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November 21, 2012

21 “Non-Spiritual” Things that make us Happy.

21 Simple “Non-Spiritual” Things that make for Daily Happiness.

It’s the Little Things.

What’s something “non-spiritual” or “non-religious” you do that others can do, too, to be happy day-to-day? Say in comments, below. Be specific-ish!

1. Touch water. Whether in the form of a hot bath, a cool drink of water (stay hydrated!), swimming or the ocean, water heals.

2. Sweat once a day. Exercise—find something you enjoy doing, and do it. I like bicycling, climbing, and yoga.

3. Eat real food. If it has more than three ingredients, generally, or if you’ve seen an ad for it, generally—skip it.

4. Support, subscribe, read a good magazine (print or online) that’s better than you are—with a hot drink of coffee or tea and a little sunshine and quiet.

5. Keep our clothes off the floor. While a messy house, full of love, can be delightful, our environments reinforce our mental states, just as our physical posture can enlighten or depress us. So let’s practice keeping things relatively clean not out of a sense of uptightness, but out of a sense of matter-of-fact delight in daily beauty, respect and simplicity.

6. Community. Even if we don’t meditate, seeing community—bicycling around, at the dog park, at the grocery, at the cafe—will uplift and open our troubled hearts.

7. Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Smile at a stranger. Smile, period. It gets easier with practice (I say this as someone who doesn’t suffer new agey fools, gladly). Laughter, too, is one thing that’s no less delightful even if you’re faking it until you really mean it.

8. Work in an office, or live with, a dog. Dogs are shown to dramatically up folks’ happiness, and productivity, both. And they’ll force you to get outside. Caveat: only adopt if we’re ready, more or less. Never buy.

9. Breathe in and out, slowly, once a day. Feel one’s breath like the rising, falling waves. Breathe deeply, clearing out old air. Breathe up into one’s collar bones.

@waylonlewis on Instagram

10. Never eat while standing up, or driving. We’ll overeat, generally, and we won’t enjoy the food so much.

11. Never cell phone while talking, or walking. Do one thing at a time, and know that it’s not a waste—being present is always more efficient, and leads to space for good ideas and fresh approaches.

12. Hike. Or, just walk. Get out in nature. Or, a park. Nature opens us up, and calms our kleshas.

13. Stop obsessing about one’s own happiness. Help others. In small or ongoing ways.

14. Put on a favorite song and sing it out, like we mean it.

@waylonlewis: Instagram. elephant tote bag, side one. Organic, Made in USA.

15. Pick up trash in the street. Take a bottle out of the trash, and put it in recycling. Save unused napkins from a restaurant for use at home. Do little things for society that may go “unrewarded.”

16. Watch a movie and eat a little too much ice cream/pop corn/vegan ice cream/edamame/nuts. Collapsing into one’s core once in a while is necessary to one’s creative energies.

17. Put a few photos of loved ones around.

18. Be honest. This includes doing work for money that we can believe in, or finding a way to feel good about it.

19. Sleep more. Even a little more. I have no idea how, but it’s a good idea.

20. Write. Whether a journal or a blog, expressing oneself is cathartic and sensical-making.

21. Meditate. There’s nothing “spiritual” about meditation. It’s simply sitting still, with good, relaxed posture, and paying attention to one’s outbreath. When we notice a thought, that’s fine, we acknowledge it with a “label” by saying, silently, to ourselves, “thinking,” and returning to the outbreath. Before we know it: present moment, from whence all great and good things manifest.

 

 

 

Bonus! If you’re still frowning, here’s one more trick:

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Jo Jansen Apr 18, 2019 9:19am

I’ve been realizing, for a while, that I have never been happier in my life than I am right now. I realized, reading this, that every single one of the things you just mentioned have become so ingrained in my behaviour that I rarely even think about them anymore. I actually laughed out loud in delight!

Michelle Ross Apr 16, 2019 12:20pm

Yes! Some of these practices resonate with me. As well as putting my hands in the ocean/water daily- in the case of the ocean, as often as I can convince my kids that there may not be jellyfish &/or sharks there- I also think it’s good to get your hands into dirt on a regular basis. Try gardening with a small veggie patch indoors or out- though outside in fresh air always beats indoors, but get what you can because the sun is essential in 10 minute fully exposed doses, (with a high factor sunscreen thrown on no matter what colour your skin is!!). Don’t forget the Moon and stars either. Make a plan to observe a different phase each month in a place with low light pollution, (not always practical or possible, hence one part of the phase per month to start).
I also believe that those with nothing have the most to give of themselves, which is the only gift of worth in my opinion anyway;))
Thanks Waylon.

beckyandbello Apr 16, 2019 11:26am

Bravo!!! Keep up the Good Consciousness. (I am a teacher – but aren’t we all (-;

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.