6. Hold a baby…anything
Lately my roommates and I have been revisiting a discussion over good vs evil in the world. I believe the evil far outweighs the good, and they try to reason otherwise for the sake of all our sanity.
Times like these I always begin to ponder the fact that all the big evil scary people were once just soft-skinned, bright-eyed, blanket-wrapped bundles of joy. Sometime before things went horrificly wrong, the bad people were blank slates.
What it comes down to is all babies – human, puppy, kitten, dolphin, tomatoes – are freakin’ adorable. They are brand new, untainted by life’s troubles and completely innocent. So next time you’re feeling down, remember that there is new life born constantly – a fresh start across the globe in every moment. And if you are presented with the chance to hold and snuggle with any of these fresh starts I bet you’ll smile even faster!
7. “Go forth and do well, but more importantly go forth and do good.” (Myers)
As both a grammar nut and service admirer I internalized this quote as soon as I heard it a couple years ago. Doing nice things for others is a win-win: you help yourself and you help others. Many argue there is no such thing as a selfless act, simply because by serving other’s needs you serve your own spirit of generosity.
Moods are infectious, and when you’re upset you can easily suck others into a hole of ‘what’s the points’ and other such pessimisms. Why not spread some joy instead? This can be as grandiose as volunteering your time to a local community program, or as minor as a [genuine] compliment or thank you to someone nearby.
Dust off those ‘life’s worth it smiles,’ throw on a hairnet or some gardening gloves and go give back to the community! You do-gooder, you.
8. Say yes to something new
As we grow we are so determined to find ourselves, define who we are. It is great to have a clear idea of your passions and interests. However, there are certain aspects of ourselves that become set in stone over the years without us even realizing or condoning it.
For years I’ve introduced myself as ‘scared of animals, scared of dogs, scared of everything.’ But it didn’t have to be that way and in fact, no longer is.
It is thrilling to say yes to new things, to challenge who you think you are. I’ll bet it’s continuously even more thrilling to follow through after saying yes. Kind of like when I bought a skydiving Groupon. Really it’s terrifying but the fact that I could ever be the type to even seriously consider jumping out of a plane empowers me. [There will definitely be an entry about that once it happens…and I survive].
So the next time someone asks you to do something totally “not you,” take a risk and say yes. Let me know how proud of yourself you are afterward.
9. Solve a puzzle
Don’t you love feeling smart? The way your brain seems to expand when you finally answer a tricky riddle. The way you breathe more easily after completing one of those terrifying newspaper crosswords. The pride you feel while you secretly try to hide your smug grin after correctly answering a tough question in class.
In those moments, all is right with the world because you are right about something. Oh how we all love to be right.
The other day my roommate and I had one of those excellent conversations that begins at point A and ends at point 35ZT8. We paused, asked ourselves how the conversation had gotten from talk of travel writing to talk of me fearing the appearance of my beloved grandfather’s ghost. For some minutes we froze, enticed by the promise of that smart brain-expandy feeling and dreading the helplessness of inability to exercise our short-term memories.
Don’t worry, the answer came to me like a flash and it was wonderful and I most certainly did not hide my smug grin :).
10. Reconnect with old friends
You can do this indirectly, by looking through old cards and other memorabilia from your friendship, or directly. People are constantly floating in and through our lives for various reasons. From time to time, I look back on many of the people I once was close with and am amazed how far apart we’ve grown and moreso
how ok I am with it. However, there may be some friends you wouldn’t mind reconnecting with.
Don't you want to know how attractive and Ryan Reynolds-like your friends have become since you last spoke?
Well what on earth are you waiting for? Are you worried they’ll think you’re pathetic? Won’t want to hear from you? Won’t remember you? Honestly if you reach out today and any of the above happens will it even a matter a couple weeks from now? You’ll both have gone back off into the separate worlds you’ve created.
So pick up the phone, open up the ‘compose email’ window or start up that futuristic face-time mumbo jumbo and get ready to embrace nostalgia.
Clearly (and hopefully for humanity’s sake) there are more than 10 ways to make ourselves smile. What cheers you up
when you’re feeling down?