Five Ways to Feel Happier (in 10 Minutes or Less)

November 07, 2014

No matter how happy we are, most of us would like to be just a little happier. Good news for us—there are plenty of things we can do to feel happier every day that only take a few minutes. Researchers have found a number of quick and easy happiness boosters, such as playing music that makes you feel happy, writing down things that went well and/or things you’re grateful for, or doing something nice for someone else. Here are five more 10-minutes-or-less happiness-boosting recommendations I’ve tried that bring my happiness level up a notch:

1. Cross something off the to-do list. We’re happier when we’ve achieved something, no matter how small. Choose one small task to take from start to finish (change that burnt out light bulb), or a smaller part of a larger project (check airfares for that trip you’re thinking of taking). What matters is completing the action.

2. Meditate. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and breathe. If you like, you can imagine a calming image or place, or focus on your breath. If you find yourself stewing about problems or mentally running through your to-do list, notice those thoughts and let them go. Tell yourself, “I’ll think about those things later.”

3. Laugh. Keep on hand a supply of things that make you laugh—reading material, favorite internet links (I like to scroll through Pinterest’s humor category), and so on. A quick laugh can leave your entire mood elevated. 

4. Pet an animal. Doing so lowers heart rate and stress hormones, while raising hormones that make you feel more relaxed and happy. Scout, Prudy and Tank take turns making me feel happier!

C'mon, pet my tummy...

5. Look through a “joy collection.” I keep a file folder with letters and cards from people I love, photocopies of checks received for writing and editing jobs, and photos that make me smile. Don’t have a joy collection? Start one. Fill it with things that trigger happy memories, such as favorite photos, awards, mementoes, and other symbols of happiness for you.

Feeling happier yet? What are your favorite quick happiness boosters?

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  1. Dear Kathy - these are all wonderful ideas. Love the file folder "joy collection" one. I always feel better when I take a walk. Think that is one of my happiness boosters. Reading your posts is another! Hugs

  2. Thanks, Debbie! Getting outside and getting some exercise are both great ways to boost mood.