7 Ways to Cultivate Happiness this Spring
After what was a grueling winter (-50? What was that even???) I think it’s safe to say that spring is here! It’s a crazy time, isn’t it? Kids are in the final few chaotic weeks of school and we’re still coming off of our spring break high. But this time of year provides us the perfect opportunity to reflect and rejuvenate so we can be our best happy, healthy and human selves. Now that the sun is shining a little more and nature is pulling out her colorful wardrobe, it’s the perfect time to set aside a few minutes each day to spark some happiness into our routine!
Get outside for at least 20 minutes every day.
Whether it’s walking the dog, taking your kids to the park or getting out for an early evening run going outside is always a good idea! Not only is it free aromatherapy (yes, you can literally stop and smell the roses), but studies have shown that being outdoors for even just 20 minutes a day boosts creativity, immunity and energy levels. In fact, one recent study found that a few minutes walking outside can equal a cup of coffee!
Make your garden grow.
I love omelets. And one of my favorite memories as a child is when my mom would go outside to get fresh chives from the garden and add them to my breakfast on the weekends. I’m not saying you have to start your own farm to table. But veggies like lettuce, chives, and tomatoes are so easy to grow in all regions. Obviously, veggies are an essential part of any diet, and we can never have too many. But have you ever tasted a fresh tomato straight from the garden? It’s the best. Like, ever.
Do one thing each day that inspires you.
I recently came across an article that discussed how we can live a life of creativity and inspirations simply by making little changes in our daily routine. Adulting often means putting off activities that are meaningful and important to us, and it’s easy to get into a daily routine that can slowly dig us into a rut of repetitiveness. But adding one little thing that mixes up our daily routine can make a big difference in how we view our day. Tomorrow, try taking a few minutes to download a favorite song, Google a topic that you’ve always wanted to learn about, or try a new yoga class that you’ve been meaning to get to for the past 3 months. Do this every day for one week, and see how you feel!
Set a long term goal.
I recently came back from a 10 day vacation to the Caribbean, and all I can think about is how I’m going to get back there next year. Our family rarely gets to take off anywhere for a week. There are budgets that need to be kept and commitments that are not as flexible as I would like. However, rather than waiting until the New Year, I’m setting some goals now. One of which is to get my bum back to the beach. The spring is the perfect time to set goals of any kind. Not sure about you, but it’s much more fun to create a long term plan sipping ice tea when the sun is shining than in the middle of a snow-pocalypse in 20 layers of fleece.
Mediate for 10 minutes every day.
No you do not need to be a wellness guru, yoga teacher or a mindfulness master to practice meditation daily. It’s something anyone can do almost anywhere. No mala beads or oil diffusers required (although if you have these, their awesome to incorporateJ)
Try this simple exercise I learned my freshman year in college by my voice instructor. Not only does it improve lung capacity by strengthening intercostals, but also it can make you fall asleep in the drop of a hat. If it worked for me in the middle of a co-ed college dorm, there’s a good chance you’ll have success as well.
- Inhale through your nose for 6 seconds
- Hold for three seconds
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds
Take deep belly breaths, making effort to avoid breathing through your chest. One good way to ensure proper technique is to lie down. Watch your belly rise and your ribcage expand.
Dig into a good book.
There are so many awesome reads out there right now. Whether it’s a classic like The Alchemist, or the new girl, Girl, Wash Your Face, books take us on a journey to places where Netflix can’t quite navigate.
Never underestimate the importance of a genuine smile. During spring break, I made a concerted effort to smile and say hello to strangers. I wanted to make a positive difference in their day, as insignificant as a simple smile may be. What happened were all sorts of funny surprises. Some people smiled and said hello back, some blatantly ignored me (weird but okay) and others stopped to start a conversation. After a week of this, I’m pretty sure I was the one who got the most out of the experience.
Happiness is found in all sorts of packages and places. Most of which are simple acts that all begin with you. I encourage you to branch out this spring, try something new and spark joy! This world can never have enough!