5 Proven Ways to Have a Happier Grocery Shopping Trip

Turn your grocery run into a pleasure trip with these tips from happiness expert Amy Spencer, author of Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now.
woman shopping bag

1. First Stop, Produce!

Studies have shown that seeing green in nature—and even looking at images of greenery—can bring on feelings of well-being. Fill your cart with healthy greens. Your body and your mind will thank you.

2. Be Adventurous.

Researchers know that experiences (say, vacations or dinners out) make us happier than material things, so save room in your cart for something you can’t wait to play with. Nab a new spice to stir into your marinade, pick up a fruit your family hasn’t tried before, or grab ingredients for your favorite dessert and get excited for it while you shop. Chocolate cake, we’re coming for you!

3. Go Ahead, Say Hi!

A 2013 study from the University of British Columbia found that customers at a coffee shop who chatted with their barista got a happiness bump and felt a greater sense of belonging than the less social customers. So while you’re pushing your cart around, comment on your favorite seltzer flavor with a fellow shopper. Or ask the cashier about his weekend. Sort of like Cheers, but at the grocery store.

4. Look Forward to the Line. No, Really.

Think about it: How often do you get permission to just chill and reflect for a minute? Of course, if Zen contemplation isn’t your style, create a constructive distraction for yourself by texting a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, brainstorming a work idea, or scrolling through a funny online list—say, Bored Panda’s “15+ People Who Deeply Regret Shopping Online.” Just avoid Facebook, which studies (and experience) show may bum you out.

5. Shop to Your Own Beat.

Don’t settle for a supermarket’s playlist when you can walk the aisles listening to music that lifts your mood. Research by Dutch neuroscientist Jacob Jolij, Ph.D., found that the most feel-good songs are in a major key and share an average tempo of 140 to 150 beats per minute—and that two of the happiest tunes are Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” Just be sure to take your earbuds out and say hi to your cashier!