Think of the last time you committed to something. Maybe it was a diet, or a resolution to read more often. How did you frame it in your mind?
Oh, I’ll start that tomorrow.
How many times have you said that very thing to yourself, only to find your original motivation gone by the time the sun comes up? Happiness isn’t something that should come with a start time. And doing little things that make you happy don’t need to just get mindlessly added to a to-do list.
We’ve pulled together a list of 10 small ways to boost your happiness today. Right now. But most importantly, take what serves you and leave the rest. You don’t have to feel left out if each of these items wouldn’t make you happier, either.
Go Get The Mail
Get the mail, take the dog around the block once, bring the trash cans in from the curb. Just get up from where you are and move your body outside. It might not be the infamous 7-minute workout, but moving around can improve your mood. The added benefits of a few minutes of vitamin D on your mood are very real too. Just 10 minutes in the sun can be enough. And if you spend the time doing a chore, you can also feel good about that, too. Let’s call this one a triple whammy.
Take That Nap
The power nap is famous for a reason — it works. Take 15 minutes to rest and reap the benefits immediately. You can have better short and long term memory, improved mood and maybe even cut down a bit on the afternoon coffee run. More workplaces these days are acknowledging the benefits of the power nap, making it less awkward to power down in the middle of the day.
Pick Up A Magazine
Do you enjoy reading, but you’re struggling to start a book right now? Try a lower commitment model. The newspaper, a magazine or even a long-form online article can hit those same pleasure centers of your brain. Plus, it might even motivate you to finally hit the library again. Oh, and there’s absolutely no shame in only reading the Sunday funnies.
Message A Friend
Phone calls can seem like a monumental task, even for the people we love. Shoot a message or text to a friend and chat for a bit. You don’t have to have groundbreaking revelations or reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in a decade. Just a friendly conversation with a few jokes between pals is plenty.
Do Some Star Gazing
It’s been shown that looking at something that feels awe-inspiring can have an impact on your mental health. Grab a blanket and find a good spot to view some stars or beautiful scenery.
Hold The Door
Do something small but nice for someone else. You could hold the door for them, compliment a particularly sassy scarf or simply offer a warm smile. It can be a stranger, but it can also be your partner or coworker. Wherever you are now, think of some way to interact positively with the people around you. You may just trick your brain into feeling happier, too.
Pop In Some Headphones
Do you enjoy listening to music? We’re not here to judge you on your playlist. Whether you’re jamming out to some EDM, cruising to bluegrass or reliving your high school days with heavy metal, just listen to what you love. This doesn’t have to be the time you try to figure out what jazz is all about (unless that sort of thing makes you happy). Just feel comfortable in your own preferences and don’t feel any shame about your love for showtunes and Disney songs.
It’s not just about music, though. Audiobooks are a great way to unwind or entertain yourself during an otherwise boring part of your day. Podcasts are similarly fun to listen to and engage with. There are plenty of options out there — though if you keep returning to an old favorite go right ahead. If you’re lucky, they have a backlog a mile long for your to listen to.
We mean it on this one, no cheating! It’s time to say (out loud) the things you’re grateful for in your life. It can be your cat. It can be the sandwich you’re eating for lunch. It can be the existence of red wine and craft beer. It can most definitely be the people you love. The key point here is that you have to say it out loud. Verbalizing your gratitude makes it feel more real, plus it’ll help the memory stick around a little longer. So the next time you’re tempted to get down on yourself, you can remember the time you embarrassed yourself by telling an empty room just how much you love your new pens.
Do you have an event you’re looking forward to? A vacation you’d like to take? Pull up that Pinterest board and a pad of paper and get to planning! Some people like planning out their meals for the week and get a kick out of looking up new recipes. Others are much more into looking up all the best spots to go fishing along the river. Maybe you’d like to plan a killer look for the big bash a friend is throwing. Spend a few minutes anticipating a pleasant future event.
The internet is a strange yet often wonderful place. We have so much information at our fingertips that it can be overwhelming at times. Set yourself a limit — say, 15 minutes — and take a little dive into whatever topic interests you at the moment. You can watch YouTube videos on how to do a certain makeup technique or read a blog post on rewiring your ceiling fan. Whatever strikes your fancy. The object is to simply walk away with more information in your noggin than what you started with. Bonus points for sharing that knowledge with another curious party.