11 Free and Quirky Ways to be Happier


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*I wrote this post several years ago, but many things still apply today as we deal with these uncertain times and the challenge of social distancing.

Let’s face it- Life is tough. If it’s not one thing it’s another. From the stress of figuring out meals for the week to wondering how you are going to pay bills it seems as though the troubles are never ending.  That’s why it’s important to laugh anyway. The question is how do you find a way to smile in even the bleakest moments?

Luckily, there are tons of quirky and off beat ways to bring sunshine to your life. And I’m not talking about the typical remedies like take a shower or going shopping. I’m talking about off the wall things such as keeping Play-Doh in your purse for spur of the moment playtime. Or having a rainbow colored umbrella to make you smile on even the rainiest of days.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a pretty optimistic and perky person. The below list is the reason why…


11 Free and Quirky Ways to be Happy
11 Free and Quirky Ways to be Happy

1. Chew multicolored bubble gum.

If you are like me, you enjoy satisfying your taste buds with a mouthwatering piece of gum. Not only does that one stick of gum fight bad breathe and temporarily satisfy hunger, it occupies your mind and your mouth when dealing with stressful moments. Think about it. You can’t possibly scream bloody murder at the temp who misfiled all of your important documents when you are too busy chomping away at your chewy delight. You’d be way too enthralled savoring the sticky goodness in your mouth as you chew away. Imagine how much better it would be if you were chewing a bright purple or pink wad of gum and precisely blowing perfectly sculpted  bubble. Dubble Bubble comes to mind…

2. Keep some bubbles in the glove compartment of your car.

Nothing tops pulling up to your business meeting, checking the clock to find out that you are 30 minutes early and realizing you have time to blow some bubbles out the window to kill some time while you wait. Not only will it occupy your mind, but it will relax you for that meeting you are already well-prepared for.

3. Watch Spongebob when you can

To those down and out on life, Spongebob Squarepants is nothing more than a waste of time and excuse to avoid growing up. But to the young at heart, lively, and optimistic its the opportunity to escape into childhood again and leave the problems of the “real world” behind. Besides, every once in a while you deserve to escape from the perils  of everyday life. Plus, you can learn a valuable life lesson from Spongebob. Ever notice how, Squidward, the pessimistic, lazy, and deceitful character always ends up with the shorthand of the stick or injured somehow? Meanwhile, the happy-go-lucky Spongebob is consistently faced with new eventful opportunities. That’s no coincidence. It’s merely proof that if you change your thoughts you can change your world. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

If Spongebob isn’t your fancy watch another cartoon that will bring out your inner child.

4. Sing your favorite song even when in public.

There’s a reason why they say music makes great therapy. Besides, if you have a terrible voice it should put your mind at ease knowing that your life can’t get any worse than your singing. It may even help solve your problems. Ever heard of William Hung?

5. Have Play-Doh in your purse at all times

You can never feel depressed for too long when you go digging through your purse or your pocket and you find a promising bottle of Play-Doh just waiting to be molded into something delightful.

6. Purchase a rainbow colored umbrella

While Starbursts wants you to taste the rainbow, I want you to see the rainbow… at all times. That’s why I suggest you carry around a brightly colored rainbow umbrella on those rainy days. Even though the world around you is damp and gloomy, there’s no reason why your world  can’t resemble that of a beach ball. Seeing the brightly colored shield will certainly help keep your spirits up. Plus, it will prove to be helpful when trying to get the attention of a cab driver in the city.

Carry a rainbow umbrella on a rainy day to brighten your world

7. Hide Post-It notes in random places

For when you need a little pick-me-up, I suggest writing motivational, laugh worthy, and just plain heart tingling notes to yourself. You’ll thank yourself when you find one hiding amongst your belongs at the moment when you’re convinced it couldn’t get any worse.

8. Play with your food

If you gotta eat, you might as well have fun with it. Experiment, taste test and create something new. I bet you’re dying to know whether or not that cayenne pepper will mix well with your latest creation. Try it… You have nothing to lose.

9. Get to know a stranger

Remember when you were a little kid and social status, family make-up, religion and appearance didn’t matter. You never saw any of those things. All you saw was a playmate. As adults, we over think everything. Of course, that leads to people becoming antisocial, judgmental and sometimes lonely. I challenge you to ignore the details and get to know a stranger. If you take the train into the city at the same time every morning, chat up a few familiar faces. If you are a regular at the local coffee shop take a moment to thank the barista for her hard work and find out if she’s saving for something special. Sometimes, it’s the simple smile from a stranger and cordial conversation that makes all the difference in your life and theirs. After all, that’s how friendships are made.

*In these times of social distancing, get to know your co-workers in a virtual hang out or take the time really bond with your kids at home.

10. Look at the shapes in the clouds

There is nothing more relaxing and thought awakening than challenging your imagination to see how many shapes you can see. Suddenly, there is nothing else in the world that matters other than your thoughts, imagination, and those fluffy pillows floating along. Once you master the cloud thing, move onto star gazing.

11. Actually LOL

How many times have you gotten a laugh worthy text or email and simply responded to the sender with “LOL”? Maybe it’s because you didn’t think t wasn’t appropriate to actually laugh. Maybe it’s because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time to let your true colors come out. Or perhaps you were self-conscience about the way your chuckle sounds. Well, I say it’s about time you stop holding it in and allow yourself to laugh. Smile when your heart sends the signal and your eyes get that twinkle. Don’t  be afraid to let that harmonious sound escape from your lips and soothe your senses. After all, they say laughter is the best medicine.

Bottom Line – Schedule some time to visit your childhood every once in a while.

What things do you do to lift your spirits? Anything interesting, twisted, or just quirky? 

TERRIfic Quips: Take a deep breathe. It’s  just a bad day not a bad life.

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