It seems that we try to pack more things to do into our every day but few of these things improve our health or nourish our soul. Here are 15 ideas to help you bring more joy into your days:
1. Brew a pot of herbal tea, sit down with a book or magazine and just take a break from the world.
2. Smile. Even if you don’t want to. Smiling tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy. (See the 7 Benefits of Laughter.)
3. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while (someone positive who just makes you feel good).
4. Do something nice for someone else. Sometimes just doing a good deed can bring so much joy to both the giver and receiver. You can donate to a charity, take clothes you’re not using to Salvation Army, donate blankets to an animal shelter, pay for a stranger’s coffee at a café, give books to your local library, and so much more.
5. Tend a garden. Don’t have one. Find a way to join or start a community garden. Even if you have a balcony you can grow some flowers or herbs in containers. (Read about Gardening in Small Spaces.)
6. Go for a walk. Take a route you don’t normally take.
7. Head to the park or a nature trail. Pack a picnic or just enjoy some relaxation on a park bench.
8. Give someone you love a big hug and tell him or her how much you love them.
9. Sing…just for the joy of it. Even if you think you can’t sing, do it anyway. Freeing your voice is a good way to help heal your soul.
10. Say “thank you” to the many people who help you in your day, whether they be a cashier, someone who bags your groceries, a teacher, a spouse, or a child, show them your gratitude. (Read Gratitude Affects Heart and Genetics, Study Says.)
11. Look for the positive in your daily experiences. As a Care2 columnist, I am always astounded at how many people seem to look for things to complain about on the articles they read. Stop looking for the negative.
12. Write a letter. Not just an e-mail, a good old-school letter to a friend or family member. Just receiving a letter from someone can brighten their day too.
13. Turn off the TV. While there are many good shows, too many hours in front of the TV can deplete the soul.
14. Better yet, take a media break. Turn off the computer, cell phone, Blackberry, iPad, and the many other devices we often have clinging to us.
15. Try your hand at an art or craft: painting, pottery, sculpting, knitting, flower design, cake decorating, bread baking, or some other pastime can free your mind of the mundane and help you to develop your creativity.