Nobody likes a ‘Debbie Downer.’ You may or may not know that fictional character on the Saturday Night Live TV show played by Rachel Dratch, who brings everyone down with her bad news and negative feelings. It’s an extremely funny sketch that makes me appreciate happiness even more once the episode ends.
What is happiness? Even scientists have different definitions on what being happy is, so it doesn’t make sense to wrack your brain about coming up with a complicated explanation.
My definition of happy is very simple; if you can smile a lot more than you frown, if you have far more positive feelings than negative ones, and if you simply “feel really good” most of the time, that’s enough to define your mental state as “happy”!
How can we make ourselves happier? You can start by taking as many suggestions from this list and putting them into play in your life:
- Tell yourself you want to be happier and set yourself on a path to do it. Pick out one thing every single day that has the potential to make you happier and soon the chain of happy events in your life won’t even fit in your house!
- Make it a point to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If you are working two jobs or extremely long hours, this may be impossible. However, make sure you catch up on your Z’s on your days off.
- Reconnect with an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while. If you don’t know where they are or how to contact them, start by using Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn and see if they have accounts.
- Do your best to eat healthy foods, most of the time. It’s more difficult to be happy when you are overweight.
- Make a commitment once and for all to lose the weight. If you are overweight like more than 1/3 of the American population, making a change and sticking to it can boost your enthusiasm for life like you wouldn’t believe! Do it the smart healthy way and take your time. Think lifestyle change!
- Smile at a complete stranger just to show kindness and goodwill. Smiling is contagious, it relieves stress, it helps lower your blood pressure, and it releases those ‘feel-good’ endorphins in your body. There are enough frowns and sad faces everywhere you go, don’t you think?
- Give someone a compliment each and every day. It doesn’t take much to say, “Betty, I love the color of your dress,” or “Hey dude, that CD you’re listening to, rocks!” Spreading kind words makes us feel like we are a worthy part of the human race and knowing we just touched someone’s life in a positive way makes our existence more meaningful.
- Call your mom or dad at least once a week, if not every day. Parents love hearing from their children even when they are fully grown and living a stress-filled life. There’s no excuse to not keep them as a big part of your life unless some type of issue prevents you from doing so.
- While we’re at it, visit your mom or dad often if they live nearby. Few things in this world spell the word L-O-V-E like the look in your parents’ eyes when they see you and their grandchildren!
- Start saving more money if possible. This one may appear difficult for most people but I assure those of you who work; you can easily save 10 dollars a week without missing it by sacrificing some small convenience. Once your savings start to increase you will be inspired to sock away even more.
- Keep your house clean. If it’s a mess right now, divide the house in sections and attack each section once a week until your whole house is clean and free of clutter. There’s nothing like coming home every day to a clean, fresh-smelling house!
- Make time to play with your children. We’re talking video games, word games, paper/rocks/scissors, etc. Whatever your kids like to do for fun! There’s nothing a kid loves more than to show their parents what they can do on their own and they love sharing their time with their old man and old lady!
- Cook at least one gourmet meal every week for yourself and or/your family. Make this ‘your time’ to enjoy yourself and discover something new for all the hungry palates in your household. What’s the worst that can happen. Everybody hates it and you end up eating mac & cheese!
- Invite a friend or family member over for dinner. Make them feel welcome by going all out; it doesn’t have to be expensive. Make it a habit to spend this type of quality time with others and they will reciprocate.
- Don’t go over the speed limit. You’ll save big money on tickets and insurance that you can spend having fun somewhere else!
- Work hard on improving your sex life! Find ways to enhance your relationship with your partner and reap the rewards.
- Get out of debt. Whatever your situation is, if you can’t handle it on your own and need help, get that assistance, pronto! Being up to your eyeballs in debt is no way to live and be happy.
- Give yourself a nightly foot massage. Don’t do it right after you take off your shoes after a hard day’s work in 100 degree weather! Pamper yourself with a 15 minute bath, then bend your lower leg towards you, one at a time, and massage those swollen puppies back to life.
- Watch at least one movie every weeknight. Watching romantic comedies, suspense, or horror movies at night are the perfect remedy for the daily stress you face, especially when the movie is so good that you completely get absorbed in it! Movies are one of the best escapes known to man and woman.
- Fall asleep listening to your favorite comedy skit on your smart phone and laugh your butt off while you go to sleep. Pandora is a great service for this, and it’s free. I love listening to the characters Junkyard Willie and Blade from “Touchtone Terrorists” or “Larry the Cable Guy Radio” channel on my iPhone when I am nodding off.
- Don’t be afraid to joke with a friend while at work. Laughter inspires creativity and productivity. Everyone knows who they can joke around with and who they can’t joke around while at work. Be careful, however; don’t let the fun impede your work progress and don’t ever use any jokes making reference to anything of a sexual nature or you will risk getting slapped with a sexual harassment allegation.
- Take advantage of your vacation time and use personal and sick days whenever absolutely necessary. If your company offers paid vacation every year, use at least some of it! You need to look forward to that once a year getaway. If you need to take an occasional sick or personal day to save your sanity, then do it as long as it does not hurt your standing as an employee.
- Tell a loved one, “I love you” occasionally.
- Save enough money to enjoy eating out at one of your favorite restaurants at least once a month, preferably once every two weeks.
- Pick something you love to do as long as it is not illegal or detrimental to your health, and get it done!