“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
― Charles M. Schulz
Karen Salmansohn is author of Instant Happy and contributor to Huffingtonpost.com. Her work includes happiness tools that work as “pattern interrupts” to stop negative thoughts.
Here are 15 of her “Happiness Tools” that originally appeared in 15 Tools For An “Instant Happy” on psychology today.com, September 22, 2012:
1. Do a Shower Power Meditation. Take a shower and multi-task washing away your stress and anxiety.
2. Get Lit. Studies show that sitting in dark rooms can lead to darker thoughts and that, alternatively, spending time in bright light (from being outside in the sun or inside in very well-lit rooms) can create happier brain chemistry.
3. Stare at something yellow. Put on a yellow shirt. Buy some yellow flowers. “Yellow can lift your spirits and self-esteem,” says color psychologist Angela Wright.
4. Walk on something green. Being surrounded by nature is good for human nature. Go take a hike – or go for a stroll in the park.
5. Say “ohmmmmm.” Give yourself the gift of five minutes of quiet time, sitting in a comfortable position, humming “ohmmmmmm.”
6. Organize your home/office—and clean up messy thoughts in the process. It’s a funny thing how the less clutter you have all around you, the more calm your mind becomes.
7. Give yourself a helpful hand—with some hand reflexology. Massage the chakra points on your palms – right at the base of each thumb.Hold one hand in the other, then use the pad of your thumb to gently but firmly massage this zone.
8. Send the Universe Some “Muah!” Gratitude is often the antidote to depression. A study done by the University of California showed that when people took time each day to think about five things that made them happy, they increased their overall joy and improved some health issues as well.
9. Sniff Your Way to a Happier Mood. Studies from the University of Miami School of Medicine report that lavender is a major olfactory happiness tool—shown to improve mood, soothe anxiety, and even help to reduce some physical pains.
10. Have Some Punch. Punch a pillow. Punch a teddy bear. Punch some dough. Get the negative energy out of your system through energetic action.
11. Do Some Heavy Petting—With a Dog or Cat. Lots of studies repeatedly show how pets are a powerful furry form of stress relief. They lower blood pressure and reduce harmful stress hormones like cortisol. Plus, hugging and playing with pets has been shown to increase happiness-inducing oxytocin.
12. Go Fish. A Duncan study showed that watching a fish tank for thirty minutes lowered blood pressure significantly.
13. See Your Problems from a Headstand Position. Many yoga passionistas recommend doing headstands to release stress.
14. Get Doodle Happy. Grab some magic markers and doodle lots of heart icons. Big heart doodles. Small heart doodles. Give some of the heart doodles smiley faces. The silliness of this doodling action combined with the repeated visual stimuli of seeing icons representing love will cheer you up.
15. Read Your Way to a Happier You. Read through my newest book Instant Happy.