Some 2 Minute Happy Ideas

Here is another list of "happy things". :) I didn’t add my thoughts to this one otherwise it would get really long! It’s easy to agree/disagree but overall, I think being open to it is better for my mood.

But maybe there is something in it that sparks some ideas for you!
Karen :)

1. Do a Good Deed
People who volunteer are likelier to be happier than those who don’t—regardless of how much money they make or other socioeconomic factors. Pitching in for a regular cause in your community is ideal, but you can make a difference in other ways in mere minutes. Join the Love/Avon Army of Women, a new initiative Prevention is supporting to help prevent breast cancer; become an organ donor; or sign up for a charity walk. Researchers believe volunteering boosts happiness because it increases empathy, which makes you appreciate all the good stuff in your own life.

2. Flip Through Old Photos
United Kingdom’s Open University found after they examined how much people’s moods rose after eating a chocolate snack, sipping an alcoholic drink, watching TV, listening to music, or looking at personal photos. The music and chocolate left most people’s moods unchanged; alcohol and TV gave a slight lift (1 percent), but the winner by a long shot was viewing pictures, which made people feel 11 percent better.

3. Munch on Nuts
For a mood-lifting snack, stash walnuts in your desk drawer. Or sneak salmon into your salad for lunch. They’re both packed with omega-3 fats, which may make people less prone to depression—and easier to get along with, say researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. They measured the blood levels of omega-3 fats (a reliable indicator of consumption) of 106 healthy adults and gave them psychological tests. Those with the highest omega-3 blood levels scored 49 to 58 percent better on the tests than those with the lowest blood levels.

4. Inhale a Calming Scent
Fill your office with a fragrant candle or diffuser to calm down during a deadline-packed day. In an Austrian study, researchers wafted the smell of oranges before some participants and lavender before others. The two groups felt less anxious, more positive, and calmer when compared with participants who were exposed no fragrance at all.

5. Open Your Shades
To feel happier in seconds, let the sunlight stream in when you first wake up. One study of more than 450 women found that those who got the most light, particularly in the morning, reported better moods and sleep. Got more time? Eat breakfast near a window that gets plenty of daylight, and put exercise equipment near a bright view. Some researchers speculate that combining exercise with morning light exposure may amplify light’s beneficial effects on mood, sleep, and alertness, says Anthony Levitt, M.D., a University of Toronto light researcher.

6. Walk around the Block
If you work in a windowless office, make sure you step out to see the sun a few times throughout the day. "A couple of studies show that people who get more light exposure during the day have fewer sleep problems and less depression, and evidence suggests that light can keep you alert and productive," says Daniel Kripke, M.D., a University of California, San Diego, light and sleep expert.

7. Clear Away Clutter
Disorganized heaps of paper in your cube or on the kitchen counter can make you anxious. For some, "clutter is a reminder of things that should be getting done but aren’t," says Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person. "It can make you feel like a failure." For a quick fix, straighten up a few surfaces in your office or in the areas of the house where you spend the most time. "It’s when every bit of space is messy that it’s most disturbing," says Aron. Don’t bother to organize unless you have a chunk of time. Instead, arrange papers, books, and other detritus of daily living in neat piles or store them in baskets. "Just the illusion of order is enough to ease the mind," she says.

8. Think Fast
Turn your thoughts into a race—it can lift the blues in minutes, says Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin, Ph.D. For example, when your mother-in-law is driving you crazy, give yourself 30 seconds to make a list of all the ways she’s been helpful to you in the past—you’ll feel better fast. (If nothing nice comes to mind, quickly jot down other ways she bugs you; speed thinking negative thoughts can still improve your mood, Pronin found.) Researchers believe that rapid thinking may release feel-good brain chemicals—or it could just be a helpful distraction.

9. Cue Up YouTube
A hearty laugh produces a chemical reaction that instantly elevates your mood, reduces pain and stress, and boosts immunity, studies show. Stanford University researchers literally saw this on fMRI scans, where they traced changes in brain activity to a region called the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), which rewards behaviors such as laughing by releasing dopamine, a natural opiate.

10. Rethink Your Retail Therapy
Before you plunk down that credit card at the mall to feel better, read this. To get more happiness for your dollar, splurge for experiences instead of stuff. Psychologist Miriam Tatzel, Ph.D., of Empire State College surveyed 329 shoppers and found that "experiencers"—consumers who are easygoing about spending on a great meal out or a concert, for example—are happier than those who lavish their money on material goods such as clothes or jewelry. Added bonus: Experiences allow you to spend quality time with family and friends; a new pair of shoes is a solo endeavor.

11. Zone Out
Rest, peace, quiet, and solitude can also create joy. Some research suggests that we may have an inborn need to zone out once in a while. In an exploratory study, researchers observed three babies who turned away or blocked their eyes in response to overstimulation. Mothers who recognized this behavior and gave their children needed downtime had happier, easier babies. Give yourself a time-out during a hectic day: Push your chair away from your desk, kick up your feet, and close your eyes. Think about something that takes your mind off the daily grind, like fun plans for the weekend.

12. Chat Up a Friendly Neighbor
Socializing with a cheerful person in your neighborhood increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy too. Surprisingly, this had even more of a mood-boosting impact than spending time with an upbeat sibling, according to a recent study. How often you get together matters most, say the researchers: People who live within half a mile of buoyant friends increase their odds of being happy by 42 percent. If your friends live farther away (within a 2-mile radius), the chances drop to 22 percent—probably due to fewer get-togethers. Other research found that "very happy" people visit with neighbors 7 more times a year than unhappy people.

13. Chop veggies
It’s a favorite unwinding technique of Andrew Weil, M.D., a Prevention advisor and leading integrative medicine expert. After a particularly emotional and stressful day during his residency, Weil went straight to the supermarket. "I bought ingredients and spent several hours cooking in the kitchen. There was something about chopping vegetables, making order, creating something wonderful—that whole process neutralized my negative mental state," he says. On the menu: soup, vegetable lasagna, and poached salmon. Weil still uses the method—along with exercise, yoga, and meditation—today. "I still like to cook; it’s a very satisfying feeling."

"But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes." ~William Shakespeare

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