With all of the rain and gloom of late, as I sit at my desk staring out the window and longing to break out my tube tops and flip flops and hit the park, I’ve been thinking about how to raise my spirits. I’ve tried a number of things to compensate for the grey clouds — re-watching my favourite movies, tackling ambitious recipes (for my personal culinary skill set) and going to the gym – with mixed results.
But writing in Psychology Today — “Want To Feel Happier by the End of the Day? Your Menu of Options” — happiness expert Gretchen Rubin offers a checklist of happiness boosting activities. Writes Rubin, “When you’re feeling blue, it can be hard to muster up the physical and mental energy to do the things that make you happier. Plunking down in front of the TV or digging into a tub of ice cream seems like an easier fix. However, research shows (and you know it’s true) that these aren’t the routes to feeling better… According to my ground-breaking happiness formula, to be happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. What’s dragging you down? Is it a lack of fun, of connection? Do you feel a lot of guilt, boredom, or anger? Do you feel that something’s ‘not right’ about your life? Do you feel stagnant or stuck? Focus your efforts on the choices that will do the most to address what’s not working in your life.”
Rubin’s suggestions span the spectrum, but some of my favourite for a happiness boost include tracking down an old friend who has drifted out of your life, adding a fun thing to your calendar that involves other people doing something outside, visiting a bookstore and browsing until you find a great new book to buy (this one works on me every time), signing up to be an organ donor, clearing your household clutter, doing something you’ve been putting off or dreading (which is rarely as excruciating as you anticipate) and making something right by apologizing, replacing or returning something.
A lot of Rubin’s happiness project is related to being more productive, gaining a sense of accomplishment and becoming a better person in your own eyes — which makes sense to me. Do any of these happiness tips work for you? If not, please share your best techniques to beat the blues!