Saturday Happiness Inspiration: 8 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Smile

Happiness Inspirations for the Weekend| southernbeets

Seward Park in Seattle.

It’s the weekend!  And better yet, it’s a 3-day weekend for most of us, which means there’s plenty of opportunities to fit some happiness boosters into your weekend.  Greatist shared a list of 25 science-backed ways to feel happier, and I wanted to share my favorites.

1.  Spend time outside.  Even 15 minutes in the sun helps boost mood, and you’ll get even more benefits  if you do something active.

2.  Exercise.  This doesn’t have to be going to the gym.  Find an activity you love to do, or something you can spend time with people you love.  Even going for a walk around the neighborhood releases endorphins.

3.  Sleep in.  Getting enough Zzzzs helps restore the brain, and helps you manage stressors more effectively.

4.  Knock out a small project (or a big one).  Procrastination decreases happiness, and a sense of accomplish increases it.  Find something manageable so you can have the satisfaction of finishing it.

5.  Buy produce from the farmers’ market, then eat it.  Nutrients, especially from fruits and vegetables, can contribute to how we feel.

6.  Try something new.  Take a class or try a new sport with a friend.  Learning a new skill can help increase confidence and self-satisfaction.

7.  Practice gratitude.  People that purposefully acknowledge what they’re grateful for are tend to be happier.  Here is an easy gratitude exercise I posted a couple of weeks ago that’s almost as easy as counting to “3.”

8.  Connect with someone.  Positive relationships and connecting with others can help boost mood.  Grab a cup of coffee, go for a walk, or invite some friends over to make brunch.

I’m thinking I can definitely try some of these out this weekend.  What do you think?


Happy World Turtle Day!

Happy World Turtle Day! | southernbeets

Sea turtles in Poipu, Kauai.

Happy World Turtle Day!  It’s been celebrated on May 23 of each year since 2000.  It’s sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue and brings awareness to how we can help preserve the populations of these gentle guys.  TedEd has a video here that shows the journey of the sea turtle from egg to adulthood, and how difficult it is for sea turtles to survive long enough to create more baby sea turtles.  Sea turtles are one of my favorite animals.  Spotting them swimming along the shoreline seemed to be my sole mission last time I went to Hawaii, and I hope they’re around to enjoy for many generations to come.  The Sea Turtle Conservancy has many suggestions to help our sea turtles, and I thought I’d share a few:

  1. Recycle and buy sustainable products.  Ocean debris (like plastic bags, balloons, netting, and containers) looks like food, and turtles try to eat it.  There’s several “garbage patches” in the ocean, with some as large as Texas.  National Geographic discusses this growing problem in more detail here.
  2. Try walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation.  Replacing some or all of your commutes with something that uses less gasoline can help reduce our overall use, and therefore decrease demand for drilling in marine areas.
  3. Haul out what you haul in to the beach.  Leftovers can attract raccoons and other animals that pray on sea turtles and their eggs.
  4. Use biodegradable lawn and garden produces to reduce the amount of toxins that make it to our water supplies.
  5. Enjoy turtles (and other endangered animals) from a distance.  As tempting as it can be to approach these gentle giants, many animals are easily scared away from nesting and resting grounds.


Saturday Happiness Inspiration: A Simple Gratitude Exercise Before Mother’s Day

This morning, even before getting out of bed, I wanted some happiness inspiration and turned on an episode of TED Talks Life Hacks.  In Shawn Anchor‘s TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” he talks about how increasing happiness can improve performance at work.  The talk is humorous and points out the irony of psychological work (trying to identify illness and problems rather than strengths and health).  It was easy to follow, ends with a useful take-away message, and it’s only 12 minutes out of your day (I love short snippets of inspirations).

Achor talks about 5 research-supported ways that we can increase happiness, and he explains how doing these exercises can help retrain our brains to seek out the positive.  One of those exercises is writing down three new things that you are grateful for every day.  The idea is that our brains are often trained to look for problems and stressors, but practicing looking for the positive can lead to a more automatic process in the brain of seeking out the good in life.  Only three things a day?  Sounds easy, right?  So why not start now?!

This is something you can keep to yourself, but part of gratitude is sharing it with others (happiness inspires happiness).  So here’s my gratitude list for today:

1.  I’m grateful for getting a great night of sleep.

2.  I’m grateful for Saturdays off work.

3.  I’m grateful for my mother, her big heart and her beautiful soul, and that she is still in my life.

Saturday Happiness Inspiration: A Gratitude Exercise before Mother's Day | southernbeets

my wonderful mother as a child, who obviously gave me my love of cats

Do you have a daily happiness practice?  Or do you want to share your gratitude list for the day?  I would love to hear it!  Comment below, or send me a line on Twitter (@southernbeets).  Better yet, tweet it out to the world (but please tag me-I don’t want to miss it!).