2. Laugh. Watch a YouTube video that cracks you up. When we laugh, blood flow increases, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to our organs and tissues, and the stress hormones decrease.
3. Sing along. New York City neuropsychiatrist Galina Mindlin reports in her book Your Playlist Can Change Your Life that by repeatedly listening to a song that makes you feel a certain way, you can begin to feel that way as soon as the song comes on. What’s the science behind this? When you listen to a song that makes you feel happy, you’re actually activating areas of the brain associated with happiness. Plus: when you pair visualization, movement or scents that also make you happy with listening to the song, you’re activating even more happiness-boosting brain areas.
Step 1. Choose a song that makes you happy.
Step 2. Listen and move and do anything else that helps you feel happy.
Step 3. Repeat as needed.
4. Make like the Buddha. Feeling down? As far as I understand it, Buddhism teaches that the key to not feeling a certain way is to let yourself feel that way. Yup, it’s true! Buddha apparently had that in common with Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who coined the phrase “What you resist, persists.” To free myself from the debilitating anxiety I felt for a good chunk of my life, I finally stopped resisting it, and started getting curious about it. Once I stopped trying to from it—impossible, since it was inside me—it lost its power over me.
Plus the Sanskrit term Santosha refers to contentment: ending the endless chase after the illusion of permanent pleasure. It’s listed as stage two in the four stages of happiness, including:
Mudita—spiritual happiness that comes from within;
and Ananda—the bliss of connecting to universal or cosmic joy.
The bottom line of all these teachings? We’re not always gonna feel intense joy or pleasure, but we’ll feel a whole lot happier if we can accept this.
5. Blast your stress. Mindfulness is my favorite way to get out of the monkey mind stressed out thinking, imagining, and worrying. Here’s five ways to do it, and be here now—where things are usually pretty good, actually.