A Safe Place for Cutters Blog

9 Things You Can Do to Be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes

I came across these bits of wisdom by Gretchen Rubin who blogs about happiness, among other topics, for Real Simple’s Simply Stated. Her book, The Happiness Project (Harper Collins) is due out in 2009.

Being happier doesn’t have to be a long-term ambition. You can start right now. In the next 30 minutes, tackle as many of the following suggestions as possible. Not only will these tasks themselves increase your happiness, but the mere fact that you’ve achieved some concrete goals will boost your mood.

1. Raise your activity level to pump up your energy. If you’re on the phone, stand up and pace. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put more energy into your voice. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. Even better…

2. Take a walk outside. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

3. Reach out. Send an e-mail to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or reach out to someone new. Having close bonds with other people is one of the most important keys to happiness. When you act in a friendly way, not only will others feel more friendly toward you, but you’ll also strengthen your feelings of friendliness for other people.

4. Rid yourself of a nagging task. Deal with that insurance problem, purchase something you need, or make that long-postponed appointment with the dentist. Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a big rush of elation.

5. Create a more serene environment. Outer order contributes to inner peace, so spend some time cleaning off your desk and tackling the piles in the kitchen. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizable dent. Set the timer for 10 minutes and see what you can do.

6. Do a good deed. Introduce two people by e-mail, take a minute to pass along useful information, or deliver some gratifying praise. In fact, you can also…

7. Save someone’s life. Sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family about your decision. “Do good, feel good” — it really works!

8. Act happy. Fake it ’til you feel it. Research shows that even an artificially induced smile boosts your mood. And if you’re smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.

9. Learn something new. Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about and spend 15 minutes on the Internet reading about it, or go to a bookstore and buy a book about it. But be honest! Pick a topic that really interests you, not something you think you “should” or “need” to learn about.

Some people worry that wanting to be happier is a selfish goal, but in fact, research shows that happier people are more sociable, likable, healthy, and productive — and they’re more inclined to help other people. By working to boost your own happiness, you’re making other people happier, too.

To A Life Worth Living,

Foresteen Forbes, Psy. D.


Feeling Like a Victim the Second Mortal Mistake
March 24, 2009, 21:04
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I spoke about negative thinking in my last blog.


Negative thinking has a number of offspring one of which is feeling like a victim. That is people with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don’t expect a lot and they don’t get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn’t anything they can do to make it better.


I am reminded of one of my former individuals (state hospital term for patient) T. C. who was discharged recently. Last summer she was in my walking group and I would highly suggest (ok, I admit that I took on the tone of a drill sergeant left over from my days as a navy nurse) that they walk around the park at least twice which would be equivalent to a mile. Miss T. C. would whine and moan, complaining bitterly. “Dr. Forbes, I can’t walk that far. I have a lot of medical problems and you can’t expect everyone to be the same. You’re cruel Dr. Forbes.” Once she realized that the cigarette break didn’t start until everyone had been around twice, T. C. managed to muster up enough energy to drag behind the rest of the group.


She was on a stroll with me and some others a few weeks ago and I was amazed at the difference. She was full of vigor and leading the pack. It is amazing the energy that comes from empowerment. More on that later.


To a life worth living,


Foresteen Forbes, Psy. D.