Plants, either indoors or outdoors.

Plants make you happier.  It seems crazy, but it's true.   Some of the points in this article are that exercising outdoors boosts your mood and just spending time outside makes you better able to focus and more resilient to stress.   Living near green space makes you live longer.  

Having plants inside your home has all kinds of benefits as well.  I've got to admit that this surprised me and tomorrow I am going to get some plants for my house and for my mom's assisted living facility room.   

Psychology Today - Plants Make You Feel Better  :  plants have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve reaction times, increase attentiveness, improve well-being, lower levels of anxiety during recovery from surgery and more!  

They filter the air of course, but they also make you happier!  In this study, people were given a house plant to take care of and they reported feeling happier in general.  

And, there's a bonus, they also make you smarter.  Houseplants Make You Smarter.  

Even cut flowers improve mood, so if you have a complete inablity to nurture a plant and keep it alive, buy yourself some flowers every now and then.  :-)  

Just for fun, go look at these wonderful balconies on Apartment Therapy.  


Reading is good for you in so many ways, getting lost in a story is a wonderful thing.  If you are depressed, though, you may find that it is beyond you at the current time.  When I have been grieving in the past I have not been able to concentrate on reading enough to follow the story.  However, if I set myself up with an audio book and my needlework or art journaling, I can escape into the story.

Reading improves cognitive function.

21 Reasons Reading Will Make You Happier

Read Something for Fun.

Take a break, sit down and read something that will make you feel better.  I recommend, Harry Potter, The Ranger's Apprentice or something else for the child in you.

Happiness day.

It's world happiness day today.  I'll have to admit, I have not spent the day in complete and utter happiness.  My mom had to go to the ER today and my brother took her because he was the first one called.  I was taking my son to an activity when it all went down.  Normally, I cope pretty well with this kind of thing, but right now I am coping with a lot of stuff.  I took a stress test the other day for stressful events and I scored 335.  The test said if you score over 300 you should probably talk to someone and find ways to manage the stress.  Today, my management of the stress included throwing up and going to bed for part of the day, while waiting to hear any news.  In my defense, (because I always feel I have to defend my reasons for taking a nap for some reason!) I felt that I might need to spend the night at the hospital, if she had to stay.  Fortunately, she did not have to stay and I am back up again, blogging, crocheting, watching TV and playing words with friends, some of the multitasking that I do when I am stressed.  Sometimes one activity is not enough to take my mind off things.  I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

Apartment Therapy has an excellent article today that is called Ten Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home.  It touches on some of the things that we have already talked about on this blog, like making your bed, but the most fun part to me is something they call "If you can't get out of it, get into it".  It's really good.  You should go read it.

Now I am going to share a link to just about the best ever in the world blog post about feeling happier, how to look at your home with "fresh perspectacles".  It is absolutely awesome and you should absolutely go read it, even if you never listen to anything else I say.  Type.  Whatever.


While you are over there, you might want to read her whole blog.  Lot of wisdom there.

Take care of yourself today.


This is something I have just recently started doing.  My mom always crocheted and knitted a little and tried to teach me when I was younger, but I was too stubborn to try when she tried to teach me.  Then, my daughter learned to knit and crochet in 4H classes and then wanted me to learn as well.  (Her Dad already knows how.  My husband actually knitted me a scarf when we were dating.)  Anyway, I resisted for quite some time and when I did try crocheting, I found it stressful at first.  My daughter, wise person that she is, told me to give it a few weeks and then it would switch and become relaxing.  I trusted her and she was right.  Since beginning to crochet and only learning one stitch, the single crochet stitch, I have made 2 complete afghans and am about halfway through another one and yes, I do find it relaxing at this point.  Will I ever learn to double or treble crochet?  Who knows.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I'm not going to stress about it.  :-)
This is an afghan my daughter did a few weeks ago.  

It turns out my daughter was right and there is research to back her up.  Knitting and crocheting and other kinds of crafting are good for your brain and good for your happiness and now, thanks to the internet, it's easy to learn a craft.

Happiness is a Needle and Thread Away.  "Textile handcraft making was associated with the greatest mood repair, increases in positive, decreases in negative mood"  

Crochet Benefits  "But crochet has been proven to reduce anxiety of all kinds, including panic attacks, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety, making it an especially effective tool to reach for ... "

This is Your Brain on Crafts "There's survey evidence to support crafting's dopamine effect. In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling "very happy.""

