Monday, July 13, 2015

100 Things to Make You a Little Happier, Part I

Happiness is a curious and devilish little pursuit. It seems to come unexpectedly, and it slinks away just as we start to settle into it. Love awakens it, and love stomps on it. Experiences enhance it, and tragedy obliterates it. The truth is, there is no secret elixir. There is no certain and definitive way to be happy and remain in that felicitous state. But there are innumerable things we can do to bring happiness for just a moment, or just a day. And sometimes when life sends its typhoons and sinkholes we are desperate for even a moment of felicity. So I decided to compile a list of 100 little things that I have found make me a happier person. They won't all work for you, but if even one does then all has succeeded. As Brandon Flowers once said, "Be an advocate of joy."

I will post a list of ten things every two days. Please comment and add to the list, and share it with people who might be struggling for moments of happiness.

1. Sing in the car with the window down- This practice should be done with the music up as loud as your speakers permit. But most importantly you should try to get others around you to see and hear your vocal greatness. Let people at stoplights and lovers crossing the street know that you have a terrible voice and you are not afraid to belt it out in public. This is sure to elicit a smile or two from complete strangers, which in turn always causes inner happiness. If you are unsure of where to start, search Kelly Clarkson hits online.

2. Eat pizza by yourself while listening to indie folk music- (self-explanatory)

3. Read everyday- People talk endlessly about how they don't have time to read or that they don't have the attention span to sit down and open a book. This is hogwash. If you have time to check Instagram 45 times a day, you have time to read a few pages in a book. Reading if nothing else inspires the mind and motivates the soul. Truly intelligent people, and truly happy people read, and read a lot.

4. Give people obscure and unanticipated compliments- People hear all the time that they are looking good, or that they have good taste in music. A new outfit or a fresh haircut will surely bring in a batch of warm compliments. But look outside the elegiac box. Tell someone how cute you think their chin is. Tell someone how their handwriting reminds you of your grandmother's that passed away. When you think of something, even if it is silly, tell someone. It could make their day.

5. Savor and appreciate your food- It is easy to forget that much of the world never suffers from a "food coma." Millions of people are not even sure where their next meal will come from. And millions more have a diet so limited that eating cannot be much more than an act of life sustaining utility. So slow down. Appreciate re-fills and calories and blenders and sauces.

6. Play in water- This is easy. No one is miserable on the beach or the lake. But regardless of your geography, find a pond, a pool, or local tributary. Splash around. Remember your youth, and smile.

7. Try to understand people and things better- Too much of life is wasted in wondering why people are stupid, or complaining about things we do not understand. Take the time to understand why someone acts a certain way. Read up on things that leave you perplexed. Knowledge is power, and power is a portion of happiness.

8. Don't lay in bed depressed- It is okay to be depressed and sad. Life is hard. But don't hang on to a rope that is burning your hands. When you lay in bed at night don't think about all of your life's failures and shortcomings. Be grateful for what you have and what you are able to do. Dream. Dream of what you can accomplish. Read a good book, and fall asleep in the middle of a beautiful sentence.

9. Give your phone a rest- Every once and a while leave your phone home. Maybe even turn it off. I am not saying that going off the grid is the answer. Technology is important and vital to many people's success. But now and then take a step back and realize that your life is bigger than Instagram, and that real life conversations are invaluable.

10. Don't live for the weekends- I hate to break it to you, but the vast majority of your life is lived on weekdays. You know this. But still, so many people wake up dreading the day, bemoaning the week, and only looking forward to the two or three day respite they have coming at the end of the work week. Enjoy each day, and realize that your life is made up of Mondays that will change your life and Thursdays of unbridled joy. Sure vacations, holidays, and weekends are lovely and exciting. But look forward to every day. Don't just wait for 28 percent of your life. Live the other 72 percent like it means something.

Again, some of these are obvious if not redundant platitudes. But sometimes we need reminders. Check out the next segment of things that make you a little happier on Wednesday. And let me know what impressed you, and what you would add to the list.

P.S. my chubby niece make me happy.

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