited. This allows the person who’s hypnotized to access past emotions and memories, ideally in a way that helps with mental health. Why roll around in cashmere when you can hypnotize your way into ultimate relaxation?

Have sex

If you have sex only one day this week, make it today. University of Toronto researchers asked 25,510 Americans ages 18 to 89 about their sex lives and found that, yes, more sex means an uptick in happiness. But when the researchers took a closer look, they found that peak happiness levels topped off when a couple in a relationship got busy once a week. If you haven’t indulged this week, get to it.

Go outside

Being outside in nature is crazy good for you. Time spent outdoors improves mood and concentration while also boosting immune systems, accelerating recovery time from surgeries, and lowering blood pressure. A 2010 study found that the energy you get from being outside is more effective than a cup of coffee. Nature — cheaper than mink coats and more likely to make you feel like a million bucks.

Treat yo self.


Remember how dope you are

In her extensive research into what makes people happy, psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirksy has determined that we can control at least 40 percent of our own happiness through something called “happiness-sustaining” strategies, like spending eight minutes every day recalling positive memories. In similar research, a team of Japanese and American scientists found that counting one’s own acts of kindness significantly helped people feel happier and more grateful — the very essence of treat yo self, indeed.

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