No Joke: 5 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Happiness
Happiness is not necessarily an elevated feeling. It can be a sense of well being, contentment, tranquility, or expansiveness. Sometimes it is a sense of accomplishment, belonging, or being useful. What do all those things have in common? They will put at least a half-smile on your face. A half smile is sometimes barely visible, but you can feel it tugging at your cheeks.
Half-smile (or more) Happiness Boosters
1. Once a day, be your opposite
Everyday, do at least one thing you don’t want to do; something that needs doing but is incredibly easy to put off. Sew the button back on your winter coat, organize a closet or workbench, vacuum out the car, or clean your golf clubs.
Those of you who are ever organized and efficient, you are not off the hook. You must do what you dislike as well. Put your feet up and read something enjoyable, play a game with the kids before you finish the cleaning, or have a cup of coffee or tea and daydream or doodle.
2. Get a new perspective on the same old thing
Find a magnifying glass and go outside. Explore your everyday environment through the looking glass. Check out the organic and the inorganic, local bugs, abstract patterns of paint chips or tree bark. It helps to pretend you are about four years old, an age when discovery was its own reward.
You can do this indoors, but be prepared to discover where you haven’t cleaned in a long time.
3. Set up a creative corner
Most of us have things we love to do but rarely have time for. Although, if you have everything you need for this treasured activity handy, it becomes very easy to spend five minutes here, ten minutes there, doing this thing that energizes you. Five minutes of something you love and value is far better than never having time for it. It allows you to tickle your passion, and you will be surprised how much gets done in short spurts of time.
For example, if you like writing poetry, keep a notebook, pen, thesaurus, and maybe a rhyming dictionary next to a favorite chair. If you are a knitter keep a basket, with a project that can be easily done a couple rows at a time, on the dining room or kitchen table.
4. Create one new, easy, healthy habit, such as:
- Eat a small handful of raw almonds everyday, or some other nutritious nut.
- Choose up to three stretching exercises that you enjoy and do it (them) before going to bed.
- Add a serving of vegetables to your daily diet (it’s easy to drink juice if you don’t want to cut up anything, or chew.
- Read something inspirational each morning or evening; one quote or a short paragraph will do.
- Stop snacking an hour (minimum) before crawling into bed.
5. Honor Your Feelings and Emotions
You don’t have to share how you feel with anyone, although at times it’s beneficial to spill those beans. One thing to always do is accept your feelingswithout judgment.
Our feelings and emotions often seem irrational. Why? They always reflect our authentic self, not the self we are careful to show others.
Whatever you feel, simply acknowledge it to yourself and be curious about it, such as, “How interesting, I feel angry, and I don’t know why.” (Although it’s helpful to know why, it is unnecessary.) Think of your feelings as an unexpected visitor coming by for an unknown reason, and your job is to say, “Welcome.”