10 Ways to Increase Your Happiness


10 Ways to Increase Your Happiness

happiness, find your happiness, tips for happy people, tired, new mom, music, friends, laughter, puppies, inner kid, emotions

Generally, I'm a pretty happy person. I have a positive outlook. I smile a lot. In fact, I don't even know how to not smile in photos. I'd be a terrible model. I could never pull off the moody/indifferent look. See? I look like I'm having a stroke when I try to do the pouty thing. 

tips to increase happiness

Anyway, lately - I haven't 100% felt like my happy normal self because I've been in what I call the "danger zone" due to lack of sleep. When I get this tired  I start to see the world differently. I get irritable. Defensive. I jump to negativity more quickly. I cry more often, and I really lack patience...with everyone. It's not a fun place to be. 

I almost don't notice it at first,  but after three and a half years of dipping in and out of this danger zone, I can now see when it starts to happen - and catch it more quickly before it becomes all-consuming. A while ago, I devised this plan and it has helped a lot. I've recently put this plan back into effect. 

I've also been doing a fair bit of reading lately about goal-setting and the power of positive-thinking. I've been surrounding myself with some pretty inspiring and awesome people - and I've been thinking a lot about what things I need in my life to feel my happiest. 

Here's my list:


Sometimes I forget just how much  I love music. Listening to good music can instantly lift my mood. It's incredible. Sometimes it's low-key acoustic folk music, other time's it's poppy Taylor Swift (don't judge me). And the very odd time, I find myself nodding along to a country song. Is this what happens after you have babies? Your shoe size changes and your tastes in music? Regardless: music is good. Listen to it. 


No, not at the same time. I'm not that good at multi-tasking (or that flexible). But exercise and sex do the same thing for you: they release endoprhins and seratonin, and that makes you happy so...it's a win/win. Right? Rock hard abs, rock hard....


Whenever I'm feeling crappy, my go-to food is chocolate. Sometimes, this is needed. Sometimes Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut is the ONLY cure. Other times (most times) it's not. If I have too much crappy food - it makes me feel...crappier. It's amazing how energized I feel mentally and physically after a big bowl of kale-slaw or a fresh fruit and veggie smoothie. It's like when you go to the gym ONCE and all of the sudden you think, "Hey, I look sexy! I think I can already see a tricep muscle busting through..." 


I'm a very social person, so it doesn't usually take a lot of convincing to get me to go out and do something fun. Even when I'm feeling tired or shitty. I'm also lucky that I have so many friends who are so damn funny! So if your friends aren't funny you can A) Find some who are B) Borrow mine C) Go to your nearest comedy club, sit back, and laugh your ass off. You'll feel better when you leave, I promise. 


I've made a conscious effort to weed out the negative people in my life. We all have them, don't we? You know, that friend who always bitches about everything? The one who can somehow find a rainbow offensive? Yeah. Well, that friend of yours is weighing you down like a pair of cinder blocks chained around your ankles as you're about to be pushed off of a bridge for "knowing too much..." Hmm. That analogy started off in the right place, and then got all Soprano-y. But you know where I'm going. Ditch the downer friend before they take you down with them. 


It's easy to feel like a victim all the time - especially when you're already feeling down. But try to be accountable for your own actions and stop blaming others. Even if others are to blame - it doesn't do anything for your mental state to focus on that. 


For me, being outdoors on a lake is my #1 relaxation destination. Water brings me a tremendous amount of happiness and calms me down. Find your happy place, and go there. 


As much as I jokingly tell my husband that I'm perfect, I know I'm not (but shhh, don't tell him). When I'm tired though and feeling crappy, I feel so far from perfect and I often beat myself up. I notice all the things I could be doing better, and that just makes me feel worse. My mom and my husband are always reminding me to cut myself some slack. So I try to. 


Sometimes when things get too busy/overwhelming, I find the best thing to do is just pause and try to focus on whatever is happening in the moment (usually something simple and sweet involving my kids). It helps me gain perspective and just breathe. 


This is a pretty easy one for me - but it helps so much! Get down on your hands and knees and bark like a dog. That's right. Do it. Chase your kids and scream in silly voices. Dress-up in costumes. Play freeze-tag. They'll love it. You'll love it. Win-win.

So - what do you think? Is there anything else you'd add to this list? 

Oh - wait! I have one! Bury yourself in a pile of puppies. I'm pretty sure NO ONE could feel shitty after having their face licked ten thousand times by a dozen soft furry puppies! (Unless that person had severe allergies or a terrible fear of dogs...) Hmm. 

 RELATED: Does Happiness Improve Health? 




I've Been Peter Pan With My Kids Lately & it's Awesome


I've Been Peter Pan With My Kids Lately & it's Awesome

summer, fun, kids, love, toddlers, busy life, parenthood, peter pan, peter panning it, jen warman, cole, maeve, kid fun

Maybe it's because Maeve isn't such a baby anymore, and she might  be our last (she'll most likely be our last). Or maybe it's because it's summer - and all I want to do is play, play, play (and not work, work, work).  But I've totally been Peter Panning it lately, and it's awesome.

There are picnics to be had, and beds to be jumped upon.  I told the laundry to "suck it" and the garden to go weed itself.

My kids are at such a sweet age (three and one), and there have been so many amazing moments lately that have melted my heart into an ooey-gooey puddle of love-filled mush. 

Like the time Cole said this; "I want Maeve to sleep beside me. So when she wakes in the night, she'll know I'm there, and she won't be scared. I love Maeve so much." 

Or the time we were walking back from the park and Maeve reached over to Cole and said "hand." Then they walked home like this:

Heart. Melting.

And while I'm continuing this journey on the mush-train, I'll be honest with you: there is nothing I love more than being snuggle-ambushed by my kids. I love when my zombie babies eat my face:

Heart. Melting. Even. More. I love these two so very much.

I'm pretty sure there is such a thing as overdosing on love. Little pink hearts and rainbows just ooze out of your orfices and you turn into a Care Bear or something.

So as much as I'm exhausted beyond belief (because I am). And as much as I'm looking forward to weekends away with just my husband (because I am). I'm also really enjoying these little moments, while my kids are just that: little.

School years and teenage years: you can stay away a little longer, alright? I'll make time for sex-talks, and drug-talks, and don't-post-naked-pics-online-talks (!!!) later. 

Right now, I'm going to go build a blanket fort and eat cereal for dinner.

 RELATED: I Like Spending Time With My Kids Except When They Use This Word