We all know we’re supposed to drink water — preferably at least 64 oz. (that’s 8 cups!) every day. But did you know that drinking water can actually make you happier? Consider this:
Water increases alertness.
Water flushes toxins from your body.
Water energizes muscle tissue.
Water makes your skin look better.
Feeling less tired, more energetic and looking better will definitely contribute some positive feelings to your day. So, to quote Tony Horton, “Drink your water, people!” — and be happier because of it!
#16: Read a Book.
When you’re having trouble turning off sad, stressful or otherwise unhappy thoughts, sometimes there is no better escape than into a good book. Books are better than television or movies for this purpose because they are a “cool medium,” meaning they require more active participation. When you’re watching a screen, you have all the details presented to you, which ironically allows your mind to wander back to those unfortunate thoughts if you’re not entirely engrossed. But a book requires you to paint scenery, to compose soundtracks and voices, to insert tone and facial expression and mannerisms and even unwritten feelings — all with your own mind!
And beyond the science, we can gain so much from books, from solutions to problems to comfort in knowing we’re all in this thing called life together. As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” F. Scott Fitzgerald expanded on that sentiment: “That is the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
So if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, pick up a book, and let it help you find your way to happiness again.
After surviving Y2K, humankind was handed a prosthetic limb. This artificial device lives in the cradle of our hands and, for all its usefulness, has craned our necks and stolen our time. It speaks for us, wakes us up in the morning, and sometimes even handles our finances. You may even be reading this on it right now.
We’re looking at you, Cell Phone.
There is a solution to this epidemic, and it doesn’t require cutting the already non-existent cord. Simply take an hour or two away from your cell phone — preferably every day if you can, though it’s fine to start out more slowly if that thought makes you panicky. Just turn it off, stow it away and let it rest. It’s that simple. Get outside and enjoy the weather. Read a book. Talk to a friend without distraction. Let your mind feel free to do what it wants.
Remember the nostalgia of landlines? Receiving a phone call was like finding a postcard with your name on it. When you get away from your phone for a while, you start to get that feeling back. Your phone stops being a burden, tethering you to constant connectedness, and becomes a way to connect on your terms once again.
Return to the freedom of yesteryear. You’ll be happier for it!
#14: Write a Letter.
Isn’t it wonderful when you get something other than a bill or junk in your mailbox? How about returning the favor? Make your own postcards—take a picture, find a placard, and write a story.
If you don’t think your life is interesting enough for the back of a postcard, then consider this a challenge. Get out and explore your surroundings.
Send your postcards to friends and family, or even use your google to find a pen pal. Encourage people to write back by asking questions—quirky inquires preferred! Have fun with your words. Write them out by hand. You can even use a fancy pen!
Sharing your life with others and having them share with you is a very happy thing indeed.
Wishing you happiness,
Your friends at Crafting Smiles
Don’t forget to send your letter off with a SMILE!
#13: Take a Road Trip.
A routine life can feel trivial; troubles can stack up in your mind as cruise control chauffeurs you mindlessly back and forth from mundane day job to a body-melded position in front of the TV.
You don’t have to travel far to take advantage of the benefits of a road trip. All you have to do is take time to get sidetracked, whether it’s an hour or a week. Roll down the windows. Turn off cruise control. Take a detour. Crank up one of your favorite tunes and sub your odometer for your shower head as a faux microphone. Or turn the music down and enjoy the soundtrack of life; it’s always a No. 1 hit.
Once you’ve driven for a while, park your car and relax for a bit. Look in the rear view mirror. See that beautiful person? Recognize that wonderful smile? Turns out that’s you — being happy.
You don’t have to ascribe to any one defined set of beliefs to have a moral compass. But you should make it a point to know what is right and wrong for your life. This isn’t about passing judgment on others; it’s about finding out what works for you. Try these ways to find your moral compass:
Research different belief systems and take note of what feels right to you — and what doesn’t.
Find a philosopher or other figure who speaks to your sensibilities.
Talk to people about their own moral compasses. Approach from a place of curiosity rather than argument.
A moral compass isn’t black and white; it’s directional to keep you on a path that feels right for your life. Knowing your own ethics helps you avoid situations that compromise your values and helps lead you toward happiness.
#11: Enjoy Nature.
There are many reasons to get out of your house or office and enjoy nature. Studies suggest that exposure to plants and fresh air can boost your immune system, and sunlight helps the body produce Vitamin D, which is is responsible for a host of both emotional and physical health benefits, from beating depression to bone health. And all of that is before you even factor in the happiness benefits of enjoying the beauty of nature like trees, birds, sunrises and sunsets and more. So get outside on a daily basis if you can, and let nature work its magic to make your life happier.
#10: Change Your Perspective.
Changing your perspective can mean a variety of things, from changing the way you think about something to getting out of your normal, everyday environment. Traveling forces you to face a different place with different people and different customs, but you don’t have to jump on a plane to practice changing your perspective. Here are some other ways to change your perspective.
Play tourist in your very own neighborhood, choosing to look at everything and everyone like you’ve never seen them before. Look up and look down to see things you’ve probably missed before.
Stand on a chair or lay on the floor of a room you use every day.
Next time you find yourself getting into an angry exchange with someone, try to stand in their shoes (metaphorically of course — actually trying to stand in their shoes might make things worse!). Think about what their circumstances might be and how you would feel in their position. You might be surprised at how the situation looks from a different angle.
Changing perspective is good for your brain and a great way to increase happiness.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane tasks of life: paying bills, doing chores, commuting to and from work. But that doesn’t mean the world isn’t full of wonders, too. If you ask the world to show you wondrous things, it always will. Whether it’s a glorious sunset, or a random act of kindness, a strange object on the side of the road, or a curious exchange between two people across the street, cultivate in yourself a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity and use your imagination to fill the gaps.
Time has a funny way of disappearing if you’re not paying attention. If something’s important to you, then make time for it. Whether it’s spending time with your loved ones, working on a passion project, or even just relaxing with a good book, set aside a specific bit of time so that it doesn’t get lost amidst the chores and tasks of everyday life. As the adage goes, there’s a time for everything, and setting a schedule can help you find the time for the things that make you happy.