1. Do a shower power meditation.
Take a shower and multitask washing away your stress and anxiety. Concentrate on the feel of the water upon your skin. Envision the power of the shower washing away your negative thoughts! Whoosh! Envision fear, regret, and anger soaping off you and swirling down the drain.
2. Send the universe some “muah!”
Gratitude is often the antidote to depression. And that’s a researched fact. A study done by the University of California showed that when people took time each day to think about five things that made them happy, they increased their overall joy and improved some health issues as well. With this in mind, send five “muahs!” to the universe. Literally. Think up something you’re grateful about, then pucker up and blow the universe a kiss! Then do it again! Appreciate. Blow a kiss. Repeat. Appreciate. Blow a kiss. Repeat.
3. Juice up your spirit.
I love how I feel when I’m drinking fresh-pressed juices on a regular basis. They increase my energy—and help me to feel healthier and happier! (Oh, and younger too, thanks to those awesome antioxidants they provide!)
4. Sniff your way to a happier mood.
Studies from the University of Miami School of Medicine report that lavender is a major olfactory happiness tool—shown to improve mood, soothe anxiety, and even help to reduce some physical pains. If you don’t have lavender around your home, grab a bottle of vanilla extract from your kitchen cabinet. This yummy scent is also considered a powerful aromatherapy happiness booster.
Added Bonus: Studies also show the scent of vanilla arouses men, so considered yourself forewarned!
5. Get lit.
Studies show that sitting in dark rooms can lead to darker thoughts and that, alternatively, spending time in bright light (from being outside in the sun or inside in very well-lit rooms) can create happier brain chemistry. With this in mind, the Princeton Theological Seminary recommends something called “happy light bulbs,” which is either 60- or 100-watt daylight bulbs.
6. See problems from a headstand position.
Yoga in general is a wonderful practice to keep your mind, body, spirit at their happiest and healthiest. Many yoga passionistas (including celebrity yoga guru and fellow Positively Positive contributor Jennifer Pastiloff) especially recommend doing headstands to release stress. MRI studies even back up a headstand’s mood-boosting benefit—showing how regular headstands literally improve brain function.
7. Get doodle happy.
Grab some magic markers and doodle lots of heart icons. Big heart doodles. Small heart doodles. Give some of the heart doodles smiley faces. The silliness of this doodling action combined with the repeated visual stimuli of seeing icons representing love will cheer you up.
Extra Feel Good Bonus: Doodle your heart icons on a plain white card and mail it to a friend/loved one with a note expressing your adoration of them
8. Stare at something yellow.
Put on a yellow shirt. Buy some yellow flowers. “Yellow can lift your spirits and self-esteem,” says color psychologist Angela Wright.
9. Walk on something green.
Being surrounded by nature is good for human nature. Go take a hike, or go for a stroll in the park.
10. Say “ohmmmmm.”
Give yourself the gift of five minutes of quiet time, sitting in a comfortable position, humming “ohmmmmmm.” Studies show the sound of this vibrating in your throat relaxes your body—even warming up the skin a bit.
11. Organize your home/office.
You’ll wind up cleaning up messy thoughts in the process. It’s a funny thing how the less clutter you have all around you, the more calm your mind becomes.
12. Give yourself a helpful hand.
Try some hand reflexology. Massage the chakra points on your palms—right at the base of each thumb. They match up with your adrenal glands, which need a little loving attention when you’re stressed/depressed. Hold one hand in the other, then use the pad of your thumb to gently but firmly massage this zone.
13. Give someone else a helping hand.
Studies show that doing acts of altruism and kindness create an instant happy mood boomerang, raising the serotonin in the giver as well as the receiver of these actions of love. Interestingly, studies show that even observing someone else doing something kind can increase one’s own happiness levels. There’s even an expression for this, called “Helper High.”
With this “Helper’s High” in mind, feel free to share this list of happiness tools with others—and give yourself an “instant happy” for knowing you might be improving someone’s day!