Author Gretchen Rubin received international attention for her 2009 best-selling book, The Happiness Project, in which she reexamines her own happiness and tries to develop mood-boosting habits. This week, Rubin shared some of her most efficient mood-boosting tips. For the most part, they can be accomplished in a minute or less.
1. MAKE YOUR BED.
“The thing that’s surprising to me is that, for most people, outer order does contribute to inner calm and creativity,” Rubin says. She says one easy way to maintain order and, in turn, boost happiness, is to make the bed. Every day.
2. SMELL THE ROSES—OR SOMETHING ELSE NICE.
Rubin says she “used to scoff at scented candles,” but now she understands scents are “a way to get a quick lift without any time and energy, money.”
3. FOLLOW THE "ONE-MINUTE RULE.
Overwhelmed by unopened mail, and other tiny tasks? “The one-minute rule says that anything I can do in less than a minute, I should do without delay,” Rubin says. “So I don’t postpone hanging up my coat, printing out a document and filing it, glancing over a letter and throwing it away.”
4. SET AN ALARM—AND NOT JUST FOR WAKING UP.
Since sleep and mood are linked, Rubin says folks who struggle with turning out the light may benefit from a bedtime alarm. “For many people, an alarm really helps; they just need that trigger,” she says.
5. DON'T LIKE A BOOK? STOP READING IT.
“I mean, I don’t watch a TV show if I don’t like it,” Rubin says. So why not apply the same logic to books? “I used to have this feeling that a ‘real reader’ would finish a book if [she] started it. Now I just have so much more time to read the books that I like, and I like everything that I read.”
6. TAKE ONE THING WITH YOU.
This one may be especially helpful for parents: When leaving a room, pick up as you go, one thing at a time. Without having to dedicate a lot of time and energy to it.
7. LISTEN TO AN UPBEAT SONG.
“It’s familiar, but it actually really does work,” Rubin says. “It’s a very easy way to change your mood.”
8. JUMP UP AND DOWN.
Rubin also swears by this simple energy-booster, especially when you may only have a few seconds to spare.
9. KISS SOMEONE YOU LOVE.
“Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists would agree that relationships are a key—maybe the key—to happiness,” Rubin says. “So anytime you do something that broadens your relationships or deepens your relationship, it’s gonna make you happier.”
10. MAKE SOME "BRIGHT-LINE RULES."
Rubin draws a direct connection between habits and happiness, and she also notes that hard rules can spare one the agony of decision-making.