I'm a big fan of expressing one's feelings, no matter if they are happy, sad, mad, or scared. I think it is healthy to let it out. People need to belly laugh and sob. Nothing gets the blood flowing like a good horror movie induced scream. I believe that a tantrum can decompress a person. (See: Mommy Tantrums) However, if you are in a funk for too long, you start to become a real grump. You complain a lot. You cry a lot. You yell a lot. You lean to the negative. People generally don't like to be around cranky people. They'll pat you on the back and say, "Cheer up, buttercup," but, eventually they'll find ways to avoid you in the office break room or ignore your phone calls. People will stop trying to console you. People will start complaining about your constant complaining. Nobody likes a sad sack.
So, what is a gloomy Gus to do? For those suffering from the case of the blues (not to be confused with real depression... consult a professional, please) and are ready to switch things up a little, I have found that making yourself be happy can help lift your spirits. I have prepared a list of time honored ways to make you happy whenever you are sad. Of course, by now you know that I'm not going to tell you to smell the roses or pet a cat. Don't get me wrong, those are fine examples if you're into that kind of stuff. I prefer the sillier side of life and rely on laughter to get me through the rough times.
Smile Like an Ass
When was the last time you smiled? Give it a go. Does your face hurt a little? When you stop smiling, does your mouth immediately sink back into a frown? If you answered yes, then you need to make yourself smile. Simply smile. Put a huge grin on your face and leave it there. Then relax your furrowed brow and show some teeth. Keep your face in that position. Who cares if the people around you think you've gone mad? Give them the biggest Cheshire Cat grin possible. This works three fold: One, you're smiling. Two, you're working out your face muscles and it won't feel so unnatural the next time you smile. Three, if you are around someone who is causing your bad mood, your creepy smile might make them slowly back away from you. Triple win in my book.
|Look how happy he is!|
Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shining_(film)
Embrace Your Inner Morgan Freeman (or Mike Rowe)
The Hub and I can fill a whole day with laughter by pretending we are narrating someone or something's life. Watch your family pet. Narrate their every move. Narrate what they might be dreaming about while they sleep. Ever wonder what they are thinking when they seem to be staring into your soul? Speak for them. Use a funny voice. Use a normal voice. Think through your pet. It gets really funny when they are grooming themselves. This can also work with your kids, the next door neighbor, that lady walking down the street in spandex, the lobsters in the grocery store tanks, or the ants scurrying out of a kicked-over hill. The world is your personal Discovery Channel show.
|I quoted them verbatim.|
You know what makes me happy? Making fun of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The guy was so unbelievably huge. He had long sharp teeth. He could crush you with his foot. The T-rex was a very scary animal. Unfortunately, the T-rex couldn't give high fives. He could not play patty cake. He could not flip pancakes. He could not tie his own shoes. He couldn't open his own beer. The list goes on and on. Oh, don't worry about hurting his feelings. He's dead.
|Photo credit: http://thazing.com/t-rex-love/|
Dance Your Cares Away
Break out your favorite tunes and dance. Now is the time to finally learn how to do The Worm. Hone your booty gyrating skills. Go out to the parking lot and do your best Tawny Kitaen cartwheel on your car. Let the music move you and vogue. Don't be a wallflower. Warning: If you choose to dance in front of your kids, they will most definitely call you out on your busted moves. Don't let them harsh your happy. Their generation's most popular move is called "The Dougie." Whatever. We had "The Carlton."
|I am such a bad dancer. I can't even do "The Carlton." No lie.|
Photo credit: http://www.divawhispers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/carlton-dance.jpg
Be Stupid Excited About Everything
This started out as a way to trick my kids into doing their chores. I would raise the pitch of my voice, jump up and down, and say, "Yay! It's time to set the table!" "I'm so excited! Who wants to dust?!" "I know a super awesome game! Let's sort the laundry!" Just by making the request sound like the most exciting activity ever, the kids' faces light up and they do whatever they had to do with gusto. It was so effective, I decided to try it with other mundane aspects of life. "Hurray! It's leftover night!" "I'm so excited that it's Monday!" "I just paid all my bills! Yay for me!!" Just by making it seem great, you can trick yourself into thinking it is great. If you do it enough, it becomes second nature. You'll notice that it's easy to get excited about the little things because, as you all know, it's the little things that count.
