How to Feel Happy When Everything in Life Sucks

The following post was originally featured on Fit Bottomed Girls and written by Alison, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

“Happiness is an inside job.”

Some days I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Ward got it wrong when he wrote this quote. I mean, it doesn’t often feel like happiness is something that we’ve got any control over, does it? In fact, most days it feels as though we’re purely at the mercy of the guy who just cut us off, the boss who makes us crazy, or the lady talking loudly on her cell who’s blocking the entire grocery aisle.

But we aren’t really at the mercy of these infuriating folks; it just feels an awful lot like we are. Emotions ¡ª however pleasant or unpleasant ¡ª come from the presence of certain substances in our own brains that are triggered by our individual experiences and personal interactions.

And now this is the part where I pause to tell you that you shouldn’t throw your hands up and say “See, it’s biology! I don’t control my happiness.” On the contrary, we really do have the power to control our emotions . . . and it’s easier than you think!

First, a bit about the chemistry of happiness ¡ª those wonderful feelings of bliss are caused primarily by four hormones and neurotransmitters. Here’s a list along with the quick and dirty on what they do:

Endorphins ¡ª our bodies’ built-in pain reliever

Dopamine ¡ª causes those squeals of delight when we achieve a goal

Oxytocin ¡ª makes us feel loved, supported and bonded with others

Serotonin ¡ª gives us feelings of significance and makes us easier to get along with

Each one of these fabulous compounds can be triggered ¡ª in other words, you can actually give yourself a little jolt from time to time by doing some really easy stuff.

That’s right, friends ¡ª it’s totally possible to create little pockets of happy throughout your day no matter what your circumstances. Here’s how:

How to Be Happy

Feeling anxious or down? Get your butt in gear with a high-intensity workout or watch a funny movie to give yourself a healthy dose of laughter. These ¡ª in addition to the scent of lavender and a few bites of dark chocolate ¡ª have been shown to significantly increase endorphins.

Feeling unmotivated, unproductive or lacking confidence? Set some short-term, realistic and achievable goals for yourself, then celebrate the crap out of those little victories to give yourself a much-needed and well-deserved blast of dopamine ¡ª which BTW will most likely lead you to wanting to set bigger and more satisfying goals . . . and it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Feeling disconnected and unloved? Grab a hug from someone or better yet curl up with a loved one for some snuggling to trigger the release of oxytocin. Or perhaps you need a reason to treat yo’self to a massage? Do it! That prolonged physical contact can have the same effect.

Feeling lonely and in need of attention? Give yourself a boost by spending 20 minutes outside just soaking up the sun or go for an easy run to promote serotonin production. Another option, take a minute to think about something that you’re grateful for and recall the significance of that person or thing in your life ¡ª happy memories are a great way to trigger these feel-good chemicals.

So the next time everything sucks and you’re having a hard time seeing a silver lining, give one of these simple tricks a go and see what happens. You could even get proactive with it and just decide to do one every morning to get your day started off on a happier note.

And even if you’re still super-skeptical, try it anyway because what’s so bad about snuggling, laughing, eating chocolate, and celebrating?

Image Source: Fit Bottomed Girls

13 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mood in 30 Seconds or Less

Our friends at SELF share 13 ways we can get rid of the Winter blues right now.

1. Talk to a stranger.

Research shows that simple social engagement ¡ª smiling, making eye contact, brief conversation ¡ª makes you feel immediately more chipper. So go ahead and chitchat with your barista when you order your morning latte.

2. Smile.

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Just smiling makes you feel happy. The old standby really does work.

3. Strike a powerful pose.

Assuming a powerful stance (think: Wonder Woman or trying-to-scare-a-bear) can make you feel powerful ¡ª and what feels better than power?

4. Sip a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.

Caffeine has been shown time and again to have positive effects on mood. Just a cup’ll do ya. (Though java newbies beware: Caffeine can also make you feel nervous if you’re sensitive to it.)

5. Lower your shoulders.

Tension makes your shoulders creep up toward your ears, lower them and you’ll instantly feel more relaxed.

