25 February 2010

21 [Out of 50] Steps to Simple Happiness

The other day, Jo posted a snippet about The New York Times article 50 Steps to Simple Happiness. More than half were about places to go in New York, and the gist of those was: Treat yourself to indulging experiences of the body & soul. I picked out my favorites to share, & perhaps starting on Monday I'll provide some of my own.

2. “Make your bed. Go figure, but outer order contributes to inner calm. Especially if you’re living in a small space—but even if you’re living in a gigantic loft. Start each day with a concrete, albeit tiny (and therefore manageable!), accomplishment.” —Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project
4. “Leave your mouth in that slightly upturned position it takes after saying ‘Cheez Whiz.’ It’s a relaxed, confident look that will convince other people you know what you’re doing.” —Debra Benton, Executive Coach
6.Try what I call the poor man’s massage. Roll out all the muscles from your hips to your knees with a foam roller—use the black ones with the harder foam—for two minutes on each leg or until it doesn’t hurt anymore. It opens up your IT bands, glutes, and hip flexors and relieves the tension that’s pulling your pelvis and lower back out of alignment.” —Ari Weller, Personal Trainer, Fitness Results
8. “Never show up for drinks on an empty stomach, or for that matter let yourself get so hungry you’ll eat street meat.” —Kristin Mcgee, Pilates and Yoga Instructor
10. Offer to help a stroller person up the stairs.
12. If you see a parking cop working his or her way up the street, put a quarter into someone’s expired meter. [I might note that this is illegal in some cities, so don't get caught!]
13. “Just say yes every time your partner wants to have sex. It’s only twenty minutes out of your day, and it makes you both feel better. If you’re not in a relationship, say yes to your own private date night at least three times a week.” —Claire Cavanah, Co-Founder, Babeland
15. Tone your midsection in transit. “When standing on the subway, knit your front ribs together and zip up an imaginary zipper as if you had on a very tight pair of jeans. Or when you’re in a cab, tighten an imaginary seat belt from hip bone to hip bone. You’ll end up with a strong midsection, toned abdominals, and a strong back and spine.” —Kristin Mcgee, Pilates and Yoga Instructor
16. “Eat one ounce of dark chocolate a day. It’s the new superfood.” —Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, Integrative Medicine and Nutrition
18. “Don’t be afraid to change up your style. Your hair is your best accessory. Besides, what are you afraid of? It will always grow back. And invest in a Mason Pearson brush, with a mixture of boar bristle and nylon tufts. It’s worth every penny.” —Sally Hershberger, Hairstylist
19. “Give the people pushing in the subway or rushing in the streets the benefit of the doubt by imagining that it is really important for them to get where they are going.” —Rabbi Irwin Kula, President, National Jewish Center for Learning And Leadership
23. “When you’re in an elevator, put down the BlackBerry and engage in small talk. There is simply no social-networking site that can replace that connection.” —Faye Rogaski, Professor of Communications, NYU
26. Work out while you work. “At your desk, take five minutes to do back exercises—scapula retractions. Put your arms straight out in front of you and pull your shoulder blades together to get blood flowing and reduce tightness. Do shoulder rolls back and forth to increase circulation.” —Robert Morea, Personal Trainer, Great Jones Studio
27. “Move your body for 45 minutes three times a week. Doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you’re doing. Just keep moving.” —Julie Rice, Co-Owner, Soulcycle Spinning Gym
32. “Carry yourself more erect. Poor posture is a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom. You can improve your outlook and confidence simply by improving your posture.” —Eva Pelegrin, Founder, Attune Holistic Fitness
33.“Start an old-fashioned correspondence with a friend. Handwriting a letter forces you to express yourself in a totally different way.” —Jonathan Arnold,General Manager, Dempsey & Carroll Stationery Engravers
34. “Diversify your cognitive portfolio: Museum Mondays, Tennis Tuesdays, Writing Wednesdays, Tango Thursdays, Learn-to-Frittata Fridays, Socializing Saturdays, Socrates Sundays. We need to rotate activities weekly to fire up different brain regions.” —Dr. Gayatri Devi, Neurology and Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine
44. “Think like a shark, act like a 5-year-old. Our bodies are meant to be in motion. Don’t stay in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time.” —Dr. Jeffrey Gross, Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU School Of Medicine
45. Find a spare seat on the mostly tourist-freeleft side of the Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library[or any library, for that matter], and read—not from a mobile electronic device or a newspaper or even a magazine. Read an actual book.
48. “Surround yourself with things that smell like green apple or cucumber, two scents that have been proved to reduce anxiety and boost mood. Candles, shampoo, lotion—anything.” —Dr. Alan Hirsch, Neurological Director, The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation
49. “Pause. Allow your neck to relax, your nose to slowly lower, and the crown of your head to rise. Release your whole spine into length. Notice extra tension and release it. Breathe fully and slowly; smile. Begin your morning with this, end with it, use it as many times during the day as possible.” —Mark Josefsberg, Alexander Technique Teacher


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