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How to be happier: 10 ideas

Categories: Your life

7 comments

I’m not a happy-go-lucky person, by nature, nor do I paint everything in bleak colors. Kind of middle of the road, I suppose, in the mood department. But lately I’ve been having too many bad mood days — possibly having to do with endless investor meetings that leave me feeling beaten down and stupid or never-ending horrible economic news, which just. don’t. stop. So the constructive side of me is kicking in with some ideas to get back to my usual OK mood (or hey, good mood would be even better.) Here’s what I’ve thought up and will attempt to try on a somewhat regular basis:

1. Turn off the news. In my spinning class this morning the instructor told us to not think about work, the news, the economy and just focus on being there, on our bikes, and working our asses off. The workout was hard but I found it relaxing because I was completely disconnected from learning about the latest stock market nightmare.

2. Write down 3 things that you’re grateful for in your life. We should all do this, daily. There is enough research to show that one of the ways to be happier is to say thanks for what you have in your life more often.

3. Move it! Outside, if possible. A 10 minute brisk walk is an awesome distraction from whatever is making you unhappy and it gets your blood going, giving you more energy to do something about your bad mood. If you can squeeze in a rigorous, can’t-think-about-anything-else workout, even better.

4. Talk to an optimist. I have a wonderful friend who is an optimist by nature, always seeing the positive side of things. When I am down, I call her. Kind of like an optimist life-line.

5. Start creating one positive habit. I swear it will make you feel better about the rest of your life. Commit to drinking more water, remembering friends’ birthdays, getting regular exercise, shaping up your finances or having family dinner once a week. Just start.

6. Plan something fun. Knowing that you will engage in a fun activity later on can make you happier right now. Schedule a date night with your significant other. Order a book you’re dying to read. Give yourself something to look forward to.

7. Get more sleep. Yes, I know we’re all struggling to get more sleep (raising my hand here), but endless studies show that you need to be well-rested to feel better. If you can’t do it every night, dedicate 2 nights a week to getting more than 7 hours of sleep.

8. Buy some happiness. Money does not buy happiness but a little retail therapy can be an instant mood lifter. Check out our Affordable Luxuries blog for some inexpensive inspiration. Buying a gift for someone else also works, here are some ideas for creative gifts under $20.

9. Do something for someone else. Taking the focus off your own issues and making another person happy will make you happier. Guaranteed. Last Friday, after another rollercoaster week, I got a bunch of gourmet groceries and wine, and with my daughter went to spend the evening with my grandparents. They couldn’t be more excited and I felt completely rejuvenated afterwards.

10. Don’t expect too much. Life is tough, we can’t all walk around glowing with happiness all the time. Focus on finding little moments and glimpses of happiness in your everyday life. Like this Kukicha tea I am having right now — it tastes damn awesome and that makes me happy.

Now share — what are you tips to be happier?



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7 comments so far...

  • Very true. The people around you can effect your moods terribly. When the glass is half empty, I knock it over and laugh!

    And if no one laughs with you, that’s okay too. They’ll understand someday.

    Desi  |  October 8th, 2008 at 11:18 am

  • I like what you say about sleep. That’s what I do, dedicate two days a week to get about 8-9 hours of sleep. It feels good, really really good.

    In fact, today, thanks to the Yom Kippur holiday, I committed to going to sleep early. Looking forward.

    vera babayeva  |  October 8th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  • This is great, Nataly! I use a few of the above, but definitely need more sleep.

    Angella  |  October 8th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

  • i love this! i am generally an optimist, but we have our downtimes too. the thing that helps me the most is to recognize that i am not happy and then start thinking of things that DO make me happy! Somedays it is simply the fact that i can look out the window. other days the list is quite long!

    the more you look for happy, the more you will find it!

    Kate  |  October 8th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  • #3 & #10 are my faves!

    I want to add #11.

    Get out of debt & have 3-6 mo. cash reserves.

    I know, I know, easier said than done, but my biggest stress-inducer is always moolah - whether that translates to finding/keeping employment, being happy with said employment, paying the bills, communicating with husband, saying no to children. Take $$ worries away, and I really can be optimistic.

    ajb  |  October 8th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  • I hear you on the ‘turning off the news’ part. I’m afraid my husband probably thinks I bury my head in the sand when it comes to world news, but i prefer the “ignorance is bliss” adage. Not that I’m not aware, mind you, I just don’t read it all the time because it’s often so hard to take.
    Tabitha @ http://www.fromsingletomarried.com

    Tabitha (From Single to Married  |  October 9th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  • I am much happier when I have less on my plate. I said “NO” to a Tastefully Simple party, a Halloween Party and to a close cousin who invited himself over for a spontaneous dinner ALL this week. It was hard to do, but I fell really good about it! Now, I’ll save money, eliminate the stress of finding a unique costume and gain a bit more time at home with my family. Happy!

    Vicky from VickyandJen.com  |  October 17th, 2008 at 9:19 am

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