Photo

Sometimes, it’s all about the little things. (There’s an argument to be made that they’re all little things, but that’s a different conversation, entirely.) My own personal journey in learning to be happier has a lot to do with figuring out how to stay small. I need to stay in the moment, focus on what’s right in front of me rather than on my Chicken Little-esque inclination to run around screaming about the sky falling, and have an arsenal of tools for lifting my spirits in a hurry. Some steps towards a happier me need to be planned out, but it’s the anytime/anywhere ones that I find easiest and most useful. Here’s a few of my favorites:

A good snuggle. Never underestimate the power of positive touch. A hug is good for you both physically and emotionally, and yes, it counts if you’re getting some love from your pets. I feel like I should’ve named my dogs after antidepressants.

After you. For me the best antidote to feeling rushed or stressed is to purposely let someone go ahead of me—at the 4-way stop, in the grocery line, or even just walking through a doorway. It’s a reminder to me that there’s always time for kindness, and I usually get a smile in return.

Dark humor. I realize this isn’t everyone’s thing, but sometimes what I really need is to say something ridiculous and inappropriate to someone who loves me, just to make them laugh and/or ask me if I know that I’m demented. (Yep, I know.)

A tiny treat. This one can sometimes veer into eating-your-feelings territory, which is why I say “tiny” rather than just “treat.” A single square of dark chocolate or a fancy peppermint can impart an instant mood lift, though.

Take a moment. Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and think about something that makes you smile, even just for a few seconds. It can be something meaningful or something silly, either way. The point is that you can use pleasant memories to bolster yourself whenever needed, and when you open your eyes again, you’re in a better place.

Have a tip or trick to share about an instant get-happier boost? I’m all ears!