6. Tune into an uplifting playlist.

Music can have a powerful effect on mood. Try making a playlist of songs that always make you want to tap your toes or sing along, and turn it on whenever you need a hit of happy. Or head over to Moodfuse.com where you can select the mood you want (e.g. happy, cheerful, whimsical) and a genre you like to enjoy the sounds of a custom feel-good broadcast.

7. Walk to the window and look into the light.

Work inside all day? Exposure to natural light during the day (especially in the morning) is crucial for keeping your body rhythms in sync and regulating sleep, metabolism and mood. Windows in the workplace have been associated with improved well-being. If you don’t have an office with a window, barge into someone else’s. Bonus: It’ll get you away from that frustrating/annoying/upsetting email you’ve been stewing over.

8. Better yet, take a walk outside.

And better still, head toward the nearest park, however small. Yeah, you’ll need to set aside more than 30 seconds for this one, but research says just five minutes meandering in green spaces is a great pick-me-up.

9. Call a friend.

Social connection is a key factor for emotional well-being. The happiest people have strong social relationships. (That’s not the same as having a million Facebook friends ¡ª see #12.)

10. Better yet, hug a friend.

If you have a good friend in hugging distance, have at it. The physical connection releases oxytocin, a hormone that is produced by the hypothalamus and gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling. Bonus: It makes you feel less stressed and can have long-term health benefits.

11. Do a silly dance.

Move your way into a better mood. Acting out happy movements ¡ª like skipping, hopping, jumping or just throwing your hands up in the air ¡ª can make you feel happier. (It’s like the smiling thing, but with wiggling.) There’s also lots of research into the positive mood effects of moderate exercise: They are near-immediate and can last for minutes or hours.

12. Get off Facebook. (At least for right now.)

Research has found that spending time on Facebook basically makes us feel like crap ¡ª about ourselves, our lives and just in general. So turn off notifications and take a quick social media hiatus.

13. Instead, use the Internet for what it’s really for: watching hilarious animal and baby videos.

Check out more great articles from SELF:

The Quirky Solution to Your Work StressWhat Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Coping TechniqueThe Sneaky Reason You Lose Your WillpowerImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography

13 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mood in 30 Seconds or Less

Our friends at SELF share 13 ways we can get rid of the Winter blues right now.

1. Talk to a stranger.

Research shows that simple social engagement smiling| making eye contact| brief conversation makes you feel immediately more chipper. So go ahead and chitchat with your barista when you order your morning latte.

2. Smile.

You’ve heard it before| but we’ll say it again: Just smiling makes you feel happy. The old standby really does work.

3. Strike a powerful pose.

Assuming a powerful stance (think: Wonder Woman or trying-to-scare-a-bear) can make you feel powerful and what feels better than power?

4. Sip a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.

Caffeine has been shown time and again to have positive effects on mood. Just a cup’ll do ya. (Though java newbies beware: Caffeine can also make you feel nervous if you’re sensitive to it.)

5. Lower your shoulders.

Tension makes your shoulders creep up toward your ears| lower them and you’ll instantly feel more relaxed.

6. Tune into an uplifting playlist.

Music can have a powerful effect on mood. Try making a playlist of songs that always make you want to tap your toes or sing along| and turn it on whenever you need a hit of happy. Or head over to Moodfuse.com where you can select the mood you want (e.g. happy| cheerful| whimsical) and a genre you like to enjoy the sounds of a custom feel-good broadcast.

7. Walk to the window and look into the light.

Work inside all day? Exposure to natural light during the day (especially in the morning) is crucial for keeping your body rhythms in sync and regulating sleep| metabolism and mood. Windows in the workplace have been associated with improved well-being. If you don’t have an office with a window| barge into someone else’s. Bonus: It’ll get you away from that frustrating/annoying/upsetting email you’ve been stewing over.

8. Better yet| take a walk outside.

And better still| head toward the nearest park| however small. Yeah| you’ll need to set aside more than 30 seconds for this one| but research says just five minutes meandering in green spaces is a great pick-me-up.

