"Don't Worry, Be Happy"
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Politics and Activism

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"

It's not just a catchy tune.

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"
Annais Ferreira, Via Flickr Creative Commons

There isn’t a recipe to follow that will make you happy overnight. It’s a process and very different for each person. The same thing that makes me happy probably won’t make my best friend happy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’ve declared to do at least one thing every day this summer that makes me happy and ever since the warm weather rolled in, my moods have started to change. I wake up feeling great, even if I slept just a few hours. Even my parents have commented on the fact that I smile more and laugh more and just look as happy as I feel. So, I challenge you to do the same.

However, I know it can be difficult to change your attitude so quickly. And I know it’s not going to be an easy process, but I’ve experienced that doing certain things that make you happy can actually make you feel happier. For those of you who don’t know where to start, maybe one these can give you some ideas.

    Put down the phone.

    I know, I know. What? I can’t put down my phone! What if there’s an emergency? How will anyone get a hold of me? Don’t freak out, and don’t take this the wrong way, but an hour a day without your phone is not the end of the world. I saw it take over the lives of some close family members and friends and saw how it affected them. We couldn’t even go out to eat without them clutching the device in their hands, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. So, I decided that I wanted to unplug from the world. When I started turning off my phone for an hour every Sunday, it was hard to find something that I would enjoy doing and would occupy my time. But little by little, I was amazed to find how free I felt to not have to check social media or have to scroll through endless messages in that group chat. I loved knowing I had one hour to myself. And I found ways to enjoy my own company. I even learned some new things about myself I would have always ignored if it were for my phone. So, try taking a break from it and perhaps that one hour a week can start to change your outlook on life.

    Take a walk.

    It’s summer and the weather has not been friendly, so I know this one seems really out there. However, walking is known to reduce stress levels and a way to recharge your body. Maybe take a walk around your block or a walk down the street. Grab your headphones, crank up your favorite song and enjoy some fresh air. If you live around a park, I’m eternally jealous of you. Take advantage of that and people watch if you want. Walking is good for your body and it’s one of the best methods of digestion I know, so a walk after dinner could do some good before bed.

    Read a book.

    That time you get to be lost in some other world is quite possibly the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced. Reading is like therapy for me. I get to escape for a while and not focus on the stressful factors of my own life. Whether it's holding a book or holding a kindle, I never leave home without something to read. I’ve re-read countless stories that I can’t get enough of and it’s another way for me to feel happy. Reading gets your imagination rolling; it’s kind of like watching a movie that plays only in your head. You have the script in your hands and you get to decide what tattoo the guy has or how big the house is. You have the magic wand and that’s extremely powerful.

    Indulge in that guilty pleasure.

    Chocolate is dangerous because I don’t think there will ever be enough chocolate in the world to satisfy my craving for it. But every once in a while, I go out and get my favorite (dark chocolate with pomegranates) and I make a night out of it. I put on a movie, sip on some wine, and eat the entire bag. And I never regret it. Eating your favorite foods bring a level of satisfaction you might be denying yourself otherwise. It’s your favorite for a reason. Whatever it is, don’t deny yourself those moments of happiness that indulging in it will bring you. Of course, use common sense (I could eat two bags in one sitting if I had no self-control). Trying to be healthy is great; we all try our best to live that lifestyle. But denying our bodies a certain food, especially if we get a craving, is the opposite of what we should be doing. Don’t fight it. Go out and get some of that good stuff.

    Redecorate your room.

    You live there. You see the posters and framed pictures on the walls every day, sometimes every waking minute of your life (if you live in a college dorm). That’s your personal space, the one place you can boss everyone around because it’s your's and no one can say anything about it. I can’t count how many times I’ve redecorated my room on both hands. I spend hours planning how to rearrange my room, and although it's small, I'm amazed every time at how many different ways I can style it. I make blueprints and measure all my furniture. I pick out or buy new posters. I put away some pictures and replace old ones with more recent images in the frames. Sometimes there's the option of painting the walls a new color to give it a more dramatic change. It makes me so happy to look around my tiny room and know that it looks exactly the way I want it to. It’s your own personal space. Why would you want to live there if you're not happy with the way it looks?

    Take a shower.

    This last one is a little weird, but I find showering extremely relaxing. Shower in the morning to get ready for the day. Shower after that intense workout you’ve been postponing. Shower at night to get rid of the grimy feel of the outside world. Shower because you haven’t washed your hair in two days (yes, sometimes it happens, washing long hair is tiring and takes forever). Shower because you want to belt out that song you’ve been practicing for a week. Shower to stand under the cold water (or warm, I don’t judge). Shower to let your mind think about those crazy memories you know you’ll never forget. Shower to practice witty comebacks the next time you hear a snarky comment. Shower to get away from the world for a while (even just a few minutes). The water almost feels like it’s washing away your troubles. Whenever I shower, I feel so refreshed afterward. I wouldn't think of the most outrageous things or make most of my life decisions anywhere else.

August is here. There’s one month left of the summer before the school bell rings and we’re forced back into a daily routine of classes and work and stressful study sessions.

But, it’s four weeks away. Four weeks left to bathe in the sunshine, get out of town and take a road trip, go camping (if the outdoors are your thing), drive to the beach, get sandy hair, and splash around in the water. There’s so much to do, and there’s still a lot of time left. So, don’t waste it.

Enjoy it.

Do what makes you happy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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