Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to be Happy

Monday, I had a pretty rotten day, mostly from a mistake I made at work. I had a tough time not dwelling on it. But my brain came to the rescue during the night. Sometime just around dawn, I dreamt of puppies and kittens. Adorable little Dachshunds and even a blue Tartan cat (yes, I mean tartan like Scotsman tartan). I really, really love critters. And because of their dreamland visit, I woke up happy (even though it was an earthquake that woke me up).

I've mentioned how covering news can sometimes be a challenge on the emotional front. When you layer on technical issues and indecisive producers, it can do a doozie on your head. Yes, it's been on of those kind of weeks so far (which is why I haven't kept up on the daily blog front), but I refuse to let it get me down.

So what's the best way to pull out of it? Let's contemplate with the help of Google:

-- Eating a whole bunch of cake. Yes, it might provide a momentary slice of happiness, but would only make me sadder in the long run, right? Okay. So no cake.  :(

-- Ha ha! Okay. So I entered "ways to get happy," and on a Reader's Digest list I found this:  10. Tune out the news. For one week go without reading the newspaper, watching the news, or scanning the headlines online. Instead, take a vacation from the misery we're exposed to every day via the media and use that time for a walk, a meditation session, or to write in your journal.-- Oh dear. I'm in big, big trouble. So I can't tune out the news considering it's what I do for a living, but I reckon I could make sure to get my daily walk. I've been slackin' lately. So there's one to add to the list. Good. Next...

-- Years ago, Oprah suggested to keep a journal of happy things. She called it something I can't remember (gratitude journal?), but I loved the concept and still try to apply it every day (even though I don't always write it down). Like today, while parked near a jogging trail to report on sexual predators (ew!), I saw this really adorable squirrel dash across the grass. He was so doggoned cute! A really nice little nugget. (The joy, not the squirrel. I wouldn't eat a squirrel, even though I am from hillbilly genes.)

-- Save someone's life. Seriously. I found that in my Google search. Ummm... well. I don't think I can just-like-that save someone's life, but, uh... I'll keep that in mind. Next?

-- Act happy. Fake it 'til you feel it. YES. Now that fits perfectly with my philosophy.
 I'm a big believer in happiness being a state of mind. You can either dwell in the dark, or bring yourself back to the light. Several years ago, I got laid off from my job with a film company because of a merger. I was devastated. I moped. I ate donuts. And then I read The Power of Positive Thinking. I know it sounds hokey, but that book seriously changed my life. An absolute keeper!

-- This one's going to sound silly, but BREATHE. It's a Yoga thing, and Yoga makes me happy. So often, we forget to breathe deeply. We take shallow breaths all day long, starving our body when what it really needs is a big old snootful of air. Go on. Try it now. I will too. Maybe it will erase the bad day. Wow! I feel SOOO much better already!!!

-- I found quite a few lists suggesting singing. And yes, while singing does make me feel good, it makes those around me feel really, really bad. I mean, I'm the girl who got kicked out of choir. Whose boyfriend musician booted me from the background vocals on a song because I was THAT BAD. For the sake of the world, I'm going to skip the singing--at least in populated places.

--  Losing yourself in a great book. Now we're talking! There's nothing like getting completely absorbed in another world to make the negativism melt away. The written word is such a precious gift. If I don't have a book in progress, I feel lost. Yes. Reading is a sure-fire road to happiness.

So my top five:

1. Take a Daily Walk and enjoy the beauty of the fresh air.
2. Find the little things every day that make you smile and hold onto them.
3. Act happy even if you feel miserable, and soon you'll forget you're bummed.
4. Breathe all the way into your chest several times a day.
5. Read. Read. Read.

What are your favorite ways to get happy and stay positive? Drop a comment and share your tips!

And now... I'm off for a relaxing walk to look for the little things, all the while smiling and breathing and reading a book. Okay. So maybe I won't read while walking. That might get dangerous. I'll read in the bathtub when I get back.

Later gators!


  1. well, i started out reading this with a scowl and ended up with a smile. then i gathered my troops and had a talk with them - my fat puff-cat kilala, my pointy-faced demon-cat kona, and my ever-faithful friend and confidant, the german shepherd mrs. shmoo. we came to a consensus. being a mope is a bummer. but here's my thing - i really do act happy all the time, and most of the time it's not even an act . . . but i also cherish my angst because that's the well from which springs conflict and . . . story. maybe that's the artistic temperament. thanks for this lori. it's a spirit-lifter. hope to hang out for real some day. now THAT notion makes me happy.

  2. Really bad pop music makes me happy. I can't explain why, it just does. Right now I'm into Justin Bieber. I can put on any song from this 16 year old Canadian pop musician, sing along, and I'm instantly happier. Yes, I'm a thirty year old black woman and I shouldn't be obsessed with child music, but hey, whatever works, works. Scratching things off a to-do list also makes me happy. Sometimes the first thing on my to-do list will be "write a to-do list" that way as soon as I'm done, I get to scratch it off. Tada! Instant happiness.

  3. @Suki: Yes. That's actually a good technique, turning the angst of a day into the emotions of the characters, releasing them out of yourself and into an imaginary other. Nice!

    @Sybil: Ha! I have a secret. I sometimes listen to inane pop too, especially when working out. But don't tell anyone! It might ruin my image as a punk-rockin' biker!

  4. Loved the blog Modo! When I'm feeling a bit down I find that if I do something for someone else, it makes me feel great! I have a friend with cancer and so I made her some soup and took it to her. We talked and laughed about our shared grand kids for an hour or so. It made her feel better and did so much for me!

  5. Ah... a truly noble way to bring happiness, not just to yourself, but to others! Excellent suggestion!

  6. oooh so this is where you're been hiding your blog... ah, now I know

    Yay!! I'm still faking it! it works a treat. Just stick with it and eventually you'll be happy all the time.

    sometimes just getting more sleep helps...
    seriously, we don't sleep enough.

    An Earthquake?? what the heck?
    I've never experienced an earthquake before.

    a tartan puppy?! you dream weird, girl.

    have a good one!

  7. Lately, when I get into a funk, I decide to drag myself out of it. The longer I stay there, the worse I feel, so there's no choice really. Getting immersed in my characters' problems takes me away from mine. :)