- What makes you happier: To go to bed early and wake up early, or to go to bed late and wake up late?
- What are your favorite parts of your ordinary day?
- What would your perfect day look like? Can you make an ordinary day look more like your perfect day?
Happiness has 4 stages. You’ll eke out the most happiness from an experience when you …
1. anticipate it with pleasure,
2. savor it as it unfolds,
3. express happiness to yourself and others, and
4. recall the happiness with a fond memory.
- There’s joy in routine, but an occasional disruption makes routine all the sweeter.
- Make it easy to do right and hard to do wrong.
- Quit while you’re ahead.
Prolific novelist Anthony Trollope observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”
When a task seems huge — writing an annual report, learning a new piece of software, planning a party, cleaning out the garage — commit to do a little bit, each day.
There’s something particularly satisfying about making something with your own hands, whether it’s a loaf of bread, a photo album, a piece of furniture, or a fly-fishing fly. It’s tangible, it’s creative, it’s right in front of you.
We all have a few tricks for beating the blues. Some popular strategies, however, don’t actually work very well.
1. Comforting yourself with an unhealthy “treat.” Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, and then we feel worse.
2. Holing up until you feel better. Sometimes we isolate ourselves when we feel blue. Talk to someone. Studies show that extroverts and introverts alike get a mood boost from connecting with other people; restorative solitude can boost happiness, but that’s different from shutting yourself away.
3. Expressing anger in a big way. Many people think that letting anger out in a dramatic way will relieve their feelings. Not so. Research shows that expressing anger tends to aggravate it.
- Would you rather communicate by telephone, email, or text?
- Do you wish you could spend more time with friends, or more time alone?
- What’s the nicest thing anyone ever said to you?
“Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good anymore.”
— Andy Warhol
Do you notice any patterns in your clutter? Pay particular attention to:
- “Cute” kitchen objects that don’t work very well. A pair of scissors in the shape of a ladybug, a creamer shaped like a cow.
- Broken things. Why is it so hard to toss something that’s broken — say, that defective toaster or semi functional umbrella?
- Things that seemed potentially useful but somehow never get used, such as an oversized water bottle or complicated corkscrew.
- Duplicates — how many spare glass salsa jars does one person need?
It helps to underreact to problems, which doesn’t mean ignoring or minimizing them, but just reacting with less intensity. By underreacting, we help ourselves stay calm, keep a sense of perspective — and a sense of humor.