9. Call a friend.

Social connection is a key factor for emotional well-being. The happiest people have strong social relationships. (That’s not the same as having a million Facebook friends see #12.)

10. Better yet| hug a friend.

If you have a good friend in hugging distance| have at it. The physical connection releases oxytocin| a hormone that is produced by the hypothalamus and gives us that warm| fuzzy feeling. Bonus: It makes you feel less stressed and can have long-term health benefits.

11. Do a silly dance.

Move your way into a better mood. Acting out happy movements like skipping| hopping| jumping or just throwing your hands up in the air can make you feel happier. (It’s like the smiling thing| but with wiggling.) There’s also lots of research into the positive mood effects of moderate exercise: They are near-immediate and can last for minutes or hours.

12. Get off Facebook. (At least for right now.)

Research has found that spending time on Facebook basically makes us feel like crap about ourselves| our lives and just in general. So turn off notifications and take a quick social media hiatus.

13. Instead| use the Internet for what it’s really for: watching hilarious animal and baby videos.

Check out more great articles from SELF:

The Quirky Solution to Your Work StressWhat Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Coping TechniqueThe Sneaky Reason You Lose Your WillpowerImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography

The 10 Secrets of Happy, Healthy Women

Ready to make space for some much needed balance in your world? Follow these simple and straightforward rules to cultivate the happy and healthy life you’ve always craved.

Related: How to Become a Morning Person

Number One: Keep Mornings Calm

Even five minutes of pure relaxation make a huge difference in your mood and energy all day. Leave plenty of time to eat a filling breakfast, stretch or meditate, and have a calm commute to start every day out on a happy Zen note.

Number Two: Make Time to Move

Exercise ups endorphins, boosts immunity, relieves stress, and keeps you feeling strong and confident in your body. There’s no need to go crazy with an intense hour-long workout every day of the week, but a little daily exercise is some of the best medicine available for the body and mind.

Related: Find the Perfect Workout With FitFinder, Our Workout Generator

Number Three: Eat Real Food

Processed junk food makes your blood sugar spike, pumps your body with unnatural ingredients, and leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied soon after you eat. Choosing real, whole, all-natural clean foods just makes sense if you are serious about your health and happiness.

Number Four: Reach For Water

When feeling fatigued or in need of a boost, don’t immediately reach for a caffeinated or sugary beverage. Often, a foggy, tired brain is a sign of dehydration, so sip on plenty of water all day to keep energy levels up and soaring.

Related: 4 Detox Ingredients You Need to Add to Your H2O

Number Five: Listen When Your Body Talks

Happy people help their bodies work with them instead of against them. They put down their fork when they’ve had enough, hit up a yoga class when they need a release, and don’t pour that third (or fourth) cocktail when they know it’s not a good idea. If you’re willing to listen, your body has plenty to say.

Number Six: Love Those Vegetables

Vegetables are not added to a plate because your body has to eat them: it’s because it wants to eat them. Colorful produce is packed with nutrients that keep your body functioning at its top potential.

Number Seven: Invest in Fitness and Health

Don’t wait until you’re feeling poorly and out of sorts to take care of your needs. Commit to that studio package, get an occasional massage, and make those doctor appointments that it’s time to schedule.

Related: DIY Massage With a Foam Roller

Number Eight: Remember to Be Grateful

When someone’s attention is focused on lack, that’s exactly what they’re going to get: more lack. Instead of focusing on the job they don’t have or a number on the scale they don’t want to see, positive people are not afraid to give thanks for all the gifts they have in life ¡ª both large and small.

Number Nine: Slow Down to Smile

Life is not always so serious for happy and healthy folks. They make time to connect with loved ones and are not afraid to show kindness to strangers. Laughing helps too.

Related: 25 Hacks For Better Sleep Tonight

Number 10: Rest

When tired or feeling worn out, don’t schedule another activity or commit to another event. Having healthy boundaries keeps you feeling safe, connected, and energized, so take alone time to recharge at home. And when it’s time to get some sleep, turn off the computers, stop binging on Netflix, and get to bed.

