Because it's a whole lot better than being sad.
Want to be happier? Do these two twenty things:
1. Be in the moment. Since happiness in a decision, decide each moment to be happy in that moment and enjoy what that moment has to offer. The past is gone and can not be changed. The future and all it's worries has not happened yet. Be present now and purpose in your heart to be happy in the now.
2. Take a dog for a walk. There are numerous studies that attest to the stress-relieving benefits of pets. They are there when you need a friend; they jump on you at the funniest moments; they lick your face or purr; they bring joy and companionship. Enjoy your pet.
3. Laugh out loud. Watch an old George and Gracie show. Listen to a comediene on Comedy Central. Pull out the old Monty Python shows and watch them again. Laughter is good for the soul.
4. Scent the air. Research finds that the benefits of aromatherapy in relieving stress are real. Citrus scents like Orange or Lemon add an instant burst of joy, and deeper scents like Rose and Sandalwood help relieve stress and bring peace.
5. Go to sleep. Our nation is a nation of overworked, sleep-deprived people, so to increase your happiness, take a daily nap. You are more likely to be happy and healthy when you are rested.
6. Ignore the stock market. As you go through your day, if you are constantly checking the Dow Jones, you are frittering away valuable time and setting yourself up for anxiety. As you go through your daily journey, just let go of that DJIA -- increase your productivity and reduce the stress of worrying about "the crash." After all, money does not equal happiness!
7. Hum along. Music soothes more than the savage beast! Music can affect our mood and express our emotions, so to choose happiness, choose music with an up tempo and a pleasant beat in major chords. Choose music that feeds your soul like Narada or music that has a happy memory associated with it, like Kenny Chesney's song: "I Go Back."
8. Visit a quiet place. Libraries, museums, gardens, and places of worship are all places that can calm, soothe, de-stress and bring back the happiness to your fast-paced, crazy life. Relax with a favorite book, remember how the west was won, stop to smell the roses, or reconnect with your spiritual side.
9. Declutter. It's nearly impossible to meditate, breathe deeply, or simply relax when every surface is covered. Decluttering will allow freedom, movement and new energy to flow through your room. Decluttering is a healing, renewing, energizing activity. Decluttering promotes a sense of achievement and accomplishment!
10. Volunteer. Helping others enables you to put your own problems into perspective. When you sit all day and only think of yourself, it's easy to focus on the negatives, but when you give to a charity and give of your time, you remember that there are those less fortunate than you and you feel a sense of self-satisfaction for helping another.
11. Just say no. Eliminate activities that aren't necessary and that you don't enjoy. Many times we are not happy because we have to rush ourselves or our children off to the next presentation or activity, and we have pressure to get to the office, the PTA meeting and the soccer game all at the same time. Just say no and give yourself some free time in your schedule. Free time promotes personal happiness!
12. Spend time alone. Although relationships are one of the best antidotes to stress, sometimes you need time alone to recharge and reflect. During your alone time, learn about yourself and what your needs are. Relax. Unwind. Do an activity that YOU enjoy. Build your own spirit and your own character.
13. Make a list. There's nothing like writing down your tasks to release the stress of trying to remember everything. Lists help you realize how much you really do accomplish. They help promote happiness when the weight of remembering is on paper...and when your sense of accomplishment skyrockets as you see just how much you do! GO YOU!
14. Walk mindfully. You probably already know that exercise is better than tranquilizers for relieving anxiety and stress, but when was the last time you took your walk and noticed the laughter of the children the park, the breeze whispering through the pines, or the smell of the flower garden as you walked past it. Rather than drifting off into your private thoughts or listening to an iPod as you walk, notice where you are, what you feel against your skin, what you smell, and the sounds you hear--finding joy in the moment of the walk.
15. Do one thing at a time. So often we fall into the habit of eating while we watch TV...and we never get the joy of the taste and texture of the food, nor do we pay full attention to the show. So choose to do one thing at a time and thoroughly find the joy in that one thing.
16. Give priority to close relationships. Study after study has shown that the acceptance and companionship of a spouse, friends and family has positive benefits to the body and to the spirit. Loving and giving love, sharing experiences, and going through the journey of life together can make life happier and relieve the burdens.
17. Garden. There is something cathartic about tilling the soil, planting a seed, tending a seedling, watching it grow, and enjoying the benefits of the plant--whether that be a fresh fruit or vegetable, or a fully blooming flower. Soak in the rays of happiness!
18. Take care of the soul. In study after study, actively religious people are happier and cope better with crises. The correlation between faith and well-being can be seen both in surveys taken of the general public and in research on specific population groups. For example, a recent Gallup poll of Americans found that people with high religious involvement are twice as likely as those without to say that they are "very happy." So make the time for worship, prayer and spirituality and increase your day-to-day happiness!
19. Tune out the news. All the "bad news" today is enough to drive even the most optimistic person to depression, so choose to walk away one day and let the world turn without you. When the "bad news" is dragging you down, choose happiness--unplug, change the news channel, and don't pick up that newspaper (except to read the comics section)!
20. Count your blessings.