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.