|"I'm freaking excited!"|
Photo credit: http://dannijo.tumblr.com/post/7886225512/even-though-im-clearly-not-eligible-for-the
When In Doubt, "Fart" It Out
Who doesn't giggle at the sound of flatulence? The Hub has the amazing ability to emulate any fart noise. Whenever I'm in a foul mood, he'll try to make me laugh by making fart noises using his hands or mouth. If the kids are cranky, he'll blow raspberries on their bellies. He'll wait until I bend over to pick something up and I'll hear a 'toot' sound come from behind me. The sound of 'breaking wind' is a silly way to break the tension. My sister, Aunt D, has requested a recording of his musical stylings so she can get an instant laugh whenever she needs one. Her next birthday present? Check.
|Photo Credit: http://cheezburger.com/4787042048|
Laugh At Yourself
Did you just trip over your own feet in public? Discover too late that you tucked your skirt into your underpants? Spill your hot coffee in your lap while stuck in traffic? Before you get mad or embarrassed, step back and try to imagine what you looked like to someone else. Chances are whatever just happened to you was freaking hilarious to anyone lucky enough to witness it. Why let them have all the fun? Laugh at yourself. It was funny. I bet you've spent hours on YouTube laughing at videos of other people and/or animals falling down. You watch comedies to laugh at how someone else deals with embarrassing situations. Everyone does funny things. Enjoy the fact that you just made someone laugh (and thankful they didn't do what you just did). During my wedding ceremony, I tripped on the long skirt of my strapless wedding dress and almost exposed myself to the entire wedding party. My sister, Aunt J, literally guffawed at what she just witnessed. Yeah, it was embarrassing but her laugh at that moment is one of my favorite memories from that day. Sometimes making someone else laugh will get your giggles going too.
|Photo Credit: http://www.worth1000.com/entries/557507/tripping-on-marriage|
I'm sure it seems like I have the mentality of a 9 year old boy when I tell you to make funny faces and fart noises to get happy. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that I am a goof ball, but really, all I did was give you real life applications to the age old advice on achieving happiness. People tell you to "put on a happy face" (smile like an ass), or "exercise will improve your mood" (dance), "laughter is the best medicine" (Fart noises, making fun of T-rexes, laughing at yourself), and "fake it until you make it" (be excited about everything). See what I did there?
|Photo Credit: http://iseewhatyoudid.com/owl-sees-everything/|
I read somewhere that "finding your inner child" and remembering what made you happy when you were young will bring joy to your life when you're stuck in the serious adult world. How do you find that inner child? You go outside and do cartwheels in the front yard. You make silly faces. You laugh at "inappropriate" things. You get excited about the little things. You act like a clown in front of others. Kids know how to be happy. Basically, we have to manifest our own happiness. Yes, adult life is hard. There are times when absolutely everything is going wrong and it seems you can't catch a break. There will be times when you won't be in a good place in your life no matter how hard you try to correct the situation. But, if you let it consume you and bring you down, it makes the whole situation that much worse. Your spirit needs some joy and even if you laugh just a little bit, you might catch a glimpse of the good that's still around you. I tell my kids that it is good to feel angry and sad but don't let it be who you are all the time. Lately, I've had to listen to my own advice and try to refill my cup of joy. The best part is that by making myself happy, I've made my loved ones feel happy as well. My problems are still here and I still have to deal with them. But, I know when I look back, the memories of laughing until it hurts will overshadow the memories of sadness. Isn't that what it's all about?