17 ways to get happy

the topic of happiness is intriguing to me. it means different things to different people, comes and goes without warning and sometimes remains more elusive than a trout covered in mayo. there have been volumes of books, millions of articles and tons of verbal conjecture about its every aspect. these are just a few ways i’ve observed to be effective through my own experience.

1. make a list. whether it’s things you need to do, stuff you want to buy, stuff you’re grateful for or a list of recipes you want to make … there’s something satisfying about a completed list in front of you. satisfaction is a not-too-distant cousin of happiness.

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2. pet a dog. make sure he doesn’t bite first, though. cats would probably work too, but i never get quite the same thrill from a feline.

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3. learn something. read a book, watch a documentary, scour a newspaper. committing a new fact to memory or picking up the necessary skills to de-seed a pomegranate will make you feel more powerful, interesting and balanced.

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4. move around a little. and drink some water! simple acts of health that on some days – can make all the difference.

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5. send a note to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. ask how she’s doing and share five things going on in your life. request for her to reciprocate with some staples of her life. human connection is vital.

6. watch an episode of a show you used to love, but haven’t seen in years. this will obviously vary, depending on your age, but some of my faves are dawson’s creek, saved by the bell and the wonder years. it transports you right back to how you felt when you saw it the first time. and let’s be honest: if you were younger, you probably had fewer problems.

7. create. draw, play music, bake, sing, make up a dance, paint, sculpt, craft, build … it’s why pinterest is so damn popular. it simulatesĀ all these activities that we’re just too lazy to actually do, so we get a temporary “half high” from pinning them (with EVERY intention of actually doing it someday…)

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8. book a trip. then read all about your destination and all the fun things you can do there.

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9. online shop without buying anything. this is a shallow one, so i apologize, but there’s something soothing and trance-inducing about pretending you have all the money in the world and throwing things into your cart willy nilly. honestly, i enjoy that way more than digging my credit card out of my wallet and hitting purchase anyway.

10. reorganize something. something about my type-a, control freak personality loves this sense of order.

11. go get coffee or tea somewhere alone and just sit in the cafe and people watch. (warning: if you are in a really foul mood … people’s behavior may incite your fury, but try to see the humorous side)

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12. do something seasonal. if it’s summer, go get ice cream. if it’s october, watch a scary movie. if it’s december, hang some lights! i like to think this is me embracing the present.

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13. jock. jams. ’nuff said.

14. do something unexpected. if it’s a tuesday night, and you were planning to just turn in at 9 after american idol like you usually do, say yes when your husband asks you to go get frozen yogurt. you won’t be sorry.

15. admit something that upsets you that you feel shouldn’t. lots of times, i pretend stuff doesn’t bother me because i logically reason that it shouldn’t. but it doesn’t work that way, and being honest with myself always makes me a lot happier.

16. look at pictures. we’re so lucky nowadays that old pictures are extremely accessible via facebook, instagram, etc.

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17. get your sh*t done. got laundry to do? dishes to wash? just do it. always better than letting it hang over your head while you procrastinate.

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