In the past, we’ve referred to essential oils and loose leaf teas as methods to encourage relaxation but, if you don’t already have those items in your home, purchasing a set of our “recommended relaxation tools” can add up. In lieu of expensive (but often worthy!) tips and tricks like beautiful planners and non-alcoholic drinks, here are seven ways to feel happier right now. The best part? None of these will break the bank so be sure to try them out today!
1. Go outside and watch the clouds.
When you were a kid, you might have spent afternoons looking up at the clouds imagining them as objects: A seaplane, cruise ship, or sailboat. We may no longer have free afternoons to gaze upward at the sky but even a five-minute break focusing on nature can bring a sense of happiness. Vitamin D delivered by sunlight is proven to uplift your mood. Focus your sight toward the sky and let your mind play. Watch the clouds. Look at their edges. Are they rigged? Fluffy? Let the shapes become your focus.
2. Listen to guilty pleasure music.
Don’t lie to us. We all have musical tastes others might find embarrassing or offensive but, when you’re feeling down, having guilt-free music time can lift you right back up. Put on your headphones or get into your car and blast Dashboard Confessional, or whatever it is that unapologetically blows your hair back. If you work in an office, try this trick: Bring your cell with headphones into the bathroom and silently sing along to your jam in a bathroom stall. Is it kind of weird? Okay, yeah. Does it feel amazing? Absolutely.
3. Connect to your body.
By bringing awareness to the moment, we can let go of racing thoughts and overwhelming emotions. This physical trick uses the sense of touch to calm the nerves and bring joy back into the body. Using your right hand, slowly run your pointer and middle finger up the inside of your left arm. Start at your wrist and very lightly drag your fingers up to the inner part of your elbow, eventually moving to your shoulder. Pay close attention to where the skin of your fingers touches the skin of your arm. Focus on the light pressure.
4. Have a chat in the mirror.
Standing in front of a mirror, smile as big as you can, and raise your hands high above your head — the pose one might take when finishing a marathon or climbing a mountain. Some of us probably do this before a big presentation or interview as it’s known to quickly trick the brain into feeling more confident. As you do this, repeat the following saying to yourself out loud: You are smart, you are strong, you are brave. Repeat the process until you begin to feel the words, stance, and smile influencing your mood.
5. Give someone a compliment.
Giving and receiving compliments feels great and they’re free, which makes them a perfect pick-up-your day tool. The most meaningful compliments are the ones beyond the superficial, “I love your bag,” or “Your haircut is so cute.” If you notice someone providing a service you know you couldn’t, mention it. When you see someone struggling, ie. a mom mid-flight with a fussy baby, tell her she’s doing great. By paying attention and sharing kind words with strangers, we can both lift up our community and ourselves.
6. Visit a specialty flower center.
Buy yourself flowers. You deserve it! Beyond bodega or grocery store flowers, seek out a specialty shop where you can make individual stem selections. Walk through their refrigerated sections, taking extra time to find which stems call to you. One day it might be twiggy branches and another day it might be bright yellow sunflowers. Let your curiosity run wild as you build a custom bouquet. There is no need to spend a lot of money on a large bouquet. Sometimes a tiny, thoughtful arrangement can bring the greatest joy.
7. Create a doable to-do list.
The satisfaction of crossing an item off a to-do list can be out of this world but, if you’re feeling down or out of it, even looking at that to-do list can feel impossible. So here’s what we say: Turn the page on the list, literally and figuratively, and start a new one, but this time makes it incredibly easy to achieve tasks. No kidding: Include tasks like brushing teeth, drinking a glass of water, and unsubscribing from five junk emails. Spend 20 minutes completing and crossing off tasks. Look at your finished list. Impressive!
Happiness isn’t the destination up ahead, it’s the road we’re on. If our road is covered in dirt which, let’s be honest, it often is, it’s hard to see the glimmering surface just below. It’s on us to kick off the muck and find the sparkle. No one is going to kick it off for you, because they’re working their own roads. Try these quick and easy tips to feel happier. We promise some of that buried light will find a way to shine through.