10 Things Your Happiest Self Wants You to Do Every Day.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Jul 12, 2013
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Your happy to-do list.

Yesterday I was such a grump. I told my husband that my body felt like dog poo.

All week long my yoga practice had been ho-hum, my runs were inconsistent, and I was feeling just plain yucky.

This morning, however, I decided that it was high time to turn my mood around—so I took my tiny lady and her jogging stroller out for a run on my favorite trail.

The sunshine peeked through the trees, not quite sure if it was ready to be awake yet. (I can relate.)

The grass and foliage were lush and green thanks to all the rain we’ve had here in Ohio.

My body moved, and as it did the tightness drained, not only from my muscles, but from my mind and heart as well.

Aaaah, this is life.

Way too often I get caught up in the cerebral part of being human and forget to just move and breathe and be an animal—which led me to ponder those days that start out great (like today) and are wonderfully serene and happy throughout, right up until my head hits my pillow.

What is it about these days that make them so fantastic and joyful?

So I came up with this list of things to do if you want to enjoy simply being alive.

1. Move your body. Do something that gives your body a little bit of exercise every single day. You don’t have to hit the gym or go to the yoga studio or even dedicate a full hour—just do something, anything really.

A few of my preferred mood-boosting body moves are: dancing in the kitchen with my daughter while making dinner, taking a short walk in nature and breaking out five minutes worth of yoga core moves in the middle of the day (talk about quick energy).

2. Drink water. I love water—obsessively and adoringly. I know that some people find water to be a boring drink, but your body needs it, so drink up anyway. (After all, dehydration can lead to a serious case of the crankies, you know.)

3. Laugh. Find small ways to add laughter into your day.

Whether you call a friend who always cracks you up or you watch a stupid SNL skit you love on youtube, it doesn’t matter.

Better still, lighten up in general, and notice the humor that exists in your every, ordinary day that you often completely ignore. (If you’re really at a loss then watch a child—they find delight in those little, tiny moments that we adults sadly stopped noticing years ago.)

4. Be authentic. There’s nothing more unhappy than being phony. Try as hard as you can to let down your guard and just be the real you regardless of your setting. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s well worth the effort because putting on different masks for different people is exhausting.

Consider being open to the possibility that you are wonderful exactly as you are.

5. Eat healthy food. Ugh, eating crappy, processed food is sure to make your entire system feel lousy.

Fill up everyday on fresh fruits and vegetables—and pay attention to how good it makes you feel.

6. Yet still allow treats. I absolutely believe in eating dark chocolate and drinking wine and hoppy beer—in moderation.

One of my favorite ways to complete a good day is to break out one of my teensy, pretty chocolate plates along with a couple squares of the good stuff.

7. Do your chores. I sincerely do not like housework. I don’t like doing the dishes. I have a severe disdain for laundry. And you know what? Too bad. I have to do it anyway—and I always feel better after I do.

8. Reach out and touch someone. People are made to be social creatures. We need affection and good ol’ fashioned touching. Spend time cuddling with someone special and I promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards.

9. Remember tomorrow. When I felt horrible yesterday, I knew that I would feel better today. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re feeling down or things aren’t going exactly as you’d like is to remember that, thankfully, life is an ever moving ocean filled with changing tides.

10. Practice kindness. I’m telling you this from personal experience—being a jerk will not make you feel good. Rather, smile and extend your kindest you out into the world—because it’s entirely true that the love you take is equal to the love you make.

I think I’ll stop here for now—because the thing about happiness is that it’s not complex.

Happiness is noticing and then hanging onto those little things in life—hugs, sunshine on your skin, the after-effects of a great workout—that we too easily let slip past us.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama.

Like The Mindful Life on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick



About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


16 Responses to “10 Things Your Happiest Self Wants You to Do Every Day.”

  1. Ashley says:

    Love this & so, so agree. I realized today, after maybe a week of ho hum exercising (or lack thereof) that I just feel…sluggish. My energy feels stuck. Thanks for the reminder that I gotta get my meat suit moving!

  2. Lindsey says:

    Another amazing article by Jennifer. "Consider being open to the possibility that you are wonderful exactly as you are." Yes. Thank you!

  3. Thanks! I love your wording of your thought 😉

    When your energy feels stuck, you do need to just move! Dance! Clean! (all root chakra stuff) Good luck!

  4. Oh, Lindsey, thanks so much for your support. xo

  5. Jules says:

    "Be the real you regardless of your setting" was just what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you!

  6. Helen says:

    Lovely! I couldn't agree more. I walked in the pouring rain today and it felt great. I always think of that moment when you come through the front door, tired, wet and cold, you take off the wet shoes, you change your socks and put on your slouchy clothes, make a coffee and sit down on the comfy sofa in the warm room…..that's what it's all about. You'd never experience the delight of that without getting cold and wet first. Very well put, great article, thanks for sharing it. <3

  7. Kris Lord says:

    Love the article and everyone's comments above! I definitely have my down days as well, but even when I was a youngster, I have always felt so unbelievably lucky to be able to 'move' my body. What a gift it is.

  8. Karen says:

    Meat suit? Hahaha! That's hilarious!!

  9. Rob says:

    "Spend time cuddling with someone special"…Any tips or suggestions for finding that person?

  10. Silvina says:

    Love this list! Do you mind if I translate it into Spanish, including appropriate reference to the source, to share it in my personal blog? awaiting your approval, thank you for reminding us the simple things of life ♥

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Please write to us at [email protected]. Thanks. ~ ed.

  12. Sonya says:

    If a person isn't around for you right now, a dog is an amazing cuddle companion!!

  13. Bara says:

    Absolutely right on the mark:)))))

  14. Amy E says:

    Perfect. Great advice. Spot on. I have been doing all these activities lately. Feels wonderful!

  15. jjoanne silla says:

    Great , i want to read and apply daily. thanks.

  16. George says:

    "Be authentic. There’s nothing more unhappy than being phony." What happens if being authentic means you are unhappy? Sorry to be the voice of the downtrodden here, but this is something that many people (including myself) struggle with…and it seems that if we are to be authentic, that we can't be our happiest… Thoughts?