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9 Things You Can Do to be Happier

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Joan Lunden

Aging Well / / July 09, 2009

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Now and then we all have those times where we just feel down, a little sad or unfilled with life. Not necessarily sad over any one thing in particular, but we're just in need of a pick me up. And that’s exactly what we should do – Pick ourselves up and look for things to energize us, fulfill us, and make ourselves happy.

Happiness can be found all around you, but you have to open your eyes and your heart. It’s an exercise well worth the effort.

Real Simple magazine writer Gretchen Rubin offered up the following tips on making yourself happy, which I thought I’d pass along to you: 9 things you can do to be happy in the next 30 minutes.

1--Raise your activity level to pump up your energy.

If you're on the phone, stand up and pace. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put more energy into your voice. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. (Even better engage in an activity you enjoy, put on some music and dance!)

2--Take a walk outside.

Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

3--Reach out.

Send an email to a friend you haven't seen in a while, or reach out to someone new. Having close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness.

4--Rid yourself of a nagging task.

Deal with that insurance problem, purchase something you need, or make that long-postponed appointment with the dentist. Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a rush of elation.

5--Create a more serene environment.

Outer order contributes to inner peace, so spend some time organizing bills and tackling the piles in the kitchen. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizable dent. Set the timer for 10 minutes and see what you can do.

6--Do a good deed.

Introduce two people by email, take a minute to pass along useful information, or deliver some gratifying praise. (Do you have a hobby? Perhaps crochet a blanket for friend’s baby; make a photo album/book for friends or family – by getting involved in a hobby you enjoy you will be totally engrossed and no longer dwelling on what’s upsetting or disappointing. And making projects for those you care about always makes you feel better!)

7--Save someone's life.

Sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family about your decision. When you do good, you feel good -- it really works! (Create a Family Health History, ask your parents about their health/medical history; early childhood illnesses, heart conditions, diabetes, colon cancer, etc. This information is crucial for maintaining your best health and is an important gift we should all pass down to our children. It absolutely can save lives.)

8--Act happy.

Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. And if you're smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.

9--Learn something new.

Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about and spend 15 minutes on the Internet reading about it, or go to a bookstore and buy a book about it. But be honest! Pick a topic that really interests you, not something you think you "should" or "need to" learn about.

By working to boost your own happiness, you're making other people happier, too.

Which one of these things have you done (or are going to do today)?

Also like to have projects, right now I'm crocheting a blanket for new baby- I also sketch, read, edit photos, create photo books for friends and family- having hobbies that you can get lost in helps me immensely, once I’m involved in one of these tasks, I'm totally engrossed and no longer dwelling on anything upsetting or disappointing. Not to mention most of these projects focus on the people I love most, my children, my family, my friends, and making something for someone you love with love always makes you feel better!

Categories: Emotional Health
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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