Image Sources: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria Del Rio and POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchat

The 10 Secrets of Happy, Healthy Women

Ready to make space for some much needed balance in your world? Follow these simple and straightforward rules to cultivate the happy and healthy life you’ve always craved.

Related: How to Become a Morning Person

Number One: Keep Mornings Calm

Even five minutes of pure relaxation make a huge difference in your mood and energy all day. Leave plenty of time to eat a filling breakfast| stretch or meditate| and have a calm commute to start every day out on a happy Zen note.

Number Two: Make Time to Move

Exercise ups endorphins| boosts immunity| relieves stress| and keeps you feeling strong and confident in your body. There’s no need to go crazy with an intense hour-long workout every day of the week| but a little daily exercise is some of the best medicine available for the body and mind.

Related: Find the Perfect Workout With FitFinder| Our Workout Generator

Number Three: Eat Real Food

Processed junk food makes your blood sugar spike| pumps your body with unnatural ingredients| and leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied soon after you eat. Choosing real| whole| all-natural clean foods just makes sense if you are serious about your health and happiness.

Number Four: Reach For Water

When feeling fatigued or in need of a boost| don’t immediately reach for a caffeinated or sugary beverage. Often| a foggy| tired brain is a sign of dehydration| so sip on plenty of water all day to keep energy levels up and soaring.

Related: 4 Detox Ingredients You Need to Add to Your H2O

Number Five: Listen When Your Body Talks

Happy people help their bodies work with them instead of against them. They put down their fork when they’ve had enough| hit up a yoga class when they need a release| and don’t pour that third (or fourth) cocktail when they know it’s not a good idea. If you’re willing to listen| your body has plenty to say.

Number Six: Love Those Vegetables

Vegetables are not added to a plate because your body has to eat them: it’s because it wants to eat them. Colorful produce is packed with nutrients that keep your body functioning at its top potential.

Number Seven: Invest in Fitness and Health

Don’t wait until you’re feeling poorly and out of sorts to take care of your needs. Commit to that studio package| get an occasional massage| and make those doctor appointments that it’s time to schedule.

Related: DIY Massage With a Foam Roller

Number Eight: Remember to Be Grateful

When someone’s attention is focused on lack| that’s exactly what they’re going to get: more lack. Instead of focusing on the job they don’t have or a number on the scale they don’t want to see| positive people are not afraid to give thanks for all the gifts they have in life ¡ª both large and small.

Number Nine: Slow Down to Smile

Life is not always so serious for happy and healthy folks. They make time to connect with loved ones and are not afraid to show kindness to strangers. Laughing helps too.

Related: 25 Hacks For Better Sleep Tonight

Number 10: Rest

When tired or feeling worn out| don’t schedule another activity or commit to another event. Having healthy boundaries keeps you feeling safe| connected| and energized| so take alone time to recharge at home. And when it’s time to get some sleep| turn off the computers| stop binging on Netflix| and get to bed.

Image Sources: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria Del Rio and POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchat

Why Happiness May Not Make You Healthier

Our friends at YourTango dug deeper into a study that looked at the connection between health and happiness.

But this doesn’t mean you should be a cranky pants.

A new study asks the question: Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The answer from the researchers was, “Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality.”

This seems to go against everything we’ve been taught over the years ¡ª that a good mood will add years to your life, or that when you’re happy you don’t have stress damaging your heart. But sometimes thinking these kinds of thoughts places blame on the sick for bringing on their own illnesses and make the happy too complacent in regard to taking care of themselves.

In an interview in The New York Times, Sir Richard Peto, author of the study and a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said, “Believing things that aren’t true isn’t a good idea. There are enough scare stories about health.”

Since there’s a widespread belief that stress and unhappiness cause poor health, Peto and his colleagues decided to look into it. The Million Women Study is a prospective (watches for outcomes) study of United Kingdom women recruited between 1996 and 2001, who were followed electronically for cause-specific mortality.

