by The Urbaness
All in the name of the pursuit of happiness, we bring you ten simple ways to cultivate joy every day.

The most joyful women we know are the ones who choose to be joyful. They’re the women who seek the silver lining; the ones who meet hardship with steadfast hope. By no coincidence, they are also the women we shower with endless admiration.

Each day, every one of us—these women, us, you—have dozens upon dozens of opportunities to cultivate happiness. It’s in the everyday practice—the accumulation of tiny, joyful moments—that we re-learn how to look at the world through a lens that sustains and fulfills us. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to create these tiny, joyful moments—and find a path to a happier you.



Be a student:


Invest in you by committing to learning something new. Take up pottery through organized classes at a studio, read your way through the classics, or teach yourself rudimentary French. Dedicating yourself to learning not only distracts from what else may be on your mind, but having a new skill under your belt also boosts confidence and curiosity, and ushers in joy. Classes we love? The Needle Shop teaches sewing. Lush Wine & Spirits will school you about booze, and the French Pastry School churns out chefs and macaroons two by two.



Focus on Gratitude:


We hear it time and time again, happy people are grateful people. So instead of focusing on what’s missing from your life, take a moment to take stock of what is beautiful and right. What’s up for grabs? The cute puppy that strolled past you on your morning commute. The friendly barista who has your order waiting seconds after you’ve pushed open the door. A raise at work, a delicious sandwich, loving family and friends—you name it! Anything that can boost your spirits belongs on a list of things you are grateful for. Keep this list running and see if you don’t have a rosier outlook in a matter of days.



Live in Color:


There’s nothing like a pair of bright red shoes, or a swipe of bubblegum pink lipstick to add pep to your step. On the days you’re feeling down, saturate your environment with bright, happy colors for an instant mood-booster. Green, in particular, has proven to relax and rejuvenate.



Walk it Off:


It seems counter intuitive to prescribe a walk in chilly weather, if the weather itself is precisely the thing that’s got you down. We all know by now that cardio boosts serotonin, the happiness-making chemical in our bodies. Add to this, a dose of sunshine, and consider your mood boosted. Twenty minutes of sunlight a day—as much as one stroll outside without sunglasses—can be enough to raise your serotonin and in turn, your mood.



Be a Flower Child:


For instant happiness, bring the outside in with a rainbow-colored bouquet of flowers. Add cheery color and life to a room in one fell swoop with a few stems of anything you please. We love the super affordable selection at Trader Joe’s, but for when we’re feeling fancy, we like to visit small, local boutiques for one-of-a kind arrangements. Try Fleur, Larkspur, or Sprout for a bouquet that’s anything but ordinary.


Gather Your Girlfriends:


Good, healthy relationships just might be the key to eternal happiness. Get in quality girl time by hosting a night in with friends. A dish of good old-fashioned comfort food, a few bottles of uncorked wine, and a couple hours of conversation can be all you need to feel grounded and ready to take on the world.



Put on Your Dancing Shoes:


Save for grade school dances, has there ever been a time you haven’t felt a wave of joy wash over you on the dance floor? Cultivate that sense of calm and happiness by setting up a date to shake it with pals. Looking for a good place to let loose in the city? Our favorites include Bar DeVille, Tuman’s, Beauty Bar, and Danny’s Soul Night.



Be Kind:


Make a point to commit small acts of kindness. Buy the stranger in line behind you a cup of coffee. Compliment a passerby on her beautiful shoes. Or simply say a heartfelt thank you to your driver before stepping off the bus. Joy is like a boomerang. You give it away, and it will always come back to you.



Unplug:


Living in a world where we’re constantly connected can leave us frazzled, overwhelmed, and just plain tired. Give your technology a cut-off time each evening—an hour or two before bed—and make this time just for you. Read a good book, take a long bath, or coax yourself into meditating. No matter what you choose to do, carve out restorative time just for you. Treat yourself kindly and suddenly the world looks brighter, don’t you think?



Live in the Moment:


While there’s certainly something to be said for dreaming, appreciating the present moment can be all you need to find the simple joy you’ve been after. Make an effort to fully experience each moment, without planning your dinner or building a to-do list in your head. Too tough a task to master? Start slow: Next time you brush your teeth, remind yourself to be fully present. Try your best to keep your mind on the task at hand—the feel of the brush, the foam of the toothpaste, the sound of the running water. Living in the present not only grounds us, but helps us appreciate even the smallest moments.


How do you cultivate joy in your life? Visit The Urbaness on Facebook to let us in on the tips and tricks that work for you!
2013-03-20