Cheer up: 22 Ways to Feel Happier

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” ~ Omar Khayyam

I love lists and the number one reason is that once I am in the moment or the mood if I have no list I often can’t think of a thing to do. I keep all sorts of lists; books to read; books I’ve already read; dinners to prepare; vacations I’d like to plan; restaurants we’d like to try; and it goes on.

So here’s is a list for those times you just want to put a little more spring in your step. My personal favorites are number 4 and number 7. What works for you when you need a pick me up? Do you have a go-to activity that usually cheers you up?

  1. Call someone that energizes you
  2. Go for a walk – walk fast and smile at everyone you pass. Even if you’re not in the mood, smile. It will actually make you feel better.
  3. Play your favorite upbeat song.
  4. Read something funny – Warning I had to read this book  in my car it got me laughing so hysterically.
  5. Write down three nagging tasks and take the next step on each one of them, no matter how small. Often we’re paralyzed by the seeming bigness of a task. Try breaking it down into smaller pieces: make the call, schedule the appointment, buy the tickets, return the blouse.
  6. Write a thank you note.
  7. Plan your next adventure – anticipation is a big part of the joy.
  8. Make a small commitment to yourself and stick to it. This is also one of the best ways to bolster your self esteem. No ice cream tonight? No drinking? No gossip? No swearing?
  9. Clear out clutterChoose one place to start a file; a drawer; your movie collection; your clothes; the refrigerator…
  10. Plan a date with a friend – Sometimes a little company is the best thing. Being a bit of an introvert I forget this but I always feel uplifted after a fun evening with a friend.
  11. Make a donation to your favorite charity.
  12. Dance in as crazy and uninhibited a way as you can until you break a sweat. Warning: if you’re self conscious it might make you happier to do this when no one is looking.
  13. Drink a glass of water and make sure you eat some green veggies or a fresh salad. When I was really down once I found that I was also eating the same sandwich day after day with almost no fresh greens. I know the sandwich wasn’t the problem but I don’t think it helped either.
  14. Go to a yoga class and focus on your breathing. That’s where the yoga really happens.
  15. Think back on the last time you had fun and write a no-editing stream of consciousness paragraph or two recalling that memory.
  16. Go to bed early. Plan to get eight hours of sleep. Set up your room to be a little relaxing haven for at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. Sit in bed, sip warm tea or hot cocoa, read, and snuggle in.
  17. Go outside – Breathe it in. Stretch out your arms as wide as you can.
  18. Think of one person you know that’s having a hard time. Now do the nicest thing you can think of for them.  It might be just sending a note of support, inviting them to dinner, or offering to keep them company while they have to deal with something.
  19. Stretch. Not as a warm up to something else but just for stretching sake. Find a nice wide open spot and do as many variations of slow gentle stretching as you can think of.
  20. Laugh a wild crazy laugh – Studies show that laughter is good therapy. It might feel ridiculous at first but then it begins to feel great. It’s so uplifting hear ourselves being happy.
  21. Hang out with a kid. Don’t think about yourself at all during this time. Play on their level: color, read, play cars, paper dolls, barbies. Let go and become fully absorbed in the moment.
  22. Give yourself a treat – Not the naughty kind that makes you feel bad later like a pair of $200 jeans or a huge slice of chocolate cake but the kind that really nurtures you. Do you need to have a little fun? Do you need some time alone? Do you need a day off? Do it! Life is now. It can’t be all about the practical.
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