Three years after recruitment, the baseline questionnaire for the present report asked women to self-rate their health, happiness, stress, feelings of control, and whether they felt relaxed. They also tracked the participants’ mortality through official records of deaths and hospital admissions.

The main analyses were of mortality before January 1, 2012 and included all causes, like ischaemic heart disease and cancer in women who didn’t have heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive lung disease, or cancer at the time they answered the baseline questionnaire.

When the answers were looked at statistically, unhappiness and stress weren’t associated with an increased risk of death. Since it was a Million Women study, they don’t know how or if these findings relate to men.

A substantial minority of these healthy women said they were stressed or unhappy, but over the next decade, they were no more likely to die than the women who reported being happy and stress-free.

“This finding refutes the large effects of unhappiness and stress on mortality that others have claimed,” Dr. Peto said.

This type of study, which is dependent on participants’ self-assessments, isn’t considered as indisputable as a more controlled experiment in which subjects are randomly picked and assigned to a treatment or control group. While there were a large number of participants, measuring emotions can be tricky, as not everybody is comfortable with reporting how unhappy or stressed they are. Happiness can be difficult to gauge.

Professor Peto said that he doubted that the new study would change many people’s thinking. But I think we should all aim for both happiness and health.

¡ª Kiarra Sylvester

Check out more great stories from YourTango:

32 Best Love Quotes For All You Married People!20 Things Really Really Happy People Do Way DifferentlyHow to Be Happy With Yourself: 5 Must-Read TipsImage Source: Shutterstock

Why Happiness May Not Make You Healthier

Our friends at YourTango dug deeper into a study that looked at the connection between health and happiness.

But this doesn’t mean you should be a cranky pants.

A new study asks the question: Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The answer from the researchers was| “Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality.”

This seems to go against everything we’ve been taught over the years ¡ª that a good mood will add years to your life| or that when you’re happy you don’t have stress damaging your heart. But sometimes thinking these kinds of thoughts places blame on the sick for bringing on their own illnesses and make the happy too complacent in regard to taking care of themselves.

In an interview in The New York Times| Sir Richard Peto| author of the study and a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford| said| “Believing things that aren’t true isn’t a good idea. There are enough scare stories about health.”

Since there’s a widespread belief that stress and unhappiness cause poor health| Peto and his colleagues decided to look into it. The Million Women Study is a prospective (watches for outcomes) study of United Kingdom women recruited between 1996 and 2001| who were followed electronically for cause-specific mortality.

Three years after recruitment| the baseline questionnaire for the present report asked women to self-rate their health| happiness| stress| feelings of control| and whether they felt relaxed. They also tracked the participants’ mortality through official records of deaths and hospital admissions.

The main analyses were of mortality before January 1| 2012 and included all causes| like ischaemic heart disease and cancer in women who didn’t have heart disease| stroke| chronic obstructive lung disease| or cancer at the time they answered the baseline questionnaire.

When the answers were looked at statistically| unhappiness and stress weren’t associated with an increased risk of death. Since it was a Million Women study| they don’t know how or if these findings relate to men.

A substantial minority of these healthy women said they were stressed or unhappy| but over the next decade| they were no more likely to die than the women who reported being happy and stress-free.

“This finding refutes the large effects of unhappiness and stress on mortality that others have claimed|” Dr. Peto said.

This type of study| which is dependent on participants’ self-assessments| isn’t considered as indisputable as a more controlled experiment in which subjects are randomly picked and assigned to a treatment or control group. While there were a large number of participants| measuring emotions can be tricky| as not everybody is comfortable with reporting how unhappy or stressed they are. Happiness can be difficult to gauge.

Professor Peto said that he doubted that the new study would change many people’s thinking. But I think we should all aim for both happiness and health.

¡ª Kiarra Sylvester

Check out more great stories from YourTango:

32 Best Love Quotes For All You Married People!20 Things Really Really Happy People Do Way DifferentlyHow to Be Happy With Yourself: 5 Must-Read TipsImage Source: Shutterstock

Burn More Calories and Get Happier With 21 Life-Changing Morning Hacks

If you often wake up feeling like you’re on the wrong side of the bed, you aren’t alone. Mornings are exhausting and hectic, and all we want is to get back in bed. Luckily, there are things we can do to have our best a.m. ever. Armed with these tiny tweaks, you can make your day healthier, happier, and just more fun.

