Dear 100 Hour Board,
I like the question about how to be a more fun person. Any tips for how to be a more happy person?
-My Name Here
P.S. Book recommendations especially appreciated
I have scarcely been so excited to answer a question! (Maybe I just like making lists?) We'll start with my book recommendations:
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
I Dare You by William Danforth - AMAZING and inspirational. Encourages a balance between the four parts of your life and gives other general advice. It's old, so some of the opinions are pretty traditional, but I like the idea of daring yourself to be a better person and proving you can do it.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - Particularly great for introverts, it helps validate you for your quiet power and insight. For extroverts, it can help you improve your understanding of quieter people so you can improve your relationships. All around win!
The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - This is about finding fulfillment in your life and working on what makes YOU happy. Start your own project for happiness! Great read.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking - say what you want about this being a girly Pinterest fad, but Denmark is one of the happiest countries, so I'd say we can learn a little.
In fact, I love the Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) Manifesto so much I'm going to list it as my first piece of non-book advice. What's Hygge? It's basically the whole philosophy of enjoying comfort and peace in your life and appreciating and being grateful for good moments, either alone or with people you love. There are ten parts to the Hygge Manifesto:
1) Set the mood - Get comfy by lighting candles, hanging fairy lights, your favorite posters, comfy socks, whatever you wanna do.
2) Be present - If you're going to enjoy life, you can't be experiencing it through a screen. Enjoy your time with others and focus on time with yourself as well.
3) Treat Yo'self - Donna and Tom had it right. You deserve to feel happy, and you're entitled to make yourself feel happy (obviously within reasonable bounds. Don't make yourself go broke, because then you would not be as happy.)
4) Share - Being kind to others and sharing love and wealth and time will make you a happier person.
5) Be Grateful - We should all know this already, but being grateful for things makes you happy. It just does.
6) Don't Brag - The root of this is comparison, and trying to be better and compare yourself to others will not contribute to a joyful view of life.
7) Get comfy! - It's sweater season, y'all. Bundle up, enjoy some soft blankets, herbal tea/hot cocoa, pasta, soups.... basically just live like it's fall all the time, eh?
8) Ditch Drama - The triviality of drama in your life isn't healthy. Let go of it, and focus on what's important. (That means The Bachelor too.) (Gosh, I hate those shows so much, can you tell?)
9) Build relationships - The love and fulfillment that comes from good relationships and experiences contribute significantly to a person's happiness.
10) Create a safe space - Have somewhere you can go to feel comfortable, where you can rant, where you can be yourself. You need it.
All of those things are great, and I think with some explication the majority of things that bring happiness can be found somewhere in the Manifesto, but I have just a few more recommendations...
First, the YouTube channel SoulPancake. They're the ones that run the Kid President videos, but they also have a series of videos called "The Science of Happiness." It goes into different studies about activities proven to improve happiness, and they demonstrate with a little in-video experiment. They're SO wonderful. They also have videos with big social experiments to help people connect with themselves, with their loved ones, and with the rest of humanity. In general, the channel is just amazing. Rainn Wilson works closely with them, so seeing Dwight is always a plus :)
Second, this YouTube video called "Validation". It's 16 minutes of cinematic artistry that will make you smile. PLEASE watch it.
And that's what I have to offer! There are tons of ways to be a happier person, and a lot of it depends on your personal preferences, hobbies, and character traits, but I hope at least some part of this might be helpful to you. Best of luck on your journey of joy!
Always look for the beauty.
This may seem like an obvious answer, but do things that make you happy.
Set a goal to do something every day, every week, every month, and every year that makes you happy.
On a daily basis, it doesn't have to be anything major. Buy yourself ice cream or make yourself pancakes or enjoy some other comfort food. Call your Mom or your best friend or someone else you love talking to. Take a break from homework and take a nap for an hour. Snuggle with your pet. Listen to your favorite band while you exercise. There are so many easy things you can do that will help you look forward to the day. If you have trouble finding motivation or specific things to do, make a list. Every Sunday make a list of 7 things you can do that week to make yourself happy and make a plan to do them. Give yourself a reason to look forward to each day.
On a weekly basis, give yourself a budget to do something fun and that makes you happy. Go ice skating with friends, go see a movie and splurge on a large popcorn, go hiking on Saturdays. One of my new favorite things to do is take $10 a week and go to the Dollar Tree and just impulse buy things that appeal to me. I got new measuring cups and bubble bath and air fresheners for my car and a tub of Play-Doh I keep at my desk to play with and squeeze when work is stressful. All of those are small things that nevertheless make me happy and make my life richer, and those things cost me less than $5 total.
On a monthly basis, you can have more long-term happiness projects. Set a goal to read a book every month, whether it be that classic you've always wanted to read or that new biography that everyone is talking about. Go to the temple. Start volunteering or doing something to help others. Buy your significant other some flowers. Tackle some major household or organizational project. Do one of those 30-day fitness regimes that pop up on social media once in a while. Visit a local museum and really study up on that particular period of history or genre of art. Tailor those suggestions to yourself in particular.
On a yearly basis, I've noticed that I enjoy the planning and anticipation of a trip as much as I enjoy the trip itself. If there are significant time or budget restrictions in place, it doesn't have to be anything fancy or extravagant. Get away for the weekend to a nearby city--get a cheap hotel room or AirBnB. Go to the beach. Go visit family. If you're wealthier than I am, plan a vacation to somewhere you've always wanted to go, whether that be Seattle or Australia. It doesn't have to be a vacation either, you can plan a big family party or ward event and really pour your heart and soul into it. Take music lessons and throw a concert.
The gist of these suggestions is that you should find things you can look forward to each and every day. Make active plans for happiness.
I don't really have any book recommendations on the subject, and I don't have anything huge and life changing to tell you. All I can tell you is what has helped me, which is finding small good things and doing your best to fill your life with them. I paint my toenails bright colors because it makes me happy to look at them. Same goes with my rocks and plants. I bought a fun backpack because it's pretty and I like it. I look up at the sky more, and search out pictures of cute puppies. The world is so full of anger and sadness that I try to pack every possible corner of my life with as much good stuff as I can, even if it's just a pair of cool earrings or a lovely song.
Get outside and be grateful!
-guppy of doom
Dear M'Nym Here,
If you're really interested BYU offers a class about this. The class is How to Live a Meaningful Life: Using Social Innovation, Positive Psychology, and Life Design to Find Lasting Joy (MSB 491R Section 007). I've talked to several people and they said that the class was really amazing!
Other than that, taking care of your body is really important. If I am sleep deprived and hungry I am not going to be in a good mood. I know that's like a real basic answer, but when I've had a good meal and a good rest it makes it a lot easier for me to enjoy the simple things in life and have meaningful social interactions.
Take care o' yo self,
"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds." -Bob Marley
“Although I can tell you what is not freedom, I cannot tell you what is because that you must discover for yourself... Free equals the absence of a feeling of constraint. Different people feel free in different ways, so the question is how free are you?" -Bruce Lee
People feel free in different ways. So you actually have absolute control over feeling free. Identify where you feel constraint in your life. You must either remove that thing or change the way you think about it--whichever is more possible.
I identified some constraints this summer and immediately removed them. Some of them were people, some pretenses, some ADHD symptoms. I cut them out, I stopped pretending, and I got medication. I also stopped taking crap I didn't have to. The ones I couldn't change took some effort, but I sought understanding until they no longer felt like a constraint. I am so much happier. Even months later. I am more happy more often and honestly I feel like my capacity for happiness is greater.
I think it's time for a round two.
P.S The Wind in the Willows is a book that makes me happy.