Good Natured

Boost Your Happiness

Techniques to soothe the mind

By Karen Frye

The first quarter of the year has been a challenging time, more so than I can ever remember. We have ways to lift up our spirits when things seem uncertain and fear takes over our thoughts. Here are some suggestions that can make you feel better in just a few minutes.

Look at pictures of people and animals you love. Remember the enjoyable times you shared and send them a silent wish of happiness.

Exercise, even if only for a few minutes. Take a brisk walk, do jumping jacks — anything to get your heart rate up and, breathing deeply, more oxygen into your lungs. In one minute you will feel better.

Give someone money. Research shows that when we give money to someone in need, we immediately feel better about ourselves, and the other person will feel better, too, because someone cares.

Work toward a goal. It can be a simple task like organizing your desk (that always makes me feel better), or eating healthier foods. Feel good about your progress.

Remember the power of appreciation. Saying “thank you” to the people who work in public jobs — the grocery store checkout person, the server delivering take-out meals, the garbage collectors, the UPS driver — is a quick happiness booster.

Write down a few things that you are grateful for in your life. Your children, your pets, the food on your plate. When you write things down you have a visual reminder of all the goodness in your life.

Do a 90-second heart meditation. Take a deep breath and imagine exhaling from the center of your chest. Then close your eyes and imagine someone you love. Recall times you’ve shared with them and feel gratitude that they are in your life. This simple method can take you from stressed out to blissful in 90 seconds! It can reduce your stress hormones for up to five hours.

Play a song that you like, and sing along. This can lift you out of almost any bad mood.

Finally, the most effective way to quickly boost your happiness is to do an act of kindness for a stranger or a friend. Even the smallest acts have beautiful outcomes.  PS

Karen Frye is the owner and founder of Nature’s Own and teaches yoga at the Bikram Yoga Studio.

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