How to be Happy: The Real Simple Way

July 27, 2009 at 11:17 am 8 comments

We have studied numerous ways to be happy. We have studied how to ignore the chores that need to be done in favor of a more carefree lifestyle, where the bathroom is always locked and we know the manager of the gas station. We have envisioned ourselves as golden statues and considered moving to Sweden, until our families rebelled. We have also walked around naked and taken showers in the dark. Afterwards we put some pretty band aids on the cuts and scrapes that ensued from barking our shins on the handle of the bathroom cabinet.

400355074_319a64687fBut how about the Real Simple way to be happy, as told by Real Simple magazine writers? The Real Simple way is, of course, real simple. So simple, your dog could probably do it. Or your baby.

Readers of this magazine know that Real Simple is the queen of lists. Need something done? They’ve broken it down for you in some helpful little steps. Preferably 10. Need to know what clothes to wear? They’ve arranged a list, with pictures. Need to know how to broil a steak? Buy peanut butter? Buy a gift for a friend? The list (pun intended) goes on.

The same procedure goes for happiness.

As simplicity goes, they have supplied us with a real simple list of real simple stuff you can do to reach happiness in the next half hour. Nine short things. How much more real simple can you get? In living a simple yet fulfilling life, lists are key.

The opening paragraph offers encouragement. Come on ladies, this isn’t too hard after all. Happiness is effort, but it isn’t that hard to be happy once you put your mind to it.

Being happier doesn’t have to be a long-term ambition. You can start right now. In the next 30 minutes, tackle as many of the following suggestions as possible. Not only will these tasks themselves increase your happiness, but the mere fact that you’ve achieved some concrete goals will boost your mood.

So, not only will you start walking on the road to happiness which will lead to a glorious sunset, you can also lift the dark crowds by tackling happiness as you would a to-do list. Write it down on a piece of paper. Then tackle the goals one by one. Remember to start right now. And try to do as much as possible, because nothing feels better than tackling a long to do list and accomplishing the goals listed on it. And nothing feels worse than not accomplishing a list.

2215069210_cdbf2b0bc5And remember, this list is only supposed to take 30 minutes. So let’s see how long it takes us to reach true happiness.

1. Raise your activity level. This involves standing up and pacing when you’re on the phone. If you’re like me and you still have one of those old fashioned phones that actually have a cord, you might end up tangled in a knot, and your activity level will increase as you attempt to detangle yourself while fending off the mother of the girl your daughter accidentally knocked over in an enthusiastic game of freeze tag.

You can also put some more energy in your voice. You can either be bubbly or cheery…

Or you can yell.

Talking on the phone to annoying lady = 2 hours.

2. Take a walk outside. Something to do with sunlight and chemicals. I never was that good with chemistry. I think they mean that you have to take a walk while it is sunny, because it will make you happy.

Taking walk = 2 hours. You had to stop to chat. You also had to stop because your dog took a poo under someone’s mailbox and you had to clean it up because said neighbor gave you dirty looks.

3275857316_151e165e9f3. Reach out. Send an email to someone you haven’t seen in a while. Facebook is good. Recently I actually went through my friends’ list and left notes on people’s walls. I didn’t know who they were, but anyway… I’m sure it had the effect of one of those strangers that randomly wave at you and smile even though you don’t know them.

Reaching out = procrastinating on Facebook + getting distracted on applications + stalking your old flame + actually reaching out= 3 hours

4. Rid yourself of a nagging task. Like all the stuff on this wonderful happiness list. You know that if you don’t raise your activity level, the first item on this list, it will nag at the back of your mind until you do it. Then after you raise your activity level, you’ll take a walk outside, and then spend some time on facebook, and then… “Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a rush of elation.”

So far = 7 hours

3729254711_0b974bf88d5. Serenity is key. Create a serene environment of order and peace. Spend some time organizing. Remember the toilet that was dirty yet got passed over for doing something happier? TACKLE THAT TOILET NOW. Otherwise it will be the only dark spot in your serene and clean and organized home. It will help you be peaceful inside. Zen is good.

