10 Ways to Get a Happiness Boost that DON'T Include Shopping
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Good afternoon and happy Friday sweet people!
I've had some heavier topics on the blog lately, so I thought it would be nice to have a light and fresh Friday listicle.
I know that many people, myself included, find it very tempting to spend money when we are feeling low, sad, or unaccomplished in our day. That quick hit of dopamine and excitement from buying something can be addicting, but it is NOT beneficial.
This habit is bad for your bank account and even worse for your brain. Being dependent on spending money in order to feel better is just as bad as being dependent on food to boost our happiness.
The idea with this list is to focus on things that will improve our happiness momentarily, but also over a longer period of time. The momentary happiness of swiping, spending, and purchasing cannot be compared to the happiness we receive when we nurture ourselves, our relationships, our homes, and our gifts.
Today I want to encourage you to begin rethinking the reasons you shop: do you NEED another sweater? Or do you shop recreationally? Is it a hobby? A way you distract yourself? Why do you shop? Write down the answers and reflect. In our consumer culture, we are sold the lie that if we could only get another outfit, accessory, or piece of home decor, all our problems will feel better.
I know that this is a topic for a larger blog post, and I will definitely be covering it soon, but in the meantime, if you need some inspiration, here are 10 ways you can improve your happiness that do not include shopping.
1. Clean your kitchen
Or your bathroom. Basically clean the "problem" area in your life. For me, that is usually my laundry room. If you feel unable to control the circumstances in your life or if you feel unaccomplished in your day, a simple clean-up and tidy can boost your confidence, sense of accomplishment, and overall happiness. I KNOW this works because I do it all the time for a boost. I have also heard from others that this simple trick has really improved their life.
2. Take extra time on your look + smell
When you look better, you MIGHT feel better. Whenever I felt depressed or really anxious, it felt like an impossible task to get prepared for the day and look nice. But often what we don't feel like doing is the best solution in times of frustration. Don't forget your smell: put on a scent that makes you remember a nice time in your life.
3. Send 2 people an encouraging message
Spreading love to others can make your OWN happiness increase. Send some messages via text, social media, or snail mail. Put some thought into your words and really focus on someone else's needs for the moment: it WILL make you feel better.
4. Talk to that friend who CARES about you
Avoid the other friend that only talks about herself, or responds to your pain with a "that sucks." Choose the sympathetic friend or the straight-talking friend that really cares about you. The art of the phone call has been lost, but it is a really good way to get a bit of a "face-to-face" feeling in a short period of time. Pick up the phone, or set up a coffee date: you won't be sad you did.
5. Trade in the Netflix for a library book
Netflix and streaming services tend to suck the life out of people. We all know we will be back watching a show tomorrow, so for the moment, pick up a book and enter into a different way of information consumption: the beauty of reading is that it REQUIRES you to build the world in your mind and actually THINK about something else. Watching a show gives you all the information, dialogue, words, and imagery you could ever need, but reading makes your brain work a little more, and this can be extremely satisfying.
6. Try a new recipe
Trying new skills, growing your talents, and challenging yourself are all ways to feel more accomplished in your day and yourself. Build your confidence in a "low" time and begin to feel better. Better yet, try the recipe and SHARE it with someone. Being in community, sharing your wealth, and trying something new will all make you feel better.
7. Play a game by yourself or with others
This may not have occurred to you, but sometimes the activity of sport, play, and competition can trigger the "happy" part of your brain. Competing with others is something that every creature throughout the entire animal kingdom has been seen to do. Competition, challenging, and playing can make us feel connected to others and confident in our own talent. Pick up a controller, go online for a game of Chess, or challenge your partner to some cards.
8. Do some exercise
I know that moving isn't always the thing you want to be doing when you don't feel great, but it is a scientifically proven way to feel better. Sometimes I find the silliest Bollywood style YouTube video and dance along, or just do a simple walk around the block with my pup. Getting your heart racing will help your brain feel better AND your body look better!
9. Go to a local social event
My preference in this category is church events. If I'm feeling crappy, I definitely don't avoid church. Being in community, connecting with my friends, and feeling like I'm part of something bigger all make my happiness increase. We live in a more isolated time than ever before in history: tap into your instincts to find belonging, community, and friends by connecting with a church, running group, theater program, or volunteer opportunity.
10. Work on Your Hobby
Find a hobby and stick to it: my hobbies are art, baking, cooking, writing, and sewing. I encourage you to begin exploring a new hobby that doesn't include your phone or a streaming service, and get down to business learning how to craft, use your hands, and enjoy your talents. It might be music, organizing, drawing, knitting, or whatever! When you are done, share the hobby with others or join an online forum to discuss. All of these things will help you feel connected, accomplished, and fulfilled.
There you have it friends! 10 ways to improve your happiness that DON'T include shopping.
We will revisit this topic at a later date, but in the meantime, I encourage you to bless your home, your body, your relationships, and your talents. Learn about the world and feel refreshed in your daily activities.
And have a happy weekend! See you for the Sunday Series!