Small Ways to A Happy Life

conquest of happiness

conquest of happiness (Photo credit: the waving cat)

There are 15 simple things you can do to bring happiness in your life.  While most of them are free, those that aren’t don’t cost too much.  No, this isn’t another one of those work out, diet, and lose weight posts.  In fact, the Internet is inundated with such articles.  The content in this article consists of little things that you can do to make your life more pleasant.  Unfortunately, not everyone thinks about them.

  1. Spend time outside at night — Most everyone loves to spend time outside after dark.  This is a great time to get out of the house and venture into a local park or the wilderness.  Doing this is great in the summer, especially after a hot and humid day.  If you take someone along, you two can freely talk about anything and feel like an adventurous outdoorsman or hiker at the same time.  Most of all, you are not faced with the worries or cares of your daily environment.
  2. Call someone you don’t contact regularly — Calling someone you rarely ever talk to can seem daunting.  One reason people don’t stay in touch with those who are no longer a part of their daily lives is the fear of making fools of themselves by not knowing what to talk about.  These people may be former coworkers, old friends, former neighbors, those you once dated, etc.  No doubt, it is hard to get the ball rolling at first, but once you do, you will be happy with the results.  You will also learn more as their feelings about things and what they’re doing now.  Likewise, they would like to know how you’re doing as well.  Meanwhile, you both can learn about things neither one of you knew before.  I call people just to let them know how I am doing and what’s happening in my life.  I am always happy afterwards and have made the person I called feel more worthy knowing I am thinking about them.  Never have I wound up in a nowhere conversation.
  3. Create a weekly entertainment routine – Set aside a specific day of the week to do something that you truly enjoy.  It must be something that you do only once a week and only on one specific day of the week (ie: Sunday only).  Better yet, make sure this activity is scheduled for a certain time of the day (ie: evenings only).  For example, go bowling every Saturday afternoon with your friends, take your family to a matinee each Sunday evening, or attend a community club that takes place on Tuesday nights.  For this to work, you must set a strict schedule, unless perhaps, your activity entails building or enhancing your knowledge or skills.  By doing so, you have something to look forward to each week.  Doing such an activity several times a week and different times of the day lessens the joy of it and can even take its toll, not to mention that you soon will become sick of your routine entertainment.
  4. Clean up your living space – If you’re like Felix Unger on the Odd Couple where you have everything neatly organized and in its place, skip this section.  If your house (or apartment) is cluttered or messy, more than likely you’re unhappy living like this and perhaps, have a low self-esteem for being a slob.  I know it’s hard to get motivated to clean because it seems like hard work, but once you get started, you will find it’s not as laborious as you thought it would be.  You can even make it fun by turning on some music.  As you clean rooms and organize closets, you’ll find things you forgot you even had.  Quite often people find miscellaneous household goods such as receipts, documents, cleansers, paint thinner, etc that they thought they ran out of or threw out.  If that’s the case, you can save yourself money and grief.   While owning a home, I would choose a nice spring day to clean the yard or garage.  It was a good reason to be outdoors and enjoy the nice weather and have fun while doing these chores.
  5. Do someone a nice deed – It could be your mother, your spouse, or a stranger in trouble.  No matter who they are, if there is some little way you can make someone happy without a significant sacrifice, then do it.  For example, you can show up unexpectedly to mow your parents’ lawn, buy a bottle of wine and flowers for your wife, or help a motorist whose car is broken down on the side of the road.  Every so often, I give $5 to a homeless person because I know they need to eat just like the rest of us.  By doing this, I feel better about myself and if someone should offer me help, I feel I deserve it.
  6. Splurge – What comes to mind when you hear the word “splurge”?  For some it may mean eating something one’s diet does not permit or spending a small fortune on a nice item.  You need not defy you diet or break your budget to splurge.  If you are broke, you can simply take extra time out to do something you enjoy or just to relax.  Go ahead and let your chores slide for an hour or two.  Spend an extra hour lying in the sun on the beach or joy surfing on the Internet.  Allow your chores or cares to slide for an hour or two, unless they’re extremely time sensitive.  Taking that extra time out will make you feel better later.
  7. Elaborate on your favorite hobby or interest – Think about something that truly interests you and find ways to elaborate on it.  Don’t worry about what others might think.  If you truly love doing a specific thing, then by no means is it worthless.  For example, if you love nostalgia and would like to know what your community was like 50 years ago, do some research.  Go to your local library or city hall and request information.  On the other hand, if you love to let off steam about things people do that bug you, join a chat forum or create your own blog.
  8. Take a pleasure walk or drive – Being cooped up in the house too long can make you feel unhappy.  Getting out takes you away from the daily doldrums of your everyday life.  Playing music as you venture out makes your little journey even more enjoyable.  Visiting a locality that you haven’t been to in years may be interesting.  Best of all, you can leave your worries at home for a few hours.
  9. Volunteer your time – Here is an opportunity to learn more about your community while taking part in some industrious activity.  Knowing that you’re helping out less fortunate people than yourself will make you happy as well as raise your self-esteem.  Better yet, you can show others your finer skills and even make new friends.  Someone will appreciate your presence and contributions you make.
