Most of my days are good days. Even when I’m depressed, I tend to have pretty good days in general – because I’m very improvement-focused. When I have a bad day, I go over it with Pace and see what I could’ve done better to turn it around. In general, it’s the little stuff that I do that makes me happier, and being happier makes every day better.
So I made you a list!
1) Unclench. When I go to bed every night, I used to make a fist under my pillow to prop up my head a little, but I realized that making a fist makes me tense. Now, I make a point to unclench my fist, every night, before I sleep – and that makes my jaw unclench, my shoulders unclench, all the way to my toes. Ahhh.
2) Smile more. Just turning up the corners of your mouth a tiny bit will tell your body that you’re happy, and that will actually increase your happiness. The bigger the smile, the greater the joy!
3) Be nice. If you’re nice, other people will be nice to you in return – and other people being nice to you will increase your own happiness.
4) Take a book everywhere. Staving off boredom increases the goodness of your day, and having a book handy gives you something to do when you wind up having to wait for more than a minute or two, keeping boredom at bay.
5) Dance in line. We all have to wait in line. It’s this weird thing we’re practically born knowing how to do. But there’s no rule saying you have to just stand there – get your groove on! It’s fun, it’s silly, and it makes you (and the people around you, though they’re sometimes loathe to admit it) happier.
6) Take 5-minute breaks. Even when you’re deeply engrossed in something fun, taking 5-minute breaks every 60-90 minutes gives you a breather and helps you spend your time on purpose. And spending your time on purpose helps you do more of what you love, which, naturally, makes your day better!
7) Breathe deeply. Take time out to breathe. And I’m not talking about intaking oxygen to survive – I’m talking about deep, cleansing, clearing breaths that stretch your lungs to capacity and fill you with airy goodness. Pause to take great, long, slow inhales and exhales for one (or more! more is better!) breath throughout your day, and you’ll find yourself calmer and happier for sure.
8) Wear sunglasses. Squinting in the sun is not only bad for your eyes, it’s bad for your mood. Squinting is a body-trigger to upsetness or anger or sleepiness. Popping on shades prevents squinting, which will help prevent those triggers from tanking your mood.
9) Wash your face. Splashing cool water on your face is refreshing; any time you’re feeling groggy, gritty, or grumpy, take a quick jaunt to the bathroom and wash up. It’s an instant mood-lifter.
10) Write already done things on your to-do list. The sheer pleasure of crossing things off a to-do list makes most of us happy, but sometimes we get distracted and wind up doing things not on the list. Solve that by adding those distractions to the list – and then cross ’em off! It’s powerfully awesome, and helps you keep track of what you’re actually doing all day.
11) Enjoy being forgetful. We’re all prone to being forgetful, I just enjoy the heck out of it. If you forget little things that make you happy, they get to make you happy over and over. Instead of getting down on yourself for forgetting something, enjoy getting to experience it again like it’s new!
12) Do small things right away. Putting off something you can do immediately with little effort adds to your stress. Taking the time to get up and do it right away will increase your happiness (and decrease that forgetfulness and the size of your to-do list!). This includes going to the bathroom. Seriously. Just go.
13) Give yourself permission to do silly things – and then do them. When we’re alone, we all sing in the car, we all pick our noses, we all dance like the Prime Minister. (My personal favorite is to listen to the same song a billion times in a row.) Give yourself permission to delight in the silly things, and then do them with wild abandon.
14) Go for short walks. It doesn’t have to be a long walk to get in better shape; just a slow meander around your block will lift your spirits. Heck, even a walk around the inside of your house can shake you out of a grump – it’s the change of scene and the little movement that gets you smiling again.
15) Give someone a hug. Touching someone and being touched are some of the best feelings. Hugs really get us grinning, even when we’re feeling foul. Even if the only person you hug is yourself (try it; it works and is fun and silly), that feeling of squeezy touchy connection is a powerful cheer-er upper.
Bonus! 16) Hide money in the couch or in your jacket pocket. This one’s a bonus because you probably won’t want to do it every day, but it’s simple and really awesome. Tuck a bill or two away somewhere, then forget it (there’s the power of forgetting!). After a while, you’ll find it – and it’s like winning the lottery! Hoo-yeah! Free money! Then spend it on something fun. I like to drop a five in my jacket pocket when the weather gets warm, because come cooler weather in the fall, I get a present from my past self!
What’re you waiting for? Get going – and have a brighter, happier day!
Have any other quick and simple tricks that brighten your day? Share ’em in the comments!