I was trying out one of the ebook services that the local library offers and I requested a bunch of books at once, and it just happened that I got 10 % Happier by Dan Harris and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin back-to-back.
I don’t normally read about happiness a lot (and the Dan Harris book is really about meditation more than happiness), but it strikes me in reading these books that happiness is a choice that we get to make every day and that we can really affect by doing little things.
You don’t have to have a lot of time, go on a silent retreat or devote a year to dozens of resolutions. Try these easy ways to feel happier in 5 minutes or less.
This comes from Dan Harris, of course. I’ve tried meditation and I really suck at it, but even I can sit still and breathe for five minutes.
That not moving, being in the present moment, trying not to think too much about all the stuff going on in your life, really can make you feel happier and more in tune with the good parts of life.
I don’t know if regular practice really makes you 10 percent happier as he says, but even a little bit of extra happy is worth a few minutes of your time, don’t you think?
If stillness doesn’t do it for you, do something to get your blood pumping.
Exercise is well known for its mood-boosting properties, and even just running up and down the stairs a few times, doing some stretches or jumping jacks will get your blood flowing and give your energy a boost.
Bonus points if you go outside and walk a little bit: being in nature, especially when the sun is shining, provides even more mood-boosting properties.
Throw Out Five Things
Even if you’re not on a decluttering mission, there are probably things in your space that don’t need to be. Whether actual trash or that dress you’ve been holding onto for years that doesn’t quite fit anymore, there are probably easily five things you can get rid of in your immediate vicinity.
If you’re already decluttered, maybe there are five things that need to be put away or moved to a different place so you don’t see them every day (or do, if it’s something special that hasn’t had a special place in the past). Getting things in order feels good. You might want to make this a five-minute daily habit.
Write a Kind Note
Whether it’s wishing someone a heartfelt happy birthday — with more words than just “happy birthday” — on Facebook, sending someone an email to let them know you’re thinking of them, or getting out a notecard and actually writing a note, taking the time to brighten someone else’s day can also give you a lift.
Think about how excited you are to get a random email from a friend or a real birthday card. Think about the joy you can bring to a friend without a whole lot of effort on your part. Knowing you’re helping others or even just making them smile can make you happy, too.
Indulge in a Hobby
Knitting is my thing, of course, and it’s great that it’s portable so wherever I am I can knit a couple of rows when I want to calm down or relax.
Hobbies are a great way to reduce stress, have fun and can provide a sense of community. Though experts say whether that equals more happiness is still up for debate, I know making things makes me happy.
If you don’t have a portable hobby, try doodling, coloring a coloring page, or even just looking at projects or blogs online for a few minutes. Thinking about your hobby isn’t quite as good as actually doing it, but you’ll still get a lift thinking about adventures to come.
Do you have any tricks for getting happy fast? I’d love to hear them!