Serenity = Cleaning toilet + organizing bills + organizing mail + looking for cleaning supplies for toilet = 1 hour and a half

6. Do a good deed. Such good deeds, according to the writer, consist of setting your single friends up, passing along “useful information” or praising people.

Doing good deed = setting single friends up by email + realizing that single friends aren’t single anymore + fending off complaints from a misunderstanding + passing along the 10 forwards in your inbox warning against chaynmessagia flu + spending some time in tears in the bathroom = 10 hours

294004131_948a47d1237. Save someone’s life. No, don’t jump in front of a car or something. But in the event that you do, be an organ donor.

Takes all of five minutes to sign up.

But telling the family… now that takes longer. How long? Let’s say 1 hour because of some misunderstanding.

8. Act happy. Fake it till you feel it. Plaster that smile on your face, girl, and the feelings will come! A grin can make you feel happy, even if it’s fake. I wonder why that doesn’t work for plastic surgery.

Like the Botox thing that supposedly keeps you from becoming depressed. Or helps depression. Whichever.

But by grinning fakely while the gossipy friend drones on and on and on… you will actually feel happy instead of wanting to spear her with your stiletto or something.

Acting happy = 24 hours and then some to massage face muscles

2980268644_4f5952bb379. Learn something new. Buy a book about something you’ve always wanted to know. Or read about it on the internet.

I believe that if you read magazines like Glamour or Cosmopolitan, you’ll know all the information you ever wanted to know, like 10 different ways to use ice. Or the best bathing suits. Or the secrets that men know but won’t ever tell you but will tell a staff of a big magazine for a few bucks. Or if you ever wanted to know what your man thinks when you cook him a nice meal. After all, men are items to be decoded, as much as women are. What would we do without these magazines? Subscribe to them. Subscribe to all of them.

I also learn new things from the tabloids every day when I go to the supermarket. Like Jon and Kate? Wooo.

Time? Perhaps a couple of hours or more every day.

Now let’s add them all together. I got roughly 52 hours! That’s like two whole days.

But at least you know that you’re one short list and two whole days nearer to happiness.


Entry filed under: Happiness. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pal  |  July 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Cool! Those were really cool tips 🙂 See, started with a Smiley !!

  • 2. stamperdad  |  July 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Nothing like a list of things you want to or like to do. Satisfying to cross things off. It actually feels like you are accomplishing things when you aren’t really.

    Good writing.

  • 3. Anonymously Secret  |  July 28, 2009 at 9:25 am

    You are very funny! Those are some useful tips. SOME. Not all. The reaching out and helping others are good advice. Keep it up! I want to read more.

  • 4. Kate  |  July 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  • 5. fnord  |  July 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I guess deciding to make the list is second to admitting you need the list and that’s a BIG step! 😉

  • 6. Claire Collins  |  July 29, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Your post made me happy 🙂

    Fake it till you feel it. Plaster that smile on your face, girl, and the feelings will come! A grin can make you feel happy, even if it’s fake. I wonder why that doesn’t work for plastic surgery.

    OR weight loss. “I think I’m thin I think I’m thin”

  • 7. Megan  |  July 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Some really great suggestions! 🙂 I feel like I should bookmark this and return to it when I’m having an off day!

    I particularly like tackling a really terrible chore for the elation of being able to cross it off your list — whether that list is mental or tangible! I really hate making phone calls to angry people — who does like that, I guess? — at work, so I try to get that over with first thing in the morning so I can sigh with relief all day knowing that I’ve already finished that. That’s definitely one of my keys to happiness! 🙂

  • 8. insider53  |  July 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Nice list and good suggestions. Happy seems to be a state that eludes most of us no matter how hard we try. Maybe that is the problem, we try when we should just be.


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