9 Rules Happy Women Make (and Follow)
The way to happiness (besides wearing comfortable shoes and always blowing the dandelion fluff)? Make your own rules.
When you only have two options, find a third.
You were offered a job in Mexico, por ejemplo, but you do not want to move to Mexico, you want to stay in Montana. Do you uproot your entire life? Or turn down the job? Both are unappealing choices, and the minute you begin to fret about which one of them you should pick, you must stop—and turn to someone outside the situation (anyone, really) for a third idea. This is the person—as wise or as ordinary as the rest of us—who will shrug and say, "Why not ask to telecommute?" There are always more than two options. Sometimes, you just need two brains to remember that.
Always tent the bacon.
Believe me when I say that stealing nifty tricks—such as, propping up the middle of the bacon strip so it doesn't burn in the frying pan while the ends remain stubbornly raw—from superior cooks, will vastly improve your daily life.
Never skip your wake-up sun.
There is scientific proof that some exposure to early-morning sun can make you feel better all day. "Natural light calibrates your body's clock for the rest of the day
," says Michael A. Grandner, PhD, a research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. If you can't find any natural sunshine (on dark winter mornings, for example), bright indoor lights or a light box might help you fake it until you make it. And unlike that also-energizing latte, you don't have to wait in line for it.
Honor thy "someday" list.
When something falls off the daily to-do list (replace the sweater button; go to the Post Office), one would be right in assuming that it can slip onto tomorrow's today list and eventually get done. Then there's the "someday" list (learn to needlepoint; go to Prague). There's no time limit for those to-dos, right? Actually, productivity expert Laura Vanderkam has found that if those larger, more complex goals languish on your list for more than six weeks, they probably won't happen at all
. Now is your someday. Find the most important thing on the "someday" list (hello, look for a new job!) and begin the process now so that, someday, you'll get to cross it off.
Bring your own...
Wine. Notebook. Phone charger. Sriracha. The thing that will make you comfortable. The thing that will make you uncomfortable if it's missing.
Scootch as needed.
One day I was watching my 2-year-old son build his toy train track like so: He would add one piece, then scootch the little Thomas the Tank Engine train across the new piece; then add another piece, and scootch the train over a tiny bit more. I was about to suggest that he build the whole track first and then commence train-scootching when I realized that this was exactly what was wrong with my whole life philosophy. Sometimes, you only need as much track as you take up, so to speak. Everything does not need to be completely planned out before you get the pleasure of scootching forward.
Forget the breadstick.
If you sit down at a restaurant and see nothing tempting on the menu, and you hate sitting there in its unflattering lighting, and restaurant regret starts seeping in—exit the premises. It doesn't matter that you sipped the water. It doesn't matter that you ate a breadstick. Forget the breadstick. Leave. This is your life. This is your only ever February 23, 2014 (or whatever day it is), your only ever dinner out tonight.
A recent editorial in The New York Times
reveals, "Psychiatrists have long thought that depression causes insomnia, but new research suggests that insomnia can actually precede and contribute to causing depression.
" So, listen to the advice your mother used to give you: When you're really down, get some sleep. It really will be easier to deal with when you're rested, whatever it is.
In 9-degree weather....blow bubbles.
During this record-breakingly frigid winter, most of us have kept busy with Netflix binges and complaining. Seattle photographer Angela Kelly
went outside to blow bubbles (and capture the resulting ice structures
). Turns out there's a little fairy world within those frozen bubbles. You just have to brave the cold to find it.
Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far is the Ocean from Here
Next: 6 shocking things that make you calmer and happier