The Truth About Knitting

Health Benefits  

How to Knit - A video tutorial.

How to Crochet - A video tutorial.

If needle work is not your thing and never will be, do some of the other crafts mentioned in some of the articles, painting, model cars, drawing, paint by numbers.  Find something that gets you in the flow state of mind and relaxes you and then make time to do it!  


Getting out in the sunlight is good for your health and it is good for your mental health as well.  People tend to get depressed when the natural sunlight is low during the winter, and this is often called seasonal affective disorder.  It can be helped by getting out in the sun or with artificial lights that synthesize sunlight.

Check out these resources:

Did you realize that people do something akin to photosynthesis when exposed to sunlight?  We synthesize vitamin D through a chemical reaction in the skin.  I think that's completely fascinating!  

Sunlight has many, many benefits.  Go outside.  

Get out there.  Plant some flower bulbs or do some guerrilla gardening with seed bombs, take a walk with a loved one or just sit down on a bench or your front porch for a little while.  

Make your bed!

There is plenty of evidence that making your bed every morning makes you feel happier.  It seems kind of silly and yet, sometimes the simplest things can have an impact on your well-being.  I personally started making my bed as my February resolution.  I decided this year to make a series of small resolutions and do one each month, adding it to the existing one.  January was prayer and bible reading and February was making my bed.  I've stuck with them both though mid March and I have to say, it makes a difference.  My March task was this blog and I started it and I plan to continue it, just as I have the other 2.  I think that doing one small thing each month and making them cumulative has been a good thing.

I work at home, in the bedroom, right next to the bed so it has an impact, visually, on me, all during my work day.  I make it up and I through the most colorful afghan in the world on it and then as I walk by it every few minutes, it makes me smile.  Also, the kids in my house come and lie down on the bed and talk to me while I am working and that makes me happy as well.

Here's articles on the benefits of making your bed.

Psychology Today  People who make their beds report themselves as happier.

Life Hack  It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Apartment Therapy  Making your bed is a keystone habit, which means it is a catalyst for other good habits.

I told you this afghan was colorful!  It's also fuzzy and warm.

Who knew?

Get up and do it right this minute.

(Unless someone is in your bed sleeping!)

Sounds Fishy.

Fish?  Yes, eating fish fights depression and anxiety according to this article from All Africa.  I think we all pretty much know that fish contains Omega III fatty acids which are good for our hearts, but they are also good for keeping the brain fighting fit and help with depression.  Fish is not a normal part of my diet but I need to really seriously consider adding it in.  I will have to get some recipes because I don't currently have any.  

My first thought is a tuna noodle casserole, since that might be the best way to please the picky eaters around here.  

Here's one from Starkist Tuna.

Another one that is popular where I am from is Salmon Patties.  Here's a recipe from Chicken of The Sea.  (Which is a fun name for a company, if you think about it. )

In a pinch, if you don't feel like really cooking, I'm assuming that the fish sticks in the grocery will do just as well.   Don't make it more difficult than it has to be.  If you are dealing with sadness/ depression, even attempting to follow a recipe may feel overwhelming.    

Simply smile, even if you don't want to.

Yesterday, Huffington Post, published a simple guide to joy that is very basic, but very good.  It starts with taking a deep breath and continues through several steps until you are visualizing something you have to look forward to.  If you are feeling depressed and anxious, this is a good place to start.  Simple Guide To Joy

What can you do to feel happier right now?  Smile at your computer screen, right now, while you are reading this, because smiling makes you happier.  It's true!

For today's smile, watch this video of Maru the cat!  

Something else to make you smile right now:

Come on, give it all you've got!

It works!


Dirt Can Make You Happy.  Yes, gardening is a good outdoor activity that produces something and can, in turn,  produce a feeling of satisfaction that comes from that, it also can get you out in the sunlight and make you exercise, both of which we know to improve mood, but it has an added benefit as well.  There is a bacteria in the soil called Mycobacterium vaccae which has been proven to raise serotonin levels in the brain, which is the important chemical to fight depression.  It seems crazy, but it is true.  Even if you don't garden, just standing barefoot in the soil or picking some of it up with your hands can help you feel better about life.  How to get high on soil.  So if you want to experience more joy in your life in a more natural way than popping a pill, go outside, preferably barefoot and better yet, plant something that you can enjoy later in the year.  Spring is just around the corner and it's a great time to start a garden, even if it is just a tiny one on the windowsill.  Just make sure not to get any kind of sterilized soil that has had the bacteria removed ... get the real thing.  :-)  Healing Landscapes.  There is even a possibility that a vaccine against depression may someday be available!  How awesome is that?

