Posted by: Shanie Matthews | January 4, 2010

10 Exercising Happiness Tools for 2010

A great aspect to a new year is that we can look back on the past 12 months and learn from them. What felt right? What didn’t? What challenges could have been faced better? What lessons can be learned and brought forward with us?

Exercising happiness, in my opinion, is a combination of activating an endless amount of tools that help us consciously bring to life our internal joy. 2009 brought many new approaches into light for me, as well as bringing others more into focus.

Here are my top 10 “Exercising Happiness” tools from 2009:

1. If you find yourself in a not-so-stellar mood, smile! Just the act of smiling (even if it is to yourself) is known to change our mood. If it seems there isn’t anything to smile about, smile anyway…and keep smiling. Eventually, the feelings associated with smiling will melt into the subconscious, helping dark moments feel lighter.

2. Think happy thoughts…the mind can only think one thought at a time…make it joyful.

3. Throughout the day tell yourself you love you. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it to yourself while you are rushing to keep up with life. Say it to yourself while playing. Say it to yourself while working. The more you say it, the more you feel it, and the more it will bring happiness into your heart. If meditation or yoga is a part of your life, but at times you have a hard time letting go of all of the outside influences and thoughts, this is another time where simply saying “I love myself” can quiet the internal chatter and help bring a sense of calmness to your day.

4. Take the time to give to others. Making it a routine to act in a simple kind way towards another can be a huge factor in the happiness category. If life is busy and volunteering doesn’t fit in your schedule, small things like opening a door for someone, helping an elderly person, offering up the last parking spot to another, etc. can be just as wonderful.

5. Make it a priority to go outside and enjoy nature. Even if it is only for a few minutes and at the last part of your day, taking the time to appreciate the natural wonders in our environment is beneficial to body, mind and soul. It connects us with a grounding source that has an unlimited amount of love and support for us, if we allow it.

6. Make a commitment to giving yourself a small gift everyday. For me, I made a commitment to a daily practice of yoga. With today’s technology it is incredibly easy to stay consistent with doing classes, no matter what my day is like. I just fit it in where it works for the moment. And it never ceases to amaze me, I always feel much better after giving myself that little gift each day.

7. Practicing affirmations. This is also a tool I use daily and it always helps me feel more grounded and connected. Through my affirmations I find security and faith that I am achieving my highest potential, and in doing so am capable of helping bring out the best in others.

8. Stay conscious that other’s actions and statements are  not a reflection of me. Knowing that as long as I am coming from a place of love and goodness has greatly helped me to not get tangled up in the seemingly  “ridiculous” actions of others.

9. Trust that all, both good and bad, is happening for a reason. The reasoning may not be apparent to us, especially if we are in the moment of losing a loved one, dealing with intense challenges or feeling as if life is throwing a few curve balls. My life has given me many examples of this being the case. Each time that I feel in doubt I think back to these moments in time, and it helps me realize that I truly am a part of something much larger than myself.

10. Make time to play. I allowed the beginning of 2009 to become engulfed with work. Both my husband and I were starting to lose focus of the importance of play time in our schedules. Thankfully for our 14-almost-15 year old dog, Bergen, he helped us bring back into focus the vitality of giving our own “little kids” some play time by “pimping” us for a good walk every day. The importance of daily play is so important for the conscious act of being happy. It truly does make the soul smile.

So, as the first few days of 2010 slide quickly by, I remind myself to take these tools and the others I have learned along my journey of life and to combine them with the ones that I will learn as my happy path continues on.

I look forward to the lessons.



  1. […] Activation of one’s happiness takes time and effort. There are many different tools to help. And there are many ways to practice by deliberately exercising the […]

  2. Dear Shanie,
    Your smile and laugh are contagious. We look forward to catching your laugh on Global Belly Laugh Day January 24. The celebration of the great gift of laughter is playful, easy and fun. On January 24 at 1:24 p.m. (your local time) smile, throw your arms in the air and laugh out loud. Join the Belly Laugh Bounce Round the World.
    I look forward to reading more about your journeys.

    • Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for the comment. I will definitely spread the word for the next Global Belly Laugh Day. What a great idea!


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