Little things can increase your happiness and well-being in a big way.

By Jane Bianchi

Buying yourself a pricey necklace or splurging on a meal at a fancy restaurant may not make you any happier, says new research. Instead, try a leisurely stroll. Free or inexpensive activities enhance our sense of well-being more than costlier ones—even among lottery winners—the study found. "Spending time relaxing is the key," says study author Richard Tunney, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Nottingham in England.

The more frequently you indulge in the following simple pleasures, the more often you'll crack a smile:

  • Find a cozy spot, and curl up with a book.
  • Crank up the stereo and listen to music.
  • Enjoy a bar of chocolate with your husband.
  • Take a long snooze one weekend afternoon.
  • Devote time to your favorite hobby.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the March 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.