Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ten Little Tips to Feel Happier Right Now

Don't wait to make a big change in the quality of your life.  Eight of these ten little ways to happiness can be done in less than five minutes.

1. Smile.  Raise the corners of your mouth.  Soon your smile will become genuine.  The smile that begins as an effort and a pretense quickly grows to become genuine, and given time, a habit of happiness.  In the words of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."

2. Breathe deeply and slowly.  Focus your entire attention on each in-breath and out-breath.  Imagine drawing new clean energy in through the top of your head on each in-breath, and expelling old stale energy out the soles of your feet on each out-breath.

3. Take a quiet walk by yourself.  Focus on each step and on your breathing.  As stray thoughts enter your mind, thank each one, and quickly release the thought and return to a focus on your breathing and your steps.

4. Count your blessings.  Make a gratitude list.  You have thousands of reasons to be thankful.  Be thankful for those who serve you.  Make a list of those you depend upon.  Everyone has many people who help along the way.  Don't forget those who grow and deliver your food, keep your electricity and telephone running, provide emergency medical care, and protect the safety of your community and your nation.

5. Forgive someone for something right now.  Release the resentment and anger.  This practice is for you to become happier.  Telling the other person that you forgive them is completely optional, and is merely a bonus.

6. Stretch your body.  Do yoga, do qigong, or just stand and stretch.  As a simple stretch, stand and hold your arms out to your sides forming a cross. Gently bend each hand back at the wrist until the fingers point straight upward. Twist each hand and arm in a wringing motion as if you were operating a screwdriver.

7. Turn on happy music and dance.  Don't stop 'til you're tired.  Dance with someone or dance all by yourself.  Choose music that makes you want to move and keep moving such as Latin Fitness Dance music.

8. Spend some time with a furry friend. If you don't have your own, borrow a cat or dog to love today.

9. Be of service.  Find someone who has worse troubles than you and do something nice for them today.

10. Have a conversation with God (or whatever you call your Higher Power).  Approach the conversation with an attitude of gratitude rather than neediness.

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