Increasing Happiness


Want to ramp up your happiness level? These are six things that work for me:

1. Music

Music moves me. Classical music can calm me and provide meditative moods while pop or jazz can rev me up and get me moving when my energy is low. Music is a powerful salve, and can soothe me like the most delicious piece of chocolate cake, and it’s calorie-free!

2. Changing It Up

When I feel stagnant and stuck in a rut, I start by changing the small things. I’ll flip the toilet paper roll to under instead of over, or I’ll sleep on the opposite side of the bed for a few days, or I’ll buy and use a different brand of a staple food item. Little changes like this remind me I can be resilient and able to handle life being different or not as I’m used to.

3. Ordinary Things

Special gifts and events are wonderful, but sometimes to gain perspective I need to write down just the ordinary things that consistently bring me pleasure – perhaps not in the big splash sort of way but in the ways that remind me my life is abundant with all the world has to offer. Ordinary things for me include my morning cup of coffee and the luxury to watch a beloved TV program that I taped for later.

4. Praise

Sincerely praising another brings about happiness in others which, in turn, increases my happiness in the world. Who doesn’t relish the compliments of others? Who doesn’t appreciate the affirmation from friends and families (and even strangers!)? It feels good to praise – both giving and receiving.

5. Time With Friends

I’ve set it up so that I don’t need to be in full regalia – neither my house nor my appearance – in order to spend time with friends. There is no other inexpensive and more impactful way to enhance my happiness than to be in the presence of people who love me. No makeup, not dressed up, house not immaculate? No problem! Let’s get together anyway and have some fun!

6. Experiential Gifts

As I’ve gotten older, buying gifts for my friends has become more challenging. In general, we don’t need more stuff. I know I certainly don’t. What I DO want and what I think my friends appreciate are experiences. Instead of buying you flowers or a new CD, how ‘bout I take you to dinner or that movie you’ve been wanting to see? How ‘bout I buy tickets for you to go with your spouse or another friend? Doing things rather than acquiring things makes me happier.

What increases your happiness?