Thursday, April 28, 2011

100 Steps Toward Happiness: Part 1

I've decided to compile a list of things that make me happy. They might seem silly or pointless or just downright ridiculous at times--but give them a try. You never know... they might make you happy, too. And what is so bad about that? Exactly! Nothing!

This is the first installment--the first ten steps to happiness. Each installment with be ten more things, until I reach 100! Expect them every Thursday for the next ten weeks.

That way, you have ten things to be happy about every week for ten weeks! It's like hitting the lottery, smile-style. Cha-ching!

1.) When you make eye contact with someone, smile. The first couple times this might feel weird. It might feel creepy. But when you make eye contact with someone, even if it's a stranger, make it a habit to smile. Who knows? They just might smile back. And then you're both smiling, and life is good.

2.) Compliment yourself every morning. You know when you're standing in front of the mirror after waking up, you're brushing your teeth, your hair is a mess, and you're still a little groggy? Spit out the paste and compliment yourself. "Damn, girl! Those are some dazzling, pearly whites!" "Oh hey, cutie. You're lookin' fine this morning." "You're going to kick some butt in that meeting today." "What beautiful eyes you have!" All right, it's a little silly talking to mirror-you at 7 in the morning (or whenever in the morning), but give yourself an ego-boost in the AM. It'll set your mood for the day.

3.) Listen to a feel-good song. Personally, I have a feel-good playlist that I like to play for myself whenever I need a mood-booster, but even just having one go-to song to listen to in order to help you smile is good enough. I recommend When I'm Up by Great Big Sea, Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root, or Catch My Disease by Ben Lee.

4.) Eat something yummy. Whenever I'm feeling a little blue, if I eat something delicious it helps me to feel better. I'm not talking about bingeing on oreos or finishing an entire jumbo-bag of potato chips (although, I'll be the first to admit I've been there, done that). I'm talking about eating just enough of something that has good feelings attached to it. For me, it's peanut butter. It's hard for me to feel unhappy while eating a banana or an apple with some peanut butter on it, because it's just so damn tasty!

5.) Pick one place to call your own and decorate it. Whether it's in your room, kitchen, office, desk, or garden (or anywhere else for that matter), pick one place that you spend a lot of time in and decorate it with things that make you happy. Currently, the wall next to my bed in my apartment in Rome is covered with pictures of my family, friends and dogs in addition to a few of my all time favorite fortune-cookie fortunes, a message from my boyfriend, some birthday cards, and a few magazine clippings. These things remind me that I'm loved--and that makes me happy!

6.) Open a window. Everyone needs a little fresh air once in a while, and what better way to get it than opening your window, especially if it's a nice day. It brings in some warmth and breeze into any stuffy apartment or house, and then you can hear the goings-on of your neighborhood, as well. For me, when I open my window, I get to hear birds chirping, little Italian men greeting each other with "Ciao!" and "Buon giorno!" and mopeds zip by down the street. It reminds me of all the good things my neighborhood offers!

7.) Wear something fun. For me, I love big earrings. I have more pairs than I probably know what to do with, and I rarely go out without a big, dangly, bold pair in my ears. They're unique, and a great conversation starter. So wear something different, like a brightly colored pair of sneakers or a flashy patterned shirt or a glitzy handbag or a bold solid color tie. It doesn't matter what it is, but it will make people want to know about it and will more than likely gather you a few compliments.

8.) Blow Bubbles.  Remember when you were a kid and you'd get those little jars of bubble soap with bubble wands and you'd stand outside with your siblings and neighborhood friends blowing bubbles for who knows how long? I know I sure do. And it was a blast. I can't think of something I enjoyed more than blowing bubbles on summer days when I was ten years old. It was the bees knees. And I know that, eleven years later, I still get giddy whenever I see someone blowing bubbles. It makes me want to join in. So go to your local dollar store and buy some bubbles. I bet you'll have fun.

9.) Celebrate a ridiculous holiday with a group of friends. International Chicken Wing Day? Sounds delish! Leif Erikson Day? Yarrr! Cockroach Race Day? Ok... maybe not. But regardless of what you want to celebrate, there's probably a ridiculous holiday for it. And with a few good friends and some funny ideas, I'm sure you can think up a good time and be happy while celebrating. Check out some of the holidays here.

10.) Keep your room organized. Now, for clutter bugs like myself, this might seem like more of a chore than a way to stay happy. But I assure you, if you keep on top of your mess and continually put things where they belong instead of on your floor or desk, you'll be happier. Clutter amounts to stress, because then when you go to look for something you have to sift through piles before finding it (if you even manage to find it). So instead of letting it pile high until its unmanageable, be sure to put things where they belong every day. It makes cleaning easier, it means less stress, and it makes everything look nice! Cleanliness - Stress + Looking Nice = Happy!

What are some little things that make you happy? Share here and perhaps you'll be credited and see your suggestion in one of the future additions to 100 Steps Toward Happiness!


  1. Thank's Sy! And welcome to Learning the World! I look forward to seeing you around :-)

  2. First thing every morning, step outside, even if it's raining, and look up at the sky and say "Thanks for this beautiful day!" (I have to admit, this is not my idea...Jerry stopped here for a bit when he was out on a bike ride and this is his idea!)He says, "Hi, Hayley!"

  3. Tell Jerry I say hello back :-)


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