Did you know that on an average day, only 40% of Americans think they have enough joy in their lives? Reddi-wip® is on a mission to change that by encouraging everyone to share their joy by celebrating life's little moments. Practice bringing more daily joy into your life and the lives of those around you with these 6 easy happiness tips.
Relish ordinary experiences
Learn to appreciate and take pleasure in mundane, everyday experiences. Take a few minutes once a day to truly relish something that you usually dash through (e.g., eating a meal, taking a shower, finishing the workday, or walking to the subway). Or pick two pleasurable experiences every day and savor them by trying to make the pleasure last as long and as intensely as possible. Make your morning coffee or afternoon snack even more delightful with a whoosh of Reddi-wip, linger and absorb the aroma, taste, and texture (rather than mindlessly consuming). Strive to bask in the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve finished a task at home or work, rather than distractedly moving on to the next item on your to-do-list. Luxuriate in a long hot shower after a brisk walk in the cold. Better yet — relish ordinary experiences every day with your best friend or with a new friend.
Be open to beauty and excellence
Allow yourself each day to truly admire an object of beauty or a display of talent, genius or virtue. Strive to feel reverence and awe. Try to take note of everything that is touching, beautiful, virtuous and magnificent. Psychologists suggest that people who open themselves to the beauty and excellence around them are more likely to find joy, meaning and profound connections in their lives. It may appear immensely challenging to experience awe in response to mundane daily life — reading the sports pages, watching a movie, walking through the park — but it’s an ability well worth cultivating.
Reminisce with family or friends
A partner, friend, or family member can bolster the power of so-called “positive reminiscence.” For example, you might reminisce together about a party you both attended or a holiday, job or friend you shared. You might make a pilgrimage together to a meaningful place from your past, or flip through a scrapbook or yearbook together. You might listen (or sing along) to a piece of music associated with a particular memory. Researchers have found that mutual reminiscence — sharing memories with other people — is accompanied by abundant positive emotions, such as joy, accomplishment, amusement, contentment and pride. Interestingly, this appears to be particularly true for older individuals. Indeed, the more time older adults spend reminiscing, the more positive effect and higher morale they report.
Practice acts of kindness
Throughout your day, do good things for others, whether friends or strangers, either directly or anonymously, either spontaneously or planned. Pay the toll of the car behind you, paint a neighbor’s home, pick up litter in your neighborhood, teach an illiterate adult to read, rescue an animal, visit a nursing home, help a stranger carry a package, do a household chore (even when it’s not your turn), write a thank you card to your mail carrier or trash collector, bake a box of cupcakes topped with Reddi-wip for colleagues, or simply smile at someone who is feeling sad. Being kind to other people brings a cascade of positive results — it makes you feel generous and capable, leads you to feel grateful about your own situation, and gives you a greater sense of interconnectedness with the world. It also gives joy to other people and leads them to like you more and reciprocate in your times of need, which, in turn, helps nurture your own self-worth. Thus, practicing acts of kindness activates what positive psychologists call an “upward spiral.”
Create a “savoring album"
Assemble a savoring/memory album and fill it with photos of your favorite people, places, or things — family, friends, pets, famous paintings, or your hometown. Alternatively, the savoring album can include other joy-inducing or meaningful items, such as your college acceptance letter, a love note, a favorite recipe, a niece’s drawing, or an article about your favorite celebrity. Go back and flip through the album in less happy times, when you’re especially in need of a boost.
Literally "counting your blessings" is a great way to take stock of the positive things in your life. One way to do this is by taking time during the week to consider the three or five things for which you are currently most grateful. This can be done through contemplation when you’re going to sleep at night or during your commute, by writing in a journal, or by sharing your grateful thoughts with a close other. Alternatively, call up on the phone or write a note of appreciation to an important person in your life whom you’ve never properly thanked. Expressing gratitude will encourage you to appreciate your good fortune and help you get through the rest of the week.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky is a joy and happiness expert. She is a psychology professor at the University of California and author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.