Happy people seem to get through life easier. They too have problems, but it looks like they resolve them without as much drama or suffering. Happy people are luckier in life. Good things come their way without effort. Were they born this way? Maybe, but many just have happy habits. There are lots of things you can do to boost your mood. Most are free and easy.
[bctt tweet=”Practice happiness long enough and you are no longer practicing, but being!”]
Are you ready to learn how to be happy? Here are 7 free ways to start with today:
For the scientific readers, there is empirical evidence that laughter works. It balances the immune system and if you laugh enough, it’s like 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Most of us don’t care about the science as much as how we feel when we laugh. The truth is, laughter makes you feel good inside and look good outside, too. If you can’t think of something to laugh about, hang with funny people or find something online to laugh about everyday. Try the gawker.com comment section, youtube’s funny animal videos, or some of my posts. (At least I hope I make you laugh sometimes.)
[bctt tweet=”Happiness (and laughter) is like peeing in your pants. Everyone can see it but only you can feel its warmth.”]
This suggestion may be awkward for some non touchy – feely readers. But hugging feels great. I am Cuban. Culturally, we Cubans kiss and hug most everyone. It is our handshake replacement and a great way to break the ice when meeting someone, if socially appropriate.
I have a present for you, but I need to borrow your arms for wrapping paper.
DISCLAIMER OF THE OBVIOUS: stick with hugs and kisses with people you know or are meeting on a personal level. I would avoid hugs during a job interview or if being pulled over for speeding. Don’t email me later that you got arrested for disorderly conduct for trying to hug a cop during a traffic stop, okay?
3. think, “love!”
A wise man told me once, “If you are pissed that someone just cut you off, it’s time to think, love!” Thank you, wise man, Christopher Powers.
To simplify: when someone or something upsets you, take that moment to think to yourself, “Oh! I am really angry right now, it’s time for love!” My time for love is simply a thought. Usually, I think of a very brief memory I have of my dog Charli, as a puppy. I was laying on the floor and she came running, all chubby and cute, slid and crashed into me, clumsily climbed up and licked my ears and face enthusiastically with her puppy breath. I feel instantly better reliving this moment.
Think of your “love” cue. How about the feeling of your child’s tiny hands on your face? Or the moment you and your spouse kissed during a pretty sunset? It can be an action, too, like calling someone you love to see how they’re doing.
[bctt tweet=”If someone you love pushes your buttons, thank them for knowing you so well they can piss you off.”]
Anger averted, next?
4. eat chocolate
I cheated on this one. Chocolate is often not free. But it can be if it’s a gift…
The boring science part: Chocolate has compounds that when consumed, positively alter your brain chemicals. The funny science part: a Canadian study examining the link between chocolate and happiness ended with no conclusive results because the control group that received no chocolate raided the refrigerator where the chocolate for the study was stored. [source: Canadian Medical Association].
Take a moment each day to have a bite of chocolate. If you hate chocolate, replace it with whatever food makes you happy. Maybe a glass of wine, a bowl of cherries, some ice cream, whatever. The point is, have a bite or a sip, relish the moment and smile!
5. go outside
Regardless of whether you work in an office or stay home, schedule at least one 15 minute break a day. Leave everything behind and take a walk. Enjoy the fresh air, the people watching or scenery and slow down. Don’t think about anything but the moment – everything else will be waiting for you when you go back inside.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Committing to a meditation routine created the biggest change in my life. Meditation takes work, believe it or not! It is hard for humans to just sit there and not think. But if you can manage to find a place to sit comfortably but with good posture, and focus on nothing but every single breath for 10 minutes a day, you will see a big change in your life, too.
A successful meditation routine will bring you peace of mind, a new perspective on things, better health and often, a good night’s sleep.
[bctt tweet=”The best meditation effect is the positive state I experience and use daily to compare how I feel.”]
I am really sensitive now to when I am emotionally off balance or just about to get really pissy. Although uncomfortable, it is great because I can get back on track to being happy before I go too far over the edge.
There are many ways you can meditate. From simple mindfulness where you breathe to active visualizing, yoga or Tai Chi. With practice you can take your zen time anywhere. Even when doing the dishes.
7. say “screw it” more often
[bctt tweet=”Screw your past, don’t let it screw you. -Unknown”]
If you have read my about page, I talk about being in the PBP (paralyzed by perfectionism) club. I tend to procrastinate while I wait for conditions to be perfect and miss out. Act in the moment. Don’t dwell in past errors and fears. Avoid thinking about too far in the future. Enjoy the present moment’s inspiration to do something and go with it! Forget trying to be perfect all the time. Get started and work the details out as you go!
Sometimes you need a break. Just say, “screw it” and put your to-do list in the tomorrow pile. Find something worth enjoying. How about playing longer with your kids or dog at the cost of the dinner schedule? Or a movie matinée?
When things get a little intense or it’s just too hard to make things happen, it is also okay to say “screw it!” Accept and live with things as they are that moment, or say screw it and walk away to do something better. You may find that all obstacles are cleared once you come back, refreshed and happy.
What free “how to be happy” tip would you add to this list?