When we are sick, a view of nature can help us heal faster. When we are distracted, a view of nature can help us regain our focus. And when we are stressed, images of a natural landscape can slow our heart rates, relax our muscles, and help us feel calm again. Get outside today—or even just look out the window—to feel happier.
Imagine Your “Best Possible Self”
Practice thinking optimistically about the future by taking some time to write down your hopes and dreams for the next five or ten years. Where will you be living? What friends and family will be in your life? What type of work do you imagine doing? How would you like to be spending your time? Check out Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, “The How of Happiness,” for more about this exercise.
Elevation, awe, and inspiration are some of my favorite positive emotions. Music, nature, and friends can truly elevate your current being and wellness. What is your go-to source of inspiration? Today, read your favorite poem, have lunch with a friend whose compassion for others will elevate you, or find a beautiful vista that will make your heart swell in awe.
Play with Friends
Playdates are not just for kids! When I’m feeling down and looking for a happiness pick-me-up, this is my go-to feel-better solution (maybe because my friends make me laugh).
Although I seek my friends out when I need to talk about a problem I’m having, sometimes we need to turn away from our difficulties for a little while and just play. In this case, seek out friends not to tell them all the reasons why you’ve been feeling badly, but rather to have some fun. The idea is to goof around a little.
Give Out Big Hugs
Dacher Keltner’s studies show that touch is the primary language of compassion, love, and gratitude—all positive emotions. Read all about the ways hugs make us feel better in Keltner’s terrific book, “Born to Be Good.” Hug your kids, friends, and family members to spread the happiness along.
By Christine Carter, Ph. D. A sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, Ph.D. is the author of RAISING HAPPINESS: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Dr. Carter also writes a blog for Greater Good, which is syndicated on the Huffington Post and PsychologyToday.com.