bubbles and smiles

It's summer - you should be happy. Sunshine is abundant, the birds are singing, and the ice cream truck can be heard from a mile away. But, if you're a bit like me, your mood may not match the weather outside. And that can make you feel even worse. It's a yucky downward spiral of negative thoughts.

While I could dwell on the negative aspects, I am shifting my mindset this season. Everyday, I have committed to doing at least one thing that brings me joy. In order for this to actually work, I created a little list to reference when it’s time for my daily dose of joy. It’s simple, fun, and has a tremendous influence on my general wellbeing.

This little list of 50 items includes some of my personal “joy” favorites. EnJOY!

1. Smile.

2. Write a thank-you note to yourself (on your best stationery, of course).

3. Venture outside for a five-minute walk.

4. Indulge in a delicious piece of chocolate (or a fresh colorful smoothie).

5. Find a piece of jewelry you haven’t worn in awhile – feels just like vintage shopping!

6. Pick fresh flowers or send yourself a little bouquet of favorite flowers.

7. Laugh – Visit a funny blog, watch a movie, or spend time with someone who makes you laugh.

8. Find serenity at a favorite local spot (ex. a park, a lake, a coffee shop, a little nook in your house or office).

9. Take one action towards a goal or dream.

10. Hit the pause button and spend five-minutes alone – allow your mind to become quiet.

11. Bake a favorite treat with a family member or friend — or bake alone and surprise someone special with yummy treats.

12. Discover an uplifting and fun song – something new.

13. Slow down and enjoy a long brunch.

14. Try a new fitness class.

15. Indulge in watching tv or reading a magazine – guilt free!

16. Declare a vacation day – write it BIG on your calendar so you get to anticipate this upcoming personal time (a vacation day can fall on the weekend).

17. Do a good deed — help someone else find joy.

18. Treat yourself to a favorite cup of coffee or tea – enjoy the flavors and activate your senses.

19. Be goofy! Dance around your room to your favorite music.

20. Explore the inspirational and joyful blog, Kind Over Matter.

21. Draw for fun.

22. Get rid of two items in your physical environment that make you feel negative.

23. Bite into a piece of fresh fruit.

24. Wear a color that makes you feel confident and joyful!

25. Write down three things that you are grateful for.

26. Call a supportive friend – or reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile.

27. Watch the sunset from a beautiful location.

28. Discover something new.

29. Start a book that you’ve been meaning to read.

30. Begin a fun DIY project.

31. Frame a photo of a favorite memory.

32. Take five deep breaths and stretch.

33. Browse books at your local book store.

34. Interview yourself (sounds foolish, but can be oh so fun!) -- try the Proust Questionnaire.

35. Try a new recipe.

36. Learn something new (ex. a new hobby or craft).

37. Redesign (use what you already own to redesign your space) an area of your office or home.

38. Write a thoughtful comment on a personal blog you read (comments mean the world to me – hint hint!).

39. Create a list of 10 things you love about your significant other – surprise him/her with the list.

40. Look on the bright side.

41. Take a short, relaxing nap. Wake up rejuvenated.

42. Ask for support from those you trust with a problem – solving a problem definitely adds joy to the day (TipTap is a fun way to do this online).

43. Disconnect for lunch – close your door, turn off the computer and blackberry, and simply enjoy a peaceful lunch break.

44. Search for a hidden treasure on Ebay or Etsy.

45. Write a hope note and leave it for someone to find.

46. Connect with your fellow tweeters. Send a tweet with a joyful message.

47. Donate one item (or your time) to a local charity.

48. Create a collage (or browse the outstanding galleries) on Pinterest.

49. Create a list of 10 things that make you happy – your own personal “joy” list.

50. Make a commitment to do at least one thing per day that adds joy to your life.

About the Author

Carolyn Rubenstein

Carolyn Rubenstein is the author of Perseverance, a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Harvard, and the Founder/President of a non-profit organization for young adult cancer survivors.

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