Don’t hit snooze: The alarm clock can feel, well, alarming, but hitting snooze too many times actually makes it harder to wake up.

Work out: Sure, it can be hard to find the motivation, but a morning workout can help boost your energy (and metabolism) through the day

Breathe: Before you run off on your busy day, take a moment to breathe ¡ª you’ll feel balanced and ready to start the day off right.

Stretch: Sleeping can make your body stiff, so take a moment to stretch out all the kinks.

Or do yoga: This 10-minute series is all about boosting happiness.

Drink coffee: Don’t overindulge, but a cup of coffee can improve memory, help muscle pain, and more!

But skip the sugar: Sweetening up your cup of joe can actually harm your immune system and promote belly fat so try taking a few days off from sugar.

Have everything ready: If you’re in the habit of packing your purse and gym bag the night before, getting out the door early is totally stress free. Just grab what you need and go.

Bring your lunch: Grabbing a meal from your fridge can help you save money and calories, yippee!

Drink water: It will boost your metabolism and keep your skin feeling fresh.

Listen to music: Turning on the tunes can help you get energized and excited about the day ahead. Plus, feel free to add your own dance moves while you get ready.

Smile: Start the day off feeling positive ¡ª a smile can actually boost your mood.

Eat a balanced breakfast: Get all the nutrients you need and start the day on a healthy note.

Focus on fruits and veggies: Eating clean can help your body detox and reenergize for the day ahead.

Sip smartly: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a smoothie or green juice

but be smart. Since some premade versions can be full of extra sugar and calories, make your own!

Boost your immunity: If you’re feeling under the weather, whip up a quick immunity tonic to beat any cold that may be coming on.

Make your bed: No, it isn’t just a waste of time. Taking a second to straighten out your sheets and covers will make coming home feel so wonderful.

Wait to sign online: Give yourself time before checking your email, that way you won’t start the day off feeling superstressed.

Make a to-do list: If you’ve got a lot on your plate, or you just want to make sure to squeeze in time for yoga class, write it all down. A to-do list will help you feel organized and accomplished.

Don’t freak out: There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the day ahead. Know that even your busiest day will come to an end.

Give yourself some love: Look in the mirror and share a positive affirmation with yourself. You are smart, talented, and gorgeous, so be sure to remind yourself.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Burn More Calories and Get Happier With 21 Life-Changing Morning Hacks

If you often wake up feeling like you’re on the wrong side of the bed| you aren’t alone. Mornings are exhausting and hectic| and all we want is to get back in bed. Luckily| there are things we can do to have our best a.m. ever. Armed with these tiny tweaks| you can make your day healthier| happier| and just more fun.

Don’t hit snooze: The alarm clock can feel| well| alarming| but hitting snooze too many times actually makes it harder to wake up.

Work out: Sure| it can be hard to find the motivation| but a morning workout can help boost your energy (and metabolism) through the day

Breathe: Before you run off on your busy day| take a moment to breathe you’ll feel balanced and ready to start the day off right.

Stretch: Sleeping can make your body stiff| so take a moment to stretch out all the kinks.

Or do yoga: This 10-minute series is all about boosting happiness.

Drink coffee: Don’t overindulge| but a cup of coffee can improve memory| help muscle pain| and more!

But skip the sugar: Sweetening up your cup of joe can actually harm your immune system and promote belly fat so try taking a few days off from sugar.

Have everything ready: If you’re in the habit of packing your purse and gym bag the night before| getting out the door early is totally stress free. Just grab what you need and go.

Bring your lunch: Grabbing a meal from your fridge can help you save money and calories| yippee!

Drink water: It will boost your metabolism and keep your skin feeling fresh.

Listen to music: Turning on the tunes can help you get energized and excited about the day ahead. Plus| feel free to add your own dance moves while you get ready.

