Rubin’s latest book, The Happiness Project, chronicles the year she spent trying out every idea, theory and pop culture fad to increase her joy. Along the way, she learned a lot about herself and the power of the little things in life. Here are nine easy changes Rubin recommends to give your happiness a boost.
1. Make Your Bed
It’s little. It’s manageable. It’s the first thing in your day. Rubin says that of all the tactics she tried, this one is the most popular. Why? Because “for most people outer order contributes to inner calm.”
2. Make Three New Friends
New friends broaden your outlook on life, introduce you to new interests and provide priceless support. Also, research shows that being outgoing and talkative can make even the biggest of introverts happier. “By acting more friendly, I made myself feel more friendly,” Rubin writes.
3. Toss, Restore, Organize
When you can’t find what you need when you need it, the disorder in your life can really start to wear you down. After talking to many of her readers, Rubin found that when people are able to get control over household chaos, they get a bigger happiness boost than they imagined.
“Organizing your home is not as challenging as rethinking your career,” she says. “It’s more immediate. Just tackle something like a kitchen cabinet or your closet.”
4. Sing in the Morning
Getting ready in the morning can be stressful even when you don’t have kids who need to get to school. It doesn’t matter if your voice is off key or if you don’t really know the words to the song. “Singing in the morning reminded me to follow my Ninth Commandment: Lighten Up,” Rubin writes.
5. Go to Sleep Earlier
Women everywhere fail to get the advised seven to eight hours of sleep the body needs to function properly. “Insufficient sleep weighs on you more than you think,” Rubin says. “Having a sense of energy is very important to happiness.”
6. Quit Nagging
This one didn’t come to Rubin right away, but now that this piece of wisdom has become part of her life, she feels much more peaceful. These days, instead of trying to get her daughter to pick out her outfit and get dressed in a timely manner every morning, Rubin sets out her daughter’s clothes the night before.
7. Start a Book Club
Okay, so your group’s first book doesn’t have to be The Happiness Project, but taking the time to get together and read with friends will give you and immediate happiness boost. “That’s something you can do right now,” Rubin says. “You don’t have to wait for some kind of magical opening.”
8. Take Time to be Silly
“A happy atmosphere isn’t created merely by the absence of nagging and yelling but by jokes, games, and tomfoolery,” Rubin writes. But playing silly doesn’t usually occur if you’re by yourself. So look for play dates. Affecting a silly mood will not only brighten your sprits, but most likely someone else’s, too.
9. Laugh Out Loud
This one doesn’t need much explanation. Laughing lowers stress levels, boosts immunity and just makes you feel good.