Research shows that faking laughter can actually trigger the same chemical response in your brain as the real thing. It might feel very unfunny to you at first, but try it, you’ll notice an improvement in your mood within minutes. If nothing else, you can at least laugh at yourself for acting like an insane person…
But, if that falls flat, sometimes it just feels good to appreciate the little things. I’ve figured out that I don’t need much to be happy.
These definitely won’t apply to everyone, but here are three things that always make me smile.
A good morning routine
I love waking up at the same time every day for a solid week, so it gets to the point where my eyes open just seconds before my alarm goes off. I wake up feeling rested and ready for the day. Next step – exercise. Whether I hit the gym or run through the park, there’s no better way to feel energized. I love coming home from a good workout and making oatmeal. The best days are those when I have a new gallon of milk in the fridge and fresh apples to add to the hot cereal. After breakfast, it’s time to shower, change, and start the day. When I accomplish these simple tasks before 9 am, it feels like nothing can go wrong. Routines keep me feeling balanced.
A yummy-scented candle
I admit from time to time I fear becoming one of those sad single ladies who collects candles instead of cats, but then I remind myself – there’s nothing wrong with loving candles (or cats) as long as they aren’t being used to fill some deep void in your personal life. My favorite rainy day ritual? I light a cinnamon-scented candle and let it fill my apartment with its warm, comforting aroma. (Also, if the smell of the candle fails to put a smile on my face, then the fact that I spelled cinnamon right on my first try certainly will…)
A hot water bottle
When I first unveiled my hot water bottle in college, my roommate shot me a weird look then immediately got up and walked out of the room. I think she figured I was either really sick (it makes you look like a polio-stricken invalid from the 1920’s), or just completely out of touch with reality. Either way, my hot water bottle makes me happy on even the gloomiest of days. Now, you can be ridiculous like I am and opt for the cashmere-covered version (Restoration Hardware sells them and ohmygod they are divine) but the good old basic rubber ones work just fine too. On chilly days I like to fill mine with boiling water and hug it like it’s a puppy. I’ll rest it on my lap or put it at the foot of my bed and just bask in its warmth. The best part? Unlike a puppy there is no shedding, no slobber, and no taking it out for walks in freezing cold sleet.
What makes you happy?