Life comes equipped with up’s and down’s that make it hard to stay positive all the time. If you’re feeling down, these forty ways to practice joy might make you feel better.
1. Throw off your work clothes as soon as you get home, replace with comfortable pajamas, snuggle up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn or ice cream, and turn on one of your favorite 80’s movies.
2. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage, trip to a sauna, or full spa treatment.
3. Visit some younger relatives and challenge them to a game of dodge-ball, four square, or hide-and-go-seek.
4. Smile, say hi, (maybe even wink at) every person you see today. Enjoy the reaction. ;)
5. Surprise your mom or dad with a phone call right after work, Ask them to tell you a funny or embarrassing story about their relationship’s early days.
6. Compliment one person whose work you admire on Twitter every day (networking: it doesn’t have to be complicated!).
7. Dress ridiculously nice (for no reason at all).
8. Look in the mirror and identify something about your body that you find cute, handsome, or attractive.
9. Exercise in a way that gives you joy. Lift, run, dance, jump, swim, play!
10. Breathe deeply. Imagine the things you are thankful for on each inhale. Let go of your upset feelings on each exhale.
11. Walk at the park while listening to nature sounds. This will calm your nerves after a stressful day at work.
12. Visit the library. Ask a librarian what their favorite book is. Read it. Go back and talk about it after you finish.
13. Buy yourself a new outfit that makes you feel confident. Be amazed at the difference in your demeanor.
14. Gaze at the clouds. Quiet your inner-chatter. Try to identify interesting shapes in the sky.
15. Drink a big glass of ice water with chopped fruit added for taste, because you’ll feel much better if you’re hydrated.
16. Tell a silly joke to a co-worker who looks like they’re having a bad day.
17. Watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, but no one will go with you, because you need to learn how to enjoy yourself without needing the company of another.
18. Find a new restaurant to visit. Ask your waiter or waitress what their favorite dish is. Order it (especially if it is something you’ve never tried before!).
19. Speak to yourself with kind words that lift your spirits. Don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about another person. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated!
20. Throw a party, invite five of your closest friends, ask them to bring a dish or six-pack of beer or bottle of wine, and have a good time together.
21. Go to a kickboxing class. Imagine the things you’re pissed off about while kicking and punching. You’ll feel a lot better when you’re done!
22. Read the book that inspired you the most, highlight your favorite passages, and write them down in your own words. Expressing an author’s most important points in your own words will help you remember it better.
23. Give your dog or cat a new toy and get tickled when you see how excited it makes them. Video their reaction and put it on Facebook or Instagram so your friends can laugh, too.
24. Talk to a total stranger at the bar. Ask them if they would be willing to tell you a crazy or interesting story. If they are, engage eye contact and actively listen (don’t look at your phone!). Tell them a story, too.
25. Say thank you and really mean it. Make sure to tell them why you appreciate them specifically!
26. Share an interesting article with a networking contact you’ve lost touch with. They will appreciate the thought.
27. Learn a new hobby like knitting, juggling, or ice-sculpting. If you realize you hate it, try a new one. Repeat until you find something you love.
28. Invent a funny song about your day while you’re driving your car. It could be about that delicious sandwich you ate, that gorgeous waitress you met, or whatever is on your mind.
29. Scratch your dog’s chin and forehead. Your pet can’t reach those areas with their paws, so they will love it!
30. Jump into a pool (even if you can only dog-paddle like me), because if you don’t now, you’ll wish you did when summer is over.
31. Stop hanging out with people who don’t appreciate you for who you are. Friends should be upfront and honest, but that doesn’t mean they have to be hateful about it.
32. Walk barefoot in the grass. Try to perform a cart-wheel. If you fall on your butt, that’s okay — laugh at yourself and enjoy a brief moment with mother nature.
33. Hand-write a poem or love letter, wrap it up with a bow, put it in a nice bag with some bite-sized chocolates, and give it to your partner.
34. Climb a tree as high as you can go. If that’s too hard, hop up to grab a branch, and swing like a monkey for as long as you can hold on.
35. Dig through photo-albums so old that you’ve almost forgot about them. Reminisce about your favorite childhood memories, and get tickled at the blackmail worthy photographs your parents took.
36. Take a few days off work and enjoy a staycation. Go to a nearby theme-park, amusement park, thrill ride; stay in and get absorbed in a good book, movie marathon, creative project; or do whatever you feel led to do.
37. Listen to upbeat music while doing monotonous tasks like folding laundry or fixing breakfast. Dancing like a crazy person makes even the most boring of chores more bearable!
38. Have a pillow fight with your partner. Be more playful with them in general. If you’re lucky, it could lead to something more frisky and fun.
39. Make a silly face at yourself in the mirror. Challenge yourself to see how many different dramatic expressions you can make, all the way across the emotional spectrum. Happy, angry, sad, embarrassed, scared, aroused? There is no limit!
40. Tell us about the ways you practice joy in the comments (and make sure to share this with your friends). :)
Featured photo credit: Joy on the Beach in Cape Cod/Diana Robinson via flickr.com