15 Ways to Brighten Your Day

• Smile at a stranger and notice how the smile stays with you for a while.

• Take a walk and really notice the colors and scents outside. Look up and notice cloud patterns, curves of trees, all the shades of green around you.

• Get back in bed in the morning and read or stretch. Revel in the luxury!

• Rehearse positive memories (More on this below)

• Practice positive self-talk or affirmations (More on this below)

• Get a manicure or pedicure.

• Take a bubble bath with extra bubbles.

• Put on a favorite piece of upbeat music and sing and/or dance along.

• Buy yourself a flower (maybe put it in your hair?) – or a bouquet. Brighten up your room while you’re at it.

• Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing.

• Learn about something you’re curious about.

• Acknowledge good things that happened today and really let yourself enjoy that they happened.

• Savor (and I mean really savor) a piece of fruit or any favorite food.

• Think of 5 positive things about you that don’t have to do with other people. This is harder than you think. Yes, I’m caring, present, articulate, and generous, but these all have to do with other people.

• Treat yourself with the same kindness and gentleness that you would a dear friend. You can even wrap yourself in a loving, accepting hug!

Noticing the Positive:

Rick Hanson (www.rickhanson.net), author of “Hardwiring Happiness” and several other works about positive neuroplasticity, says that we are hardwired to notice danger and stressors, and we should train ourselves to notice the positive so that it becomes habit. He recommends that, whenever something positive happens (or you remember something positive), you take 5-12 extra seconds to experience it, enjoy it, and integrate it. This is one part of training yourself to notice the positive in your everyday life.

Rehearsing Positive Memories:

My friend Mary taught me about rehearsing positive memories. I know I do a lot of replaying and rehearsing of things that have happened in my life or that I anticipate happening. What Mary suggests is to remember positive moments over and over again and to really enjoy them and revel in them. I think many of us have a tendency to dwell on the moments that went wrong. What if we focus instead on all the lovely moments? I’ll bet my aunt Jacki does this naturally!


Phil Laut, author of “Money is My Friend” recommends that you say affirmations in first, second, and third person. So, for example: “I make valuable contributions in the world,” (first person) “Lara, you make valuable contributions in the world,” (second person) and “Lara makes valuable contributions in the world” (third person). The idea behind this is that affirmations can counteract negative messages we have accumulated throughout our lives, and it’s best to cover all your bases in terms of how these negative messages were received and stored.



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