Someone sparked this idea on Twitter (thank you, @gracekboyle!), and it inspired me to write a blog post about it.
1. BE GRATEFUL
This is really the core of any happiness that I've found. Whatever you have: not enough, enough, too much, way too much, be grateful for every last stitch of it. In my experience, if you can be grateful in a day, you're well on your way to happy already.
2. BE GLAD YOU HAVE A JOB.
You're one of those people whose entire department got laid off, and you're stuck doing five people's jobs? Be glad you have a job. Think of ways you've always wanted to do things, and now that no one's there you can implement them.
3. BE GLAD FOR ALL THE FREE TIME.
If you're on the other end of that spectrum, and are feeling like you've been unemployed for too long, relish in all the free time that you have after being a hard-working slob for too many years. You can finally read those books you've set aside. Get some gardening in. Tackle that home improvement project that your wife/husband bugs you about. The world is your oyster, baby. It just, ahem, doesn't have a job in it at the moment.
4. GO WILD WITH SELF-IMPROVEMENT
OK, maybe you're like me and can just do one thing. So pick one thing and start it this year: yoga, meditation, long walks in the park, whatever. Put it in your day planner. Make it happen. You'll feel better, I swear.
5. TURN OFF
At least an hour a week, turn off something that's distracting your attention: computer games, the evening news, Guitar Hero, afternoon soaps, whatever it is that's keeping you from becoming a better self. Turn it off. Keep it off. Commit to an hour. See how it feels. Go for longer.
6. TUNE IN
Use that time to get intimate with yourself. For women, a long bubble bath usually works. Or a massage. Contemplating your chakras in meditation. Working out. Whatever it is that you do just for yourself. Do it.
7. LET THE WORLD FLY AWAY
Too many of us get bogged down in the judgments of others, trying to conform to society's standards. Practice this well, and you'll be much closer to that elusive happiness thing. Work consciously (daily if you have to) on self-acceptance. We are all at the ready with shame about those five extra pounds, or that bad skin, or those knock knees: whatever it is you really dislike about yourself. Look in the mirror and say (out loud is better): I LOVE MYSELF EXACTLY AS I AM. Mean it. Live it.
8. MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
Yes, I know. Twitter is addicting. Internet porn is compelling. Put it down and spend a lunch with a friend you haven't seen for awhile. Or make some popcorn and let someone else share that TV you are so proud of. Reaching out to a friend will go a long way to paving your road with happiness.
9. SLEEP MORE
Most Americans aren't getting enough sleep. Sleep restores and refreshes your natural body clock. Get more of it.
10. PICK ONE DIET ITEM
Everyone resolves to quit every heinous thing in their diet, gets overwhelmed and gives up. How about this. Pick ONE thing that is doing your body harm and skip it for a week. (Caffeine, sugar, fast food, sodas are just a few suggestions.) Notice how much better you feel without said item in your body. See if you can do it again the following week. Test, rinse, repeat.
Let me know how it goes.