I made this list while thinking about various healing and happiness inducing actions for the recent Happiness Is... exhibition. Some are ideas I incorporate in my own life; others are exercises I’ve borrowed from other artists, gurus and friends. Enjoy and be well.
Breathe. Remember you can always return to your breath.
Focus on your breath for one minute, then two minutes, then five minutes all the way up to 20 minutes. Do this everyday.
Find a comfortable space and trust it for awhile.
Take a walk.
Surprise someone with a handmade gift.
Throw a surprise party for someone you love.
If you are stuck, turn on the music and dance.
Write down three things you are grateful for at the end of the day. Do this for one week, a month, a year. Notice what happens.
Lean up against a very tall building and let it support you.
Lean up against a very tall tree and let it support you.
Lean up against someone you love and let her support you.
Think of all the people you love in the world, imagine each of their faces smiling at you one by one.
Do not look at facebook for one day, then two days, then an entire week.
Make lunch for a friend and include a note written on a napkin.
Call a dear friend you haven’t heard from in a long time.
Call your best friend on a regular basis.
Talk to a stranger.
Join a club or start one of your own.
Take a class on something you know nothing about.
Teach a class on a subject you are passionate about or want to learn more about.
Check out books at the library on subjects you’ve always wanted to learn about.
Give yourself permission to write bad poetry and make bad art.
Start a one-sentence daily journal.
Make a cup of tea for someone else. Bring it to them without them even asking for it.
Give your money away.
When someone compliments you on something that you have (your sweater, your earrings etc), give it to her.
Invite friends over and make a big pot of soup to share with them.
Have a dinner party with friends and eat in a circle on the floor (with plenty of pillows etc).
Eat your meal outside.
When you eat fruits and vegetables, thank yourself for being kind to your body.
Raise your arms up as high as you can. Pretend you are a redwood tree.
Give your belly a gentle massage at the end of the day.
Close your eyes and smile for at least one minute. Try doing this the first thing in the morning.
Pretend you are 20 years older than you are today. Dress like that person pretend you are her for an entire day.
Drink a glass of water for 15 minutes and do nothing else.
Write a hand written letter to someone who lives far away from you but you think of often.
Notice the things that you enjoy doing. Then make sure you do those things every day.
Smile at three people during the day.
Every morning commit yourself to being kind to yourself and to others.
When in line at the market, focus on your breathing instead of looking at trashy magazines.
Make a poster with an inspiring story or phrase on it. Hang it somewhere in public for others to feel inspired too.
Take a walk during your lunch hour.
Find a place – maybe it’s a tree, a building, a lobby, a patch of grass – to leave your worries. Go there every day and let go of your worries.
Give away things you have that you don’t use to someone who will appreciate it.
Use your nice things every day, don’t just save them only for “special” occasions.
Find time everyday to sit on the floor.
Lie down on the floor and try to imagine your body sinking down. Do this for at least 10 minutes.
Describe a beautiful place or event to someone who is no longer here.
Revisit your favorite thing to do when you were 8 years old.
Swim in an open body of water.
Cultivate a simple daily practice that reflects something you love to do.
Hold a baby until she falls asleep.
Watch something grow.
Keep track of all the movies that really make you laugh. Revisit when necessary.
Take a nap.