The University of Arizona

Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

It is normal, healthy and productive to experience a variable range of moods and emotions, both positive and negative. Instead of trying to achieve constant happiness, cultivate contentment, comfort, serenity, and resilience.

Spontaneous Happiness Tips

Socialize

Humans are social animals. Join social and activity groups, and find communities with similar interests to yours.

Breathe

Practice putting your attention on your breath when you find you are stuck on troubling thoughts, making your breathing deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular.

Laugh

Laughter can increase immune response, lower blood sugar level and improve relaxation and sleep. And, laughing is simply one of life's greatest pleasures.

Exercise

Exercise can be as simple as doing house and yard work. Gym time and classes are beneficial, but walking outdoors with friends provides physical activity, a connection to nature, and social interaction.

Sleep

Mood disorders are strongly linked to abnormal patterns of dreaming, and healthy sleep is vital. Common problems with sleep can often be remedied without the use of medication.

Meditate

Meditation can be as simple as sitting still while keeping your attention on your breath. Do it even for ten minutes a day, every day, and you will begin the process of restructuring your mind.

Visualize

Practice shifting attention from negative thoughts to mental images that evoke positive feelings. Select an image that makes you happy and focus on it frequently.

Empathize

Perform acts of altruism in your daily activities. Kindness, generosity and service are learnable skills that allow you to identify with others on a deep level, lessening isolation and loneliness.

Forgive

It calms the mind and spirit and neutralizes resentment. Resentment fuels one of the most toxic forms of depressive rumination. Running thought loops over and over about past hurts is a major driver of depressive states.

Go green

Be aware that you are part of nature, connected through it to something much larger than yourself. Prudent, daily sunlight exposure has also been proven to elevate mood.

Edit

Info spread via television, computers, and mobile phones is drowning us, and a great deal of it is irrelevant or suspect. Place firm limits on how much of it you let into your life, and take care with your choices of media.

Mute

Making an effort to experience silence regularly, even if briefly, supports our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and brings full conscious awareness to the present moment.


Courtesy of Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil, MD, and SpontaneousHappiness.com. For additional tips on the 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath, Healthy Sleep and more visit www.azcim.org/resources.