Trending today.

Today on Twitter, the hashtag is #makesomeonesdayin3words.

What are you going to stay to someone in your life?

You are awesome.
I appreciate you.
I love you.
I need you.
You are good.
You tried hard.
You have value.
You're a blessing.
You're a treasure.
You did good.
Take a break.
Have a chocolate.
Take it easy.
I've got this.
Go say it now.

Or text.

Or message.

Do one thing.

Rocking Chairs? Really?

Rocking chairs are good for you.  Who knew?  I mean I knew they were good for rocking babies but they are also good for recuperating from surgery, for arthritic knees, for weight loss because you burn up to 150 calories an hour in a rocking chair.    Check out this article.   They also help with balance, varicose veins and ease back pain.

So okay, if you are in a rocking chair rocking while watching TV then you're helping your back, preventing varicose veins, helping the arthritis in your knees and getting skinnier!  I'm in. The chair pictured above is from and is 89.00 plus shipping and tax.  That's not a bad price for so much feeling-goodness.

But wait, there's MORE.  Really.  Rocking in a rocking chair helps people with dementia feel less anxious.  A 2 year study in Rochester, New York, proved this a few years back.    Rocking chairs help kids with ADHD.    I think that the fact that they help the elderly and help children means that they probably are good for those of us in the middle too!

Another unusual way to bring yourself happiness.

This one is from the Art of Manliness.   Apparently talking to strangers is good for you.  Who knew?  I talk to strangers all the time because for some reason, though I consider myself very, very shy, I don't mind talking to people in stores, doctor's offices, etc. and sometimes I do enjoy these conversations very much.  Here's a link you should definitely go read from the New York Times.  

I have had a couple of fun conversations at Walmart lately.   One day I was pumping gas when the woman on the other side of the gas pump sneezed very, very loudly, sounding exactly like me when I sneeze.  I couldn't help it, I started laughing and to keep her from feeling bad about a stranger laughing at her, I told her "You sneeze exactly like me!"  I've never met anyone else who sounds like that!"  We spent a couple of minutes bonding over this and she told me that she had been inside Walmart a few minutes earlier and had sneezed in this unbelievably loud way we have and someone halfway across the store yelled "BLESS YOU!!!" prompting half of the store, including the sneezer, to laugh.  Fun times.  This has also happened to me in a similar way in Target.  :-)

Just last night I was walking out of the store and 2 adorable little girls came out to try and sell me girl scout cookies, which I didn't want to buy for several reasons.  First, I never have cash, second I have to keep gluten free and third, I am fat enough, thank you.  But I didn't want to be discouraging to those precious girls, so I said "No thank you, but I would just like to say that you two are really doing a good job!"  (They were, so this was a true comment.)  They were so excited, they ran over to their mom's to tell them "That lady said we are doing a good job!"  I don't think it would have made them happier if I had bought the cookies.

So, even though you think it won't make you happier if you talk to a stranger, science says it will, so go out there and just do it today.  Talk to someone.

Bringing a little color into your life.

Even the tiniest little bit of a color you love can make you happier.  A throw pillow, a blanket or throw, a teakettle, you name it.  Put things and colors in your home that make you feel happy.  Color Psychology.   For the past couple of years I have been making art to please myself.  Then I sold a few pieces and after that, started trying to make art that I thought would please others and be easier to frame but that didn't provide the same satisfaction for me so I am back to pleasing myself.   Someone may look at it and say that I use too much blue or too much yellow or orange, but it's not for them; it's for me and it's what I like.  During the last couple of years, dealing with my mom's Alzheimer's disease, this art has saved my life and therefore I love it.

My house is mostly beiges and browns and I can't really afford to redo it and getting my husband to approve colorfulness in the house is a wild stretch of the imagination, so I painted one wall of my laundry room in my favorite, robin's egg blue and over the past year, I've brought little bits of that color into the other rooms as well.  Another small tool for feeling better.  It's important not to go on a big shopping spree because spending money that you possibly don't have won't help.  That will only make you feel worse.  Just try and bring some color in your environment.