Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Be Happy

Lately I’ve been feeling a little down because of my impending ceremonious expulsion from college, aka graduation. In the past I’ve reverted to unhealthy means to making myself feel better, such as wallowing in self pity, bingeing on cookie dough, or yelling at my family. But these methods always leave me feeling much worse in the long run. So what’s a (sad) girl (or guy) to do? Here are some healthier alternatives that I’ve discovered throughout the past few months:


Exercise:

She gives off a little bit of a creepy vibe, but she gets the job done.

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If you know me at all, you know I’m not really the “exercising type.” I cannot participate in feats of strength, tests of agility, or endeavors of endurance. I have poor balance, little to no flexibility, and nothing to wear to a gym. So I hear ya when you say “nah, exercise makes me feel worse.” But seriously, working out really does boost mood-enhancing endorphins. At the very least, it feels so good when you stop! I highly recommend Jillian Michaels’s “30 Day Shred,” because nothing makes me happier than hearing her say “It’s time for our cool down, and boy do we deserve it.”


Eat Some Dark Chocolate:


It beats broccoli, that’s for damn sure.

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I know I just berated my past self for using food to make myself feel better, but hear me out. Chocolate is full of antioxidants/flavonoids (or whatever—the jargon’s not important) which basically makes it a health food. It can help prevent hypertension, heart disease, signs of aging, etc. Chocolate also boosts serotonin levels in the brain, the same thing some prescription anti-depression drugs do. It’s better than a drug because it’s cheaper, not addictive, healthier, and you don’t have to go to a skeazy doctor to get your fix. Just make sure you get dark chocolate (65% cacao or more) or else the health benefits will be upstaged by your expanding waistline (see “cookie dough,” above).


Write:

Just don’t try to get your unsolicited writing published. It’s most likely crap.

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You can write whatever you want—vent your feelings in a journal like you’re some kind of adolescent girl (kidding!), write a story about the happiest person alive, write a letter to a friend (or an imaginary friend, if your depression stems from not having any friends). You could even write a mean letter to someone you hate telling them eloquently why they should kiss you where the sun don't shine (just don’t send it, obvi). I did this last one once and it worked wonders.


Smile:

See, he doesn’t look like a moron

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This one is particularly hard for me, because sometimes I get into such a rut that I have to consciously hold back laughter when someone tells a joke because I need to remind myself that I’m not in a laughing mood. This is stupid. Don’t be like me: look in the mirror and smile, even if you feel like a moron. Supersmart psychology researchers have discovered that faking a smile tricks your brain into thinking it’s happy. Similarly, frowning makes you feel angry/sad, even if you’ve forgotten what irks you. So turn that frown upside down. If you really can’t bring yourself to smile, hold a pen in your mouth as if it is a rose and you are about to tango (it mimics a smile). If the mood strikes you, do an impromptu tango as well.


Make a List of Things You're Looking Forward To:

When did this blog become so happy hands at home granny circle?

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I like lists, as you can tell. I think everyone does. Plus, seeing all the things you have to look forward to, from having pizza for dinner that night, your spring break trip next month, going to a wedding in the summer, or buying your first briefcase in a few years (my own personal list) will make getting through your current funk a little easier.


If All Else Fails:
Here's another blog post on the subject, and this article provides 50 ways to get happier (many of which require you to travel to New York and subsequently drop a load of cash). One of their tips is to “Leave your mouth in that slightly upturned position it takes after saying ‘Cheez Whiz’” to make yourself feel more confident.

So is Ashley Olsen trying to be more confident, or is she just constantly talking about cheese in a can?

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Wow, I'm feeling happier already! What do you guys do to feel better when you're down?

4 comments:

  1. I was feeling better, then I saw that horrible display of "Papyrus". Papyrus does not make me feel good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I go for a long walk. Notice, I go for a long walk every day. Chocolate always helps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Greg, I knew you were going to point that out. There are no blessings to count when you have papyrus displayed in your home.

    ReplyDelete

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