Smile: Start the day off feeling positive a smile can actually boost your mood.

Eat a balanced breakfast: Get all the nutrients you need and start the day on a healthy note.

Focus on fruits and veggies: Eating clean can help your body detox and reenergize for the day ahead.

Sip smartly: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a smoothie or green juice

but be smart. Since some premade versions can be full of extra sugar and calories| make your own!

Boost your immunity: If you’re feeling under the weather| whip up a quick immunity tonic to beat any cold that may be coming on.

Make your bed: No| it isn’t just a waste of time. Taking a second to straighten out your sheets and covers will make coming home feel so wonderful.

Wait to sign online: Give yourself time before checking your email| that way you won’t start the day off feeling superstressed.

Make a to-do list: If you’ve got a lot on your plate| or you just want to make sure to squeeze in time for yoga class| write it all down. A to-do list will help you feel organized and accomplished.

Don’t freak out: There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the day ahead. Know that even your busiest day will come to an end.

Give yourself some love: Look in the mirror and share a positive affirmation with yourself. You are smart| talented| and gorgeous| so be sure to remind yourself.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

20 Ways to Get Happy (Almost) Instantly!

Being happy may just be the single most important thing you can do for your health| making it just as necessary as diet and physical activity. If you aren’t feeling like yourself lately| not to worry. Knowing that times are stressful and the unexpected often occurs| here are ways to help you get back to happiness almost instantly.

    Play a game (not on your phone): Get your family together| invite some friends over| and have a game night. Not only will you be surrounded by good company| but friendly competition usually guarantees a good time and a good laugh. Smile: When in doubt| smile! Not only is it contagious| but smiling also helps relieve stress| boost your mood| and release endorphins.Go for a walk: If something isn’t going well at work or home| step outside and take a walk. It doesn’t have to be long| but a quick stroll will help you get fresh air and clear your mind. Call a friend: Don’t text; dial! Calling a close friend is a great way to talk over your worries and get advice from someone you trust. Try something new: Stop your rut by switching things up. Try a new gym class or restaurant| or take a new route to work in the morning. Unplug: Calm your mind by turning off your tech and escaping social media for a minute or two. Sing (out loud!): We give you permission to sing in the shower| car| anywhere. We promise you’ll feel better with or without a record deal.Volunteer: Nothing beats the feeling of helping others. Make a difference and meet a few friends in the process by checking out VolunteerMatch.Make a gratitude list: It’s often easy to focus on the negative or those things you don’t have. Quickly boost your mood by jotting down the things you are grateful for| both big and small. Eat up: Start cooking those fava beans; they make you happy! Since this bean contains high concentrations of an amino acid known as L-dopa (dopamine)| it will boost your mood and decrease depression.Practice yoga: Even the celebrities know that yoga has many health benefits. See for yourself by watching this 10-minute yoga series for happiness or finding a studio to begin your own practice. Take time off: Maybe you just need a break. Rather than planning a vacation| take the time to adventure around your local neighborhood. Visiting new spots may be just what you need to reset and appreciate what’s around you.Take charge: Go for it! Instead of getting bogged down by the big picture| take a small step in the right direction| now. Just knowing that you’re heading in the direction of your dreams will make you happy. Have fun in the kitchen: Even if you’re not a cook| take your mind off things by exploring new ingredients or trying a new recipe. If you don’t know where to start| browse our healthy recipes.Meditate: Meditation is a great way to unwind and strengthen the relationship between your mind and body. It’s free| too! And it comes with so many benefits. Give a compliment: Kick-start a smile with another person and a few genuine words.Declutter: For a clean slate| get organized. Getting rid of the clutter and rearranging your space will make it feel new. It is also a great starting point to move forward with future projects.Stay in the moment: Rather than trying to micromanage the future or worrying about the past| live in the moment and just be.Rest up: If you’re having a hard time getting your mind off things| reset with a power nap. A short break will give your mind and body a rest and will help you approach things differently when you wake. Know it’s going to be OK: Just remember| it’s always going to be OK.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography