Even someone with a perfect life most likely desires a little more happiness. As a result, the art of happiness has become a prolific enterprise, with books, courses, and apps assuring you they’ll be the one thing to make you truly happy finally.
Because of this, we’ve all heard the most common bits of advice—learn to meditate, start a journal, write down what you’re grateful for, try yoga—but that doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. So instead, you might turn to a more unique path to happiness, like one of these out-of-the-box ideas.
Start a new project.
Have you ever found yourself with the urge to start a side hustle after you’ve been in a funk? Few things bring us quite as much satisfaction as starting a new project. For example, you might decide to start a YouTube channel or esports career, researching the ideal lighting for streaming and the best webcam to use for vlogging. Then, when your ring light arrives and you adjust the brightness to the recommended level for your setup, you’ll feel a little happier as you start to become a streamer.
Work on your mindset.
If you’ve spent any time amidst self-help or personal development gurus, you’ve probably heard about mindset work. Professionals like Julie Ann Otis spiritual healer can help you learn to feel better, think more positively, and manifest your deepest desires. Of course, you’d be happier after making your dreams come true. In the meantime, a positive mindset will encourage you to be as happy where you are now as you will be when you reach your goal.
Indulge in some retail therapy.
If you’ve suffered from a shopping addiction, retail therapy might not be a good fit for your needs. For those who are feeling down and don’t have that risk factor, though, a bit of shopping can do some good. Under the brightness of a store’s fluorescent lights, browse your favorite shop’s selection of clearance jewelry and accessories.
Buying a bracelet won’t cure depression or other mental health conditions, but shopping for necklaces or earrings can be an easy way to get a quick boost of happiness—and, by shopping clearance selections, you won’t risk blowing your budget on jewelry.
Talk to a stranger.
To the socially anxious, the thought of chatting with a total stranger won’t exactly spark joy. Others, though, may find that talking to someone you don’t know well can be precisely what you need. Talking to a stranger, even briefly, can boost feelings of connection and community while easing loneliness and other negative emotions. Compliment someone from your apartment complex or give your barista a genuine thank you—you’ll feel better as a result.
Give yourself a hug.
It might seem a little ridiculous, but there are some incredible benefits to self-hugging. Wrapping your arms around your own body can make you feel safer and more secure, improve your mood, and even help relieve pain. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, these benefits are all the more impactful. If you’ve been missing social contact, hugging yourself can be the next best thing to sharing physical touch with another human.
Browse as your ideal self.
Retail therapy has benefits on its own, but you can take the concept a step further by browsing your go-to stores from the perspective of your ideal self. Do you dream of becoming a top streamer, shopping for new additions to your Twitch setup? Would the self of your dreams be sneaking looks at engagement rings and directing hints to that special someone? Do a bit of window shopping as if you’re already that best version of yourself—the law of attraction will reward you.
Fake a smile.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it,” but are you familiar with how the concept can bring you more happiness? Studies show that the sheer act of smiling can make you happier—and even a fake smile has that impact. Simply put, when your muscles think you’re happy, you’ll feel happier.
So, when you’re feeling blue, take a minute to crack a smile. Watch a funny video or look at photos of cute animals if you need some inspiration or grin just because you want a reason to. Either way, you’ll get a quick boost of happiness.
Meditation, gratitude, and other common recommendations for becoming happier certainly work for many people—they wouldn’t come so highly recommended otherwise. However, they aren’t the only ways you can improve your mood.
From shopping the clearance racks and starting a side hustle to faking a smile and invoking the law of attraction, your mindset and activities can directly impact your mood. After something as simple as smiling or self-hugging, you can find yourself with a brighter disposition—and a lot more joy—even if your day began with a terrible mood.