24 Shortcuts to a Happy Life

January 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Cliff Notes | 1 Comment
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I must confess… I am an addict when it comes to magazines and almost any form of reading material.  And when I like something, I will go to almost any length to keep it coming.  That adds up to about 5 magazines and around 150 online newsletters per month.  But don’t worry, I don’t read them all.  I have somehow become the world’s greatest scanner and speed reader but I also have the world’s worst memory as a result of all this incoming info. 

The upside to this is that I always come across a lot of fun and interesting pieces of info.   Everytime I find something good to pass on, you will be able to find them in the “Cliff Notes” category with their reference for further reading. 

Today I found “24 Shortcuts to a Happy Life” on Cosmpolitan.com.  I personally loved them and found them very useful.  To keep it brief, I posted 10 of my favorite tips below.  The rest you can find on their link. 

1.       Don’t believe everything you think. When your inner critical voice starts heckling you about how your abs are flabby or making you feel like crap ’cause that guy so isn’t interested, assume the voice is wrong.

2.       Copy the catwalk. Apparently, Leo isn’t the only reason Gisele’s smiling. According to a Skidmore College study, people who take bigger strides, swing their arms, and walk with their heads up (think: runway goddesses) feel happier than those who take short, shuffling steps. The reason could be because upright posture and extra movement get blood flowing more freely, which boosts your heart rate and your attitude.

3.       Pad your time. Running late and rushing around like a total madwoman is like putting your nerves in a deep fryer. So instead of being terminally frazzled, give yourself a 10-minute buffer. Set your watch ahead or allow yourself more prep time when you have someplace you have to be.

4.       Get engaged. Sorry, we’re not talking about the kind that comes with a diamond ring. We mean those times when you’re so totally absorbed in what you’re doing that you forget about watching the clock. Whether you’re thumbing through your latest issue of Cosmo or even fine-tuning a work project, you’re completely in the moment and experiencing what’s called flow, says David G. Myers, PhD, author of The Pursuit of Happiness. “When you become so unself-consciously immersed in an activity, you boost your sense of competence and well-being.”

5.       Grin, even if you don’t feel like it. This is one time it’s okay to fake it. Just force yourself to smile when you need a lift. Research at Clark University found that students who were induced to smile actually felt happier. “Even just going through the motions can trigger feelings of joy,” says Myers.

6.       Shorten your “I wish I’d…” list. Look, you can’t rewrite history, and harping on the past only makes the present seem bleak, so don’t dwell on what you could’ve or should’ve done differently (“I could’ve asked him for his number,” “I should’ve bought that damn sweater on sale”). Banish regret by refusing to second-guess yourself.

7.       Listen to elevator music. No, we haven’t completely lost our minds. In the strange-but-true department, chill tunes can have the same calming effect on anxious patients as 5 milligrams of Valium, according to Atlanta anesthesiologist Fred Schwartz. One quick word of advice though: Use headphones — you might want to keep your Muzak appreciation under wraps.

8.       Always have something to look forward to. Make dinner reservations three weeks in advance. Buy a pair of concert tickets for next month. When you preplan a fabulous future, you sweeten your outlook on life.

9.      Create a ritual. Start every morning with your signature skim no-foam latte or set up a weekly mani–pedi. Life is totally random and unpredictable, but having something constant that you enjoy keeps you grounded and gives you a sense of well-being.

10.  Don’t flake out. It’s okay to occasionally bail on plans — emergencies do crop up — but being a chronic canceler is guaranteed to send you on a guilt trip…and piss off your friends.


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  1. #2 is so true, I’ve found it helps to walk confidently – especially on the way to a meeting where I’m rattled to the bone. And even if i am rattled before the meeting, they won’t notice!:)

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