  10. Take on a constructive project – This can be a number of things depending on what you’re skilled at or like to do.  For example, those with carpentry skills may add electrical fixtures or fix things that are falling apart in their homes.  Those that enjoy sewing or crocheting may want to make articles of clothing for loved ones or wall-hangings.  My dad would buy run-down, antique wooden furniture and refinish these pieces to look really nice.  Whatever it is, after starting your project, you may be elated by the progress you’ve made.  At the same time, you can impress others with your art or skills. Most likely, you have just found a way to improve your home.
  11. Visit your local library – Going to the library doesn’t appeal to many people.  Some think libraries are strictly for children, scholars, or nerds who love to read.  Even if browsing the library isn’t your “cup of tea”, you may be surprised at what you’ll find there.  Nowadays, libraries offer much more than just books: they offer CDs and DVDs available to check out.  If you don’t have a computer with Internet access, you can spend an hour on one of their machines.  You can also read magazines or the local paper and even read back issues on days you missed.  And if you just want additional information on a particular topic, feel free to browse their shelves.  You may be surprise at what you may find.  Best of all, you can save yourself a few bucks by checking out books or media rather than buying them.  Try it, you’ll like it.
  12. Engage in creative writing – Here is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild.  Write something.  It could be anything that affects you deeply.  If you have a computer, whip out your word processor and type away.  If not, a standard notebook and pen will do.  Write whatever comes to mind.  Sure, it may be hard to get started, but once you do, you may not want to stop.  Do this whenever your imagination is fired up, even if this means taking a few seconds away from your chores every now and then.  Jot down ideas as they come to mind and elaborate on them when you have the time to do so.  Once you have begun, more and more ideas will come to mind.  Some will more likely require research.  Think up ways you can get the additional info you need.  This may be looking things up in newspapers, magazines, asking people, consulting reference books, or surfing the Internet.  Once you found these facts, you’ll know you have learned something.  In the end you’ll feel better about yourself as you now externalized you inner feelings and desires.
  13. Enrich your knowledge – Is there a particular subject you would like to know more about?  You may learn things about it by finding sources on it.  Just stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Where can I find more info on this topic”?  This may mean browsing your local library or bookstore for a book or magazine.  As you know, the Internet is an endless venue of information and if you don’t like to read, there are videos and other visual materials available.
  14. Make your chores fun – Instead of approaching a chore with the attitude, “I don’t want to do it, but I have to”, find a way to make it interesting.  So your wife has been nagging you for months to clean the garage.  All the while, you’ve been making excuses like, “I don’t have the energy” or “I am too busy”.  Make this chore fun and interesting.  Think up ways you can help prevent the garage from becoming messy again.  For example, you can add shelves, install drywall, add lighting fixtures, put in ceiling hooks, or apply a finish to the floor that will make it look clean enough to eat off of.  If you don’t have the money or skills to renovate it, make it a reason to get out and enjoy the weather while blasting your radio.  Think about how much nicer your garage would be if everything in it was organized and easy to find or how much more room you’d have if you got rid of the excess junk.  Once you start such a job, you will come up with creative ways to make it more interesting.  The next thing you know, the job you once dreaded becomes the project you can be proud of.
  15. Play a game – Take some time out and play a game.  With the vast amount of games available these days, there is no excuse for not finding a game you enjoy.  If you have a computer or gaming machine, great.  If not, there are a countless variety of puzzles along with traditional board games.  I love crossword puzzles, especially when I have a dictionary handy or am near a computer where I can look up the answers.  While completing them, I learn interesting things.   I also found that putting together a jigsaw puzzle while listening to the TV makes me more attentive to what is being said during the news.

If you’re still reading this, more likely you have an open mind and believe my suggestions are real.  You are then apt to try one or more of them because you truly want to be happier than you are now.  And best of all, you believe you can.

For those who’ve scanned over this post and left it, chances are, they are thoroughly convinced that none of my suggestions will work.  These readers are very much set in their own ways and might not have the courage to do any of these things for fear of failure.  Yet for others, they may firmly believe that they’ll never enjoy these activities and that they’ll deprive them of their precious time.

As human nature is concerned, we are mainly influenced by stimuli in our daily environments.  Often, it’s other peoples’ actions that influence ours.  For example, you can ask someone to learn to play guitar, but if this person never picked up a guitar in his entire life or never knew anyone who has, more likely he has no motivation to learn.  However, if family members or friends of his play guitar regularly, he might be enticed to try.

Hence, beginning a new activity is never easy.  Many fear that it either takes too much effort or that it might end in unfavorable results.  Others feel that a new activity will only create a nuisance in their lives, preventing them from watching their favorite TV shows or doing their chores.  Those with an open mind will find a way to form a sense of balance between their cares and their leisure time.

So please try one of these activities or create one of your own.  What have you to lose?  If it doesn’t work out you can always quit.




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