1. If you notice someone’s gotten a haircut, tell them “Happy haircut!” Like “Happy birthday,” as if it’s a holiday or something. (My stepdad always does this, and now it’s stuck in my brain.) I am a strange person and this is a strange thing to do, and you will get some funny looks. But it’s all good.
2. When people ask how you are, don’t just refute a negative. “I’m not bad” and “I’m good” may mean similar things rationally, but there’s a subtle psychological difference. One is passively okay, while the other is actively positive. (Of course, this only applies if you actually are good. No need to lie!)
3. Jokingly pretend to be excited about things you hate. I don’t mean hide your misery behind a mask. I mean let it out through an excitement that’s so obviously fake that you can just have a good time with it. “Aw yeah, effin’ status reports! Gets me up in the morning!” But don’t just be bitterly sarcastic. Try to really act excited.
4. If you’re feeling down, comfort someone else. This is easier said than done. But often, the best way to get out of your own pit is to imagine what others are feeling. I’ve found that, when I can manage it, my empathy is far more interesting than my self-pity.
5. Exercise, if you can. The brain is an organ. Everything psychological is physical too. Even a little exercise can help. And if you’re feeling better, you can spread that feeling-better to others.
6. Sleep, if you can. You might be surprised just how much of a negative mood comes from pervasive tiredness.
7. Watch Louis C.K.’s standup comedy. Extremely offensive and definitely not for kids, Louis C.K. is nevertheless one of the funniest comedians I’ve ever seen. This video – the whole thing, but especially the part starting at minute 7 – made me laugh so hard I cried.
8. Play music. Everybody’s got a happy song. Personally, I’m partial to “Augie’s Great Municipal Band,” by John Williams. Whatever you like, bust that shiznit out.
9. Leave a note for someone you love. People don’t expect to get notes. As long as you don’t write “TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE,” you’re practically guaranteed a smile.
What ideas do you have?