One of the books that I like to read over and over again is actually a conversation between two psychoanalysts that took place in 1971. Although it has a cheesy title (How to Be Your Own Best Friend), the lesson taught in the book is life changing. Authors Mildred Newman and Bernard Berkowitz, Ph.D., believe that happiness is an art and that humans have to choose to learn how to be happy, much in the same way one would decide to learn how to speak Spanish. “Too many people think there is something that will make them happy if they can just get hold of it. They expect happiness to happen to them. They don’t see it’s something they have to do,” Newman and Berkowitz explain.
The whole book dives deep into the subject of the pursuit of happiness, and it helps the reader realize that happiness is a choice. While I can’t say that I’m happy 100% of the time, I make a conscious effort to wake up in the morning and decide to be happy. Instead of focusing on the things that I’m lacking—a boyfriend, 401k, and artwork—I’m choosing to be grateful for the things I have. There’s a roof over my head, a job that I look forward to, and sparkling rosé in my fridge. Those are three of my reasons to be happy right now, but I can think of countless more. Want to join me in being happy today? Here are 28 reasons to be happy right now, no matter what’s going on in your life.
1. You’re alive and hopefully healthy. That’s something to smile about!
2. If you’re reading this, you can see, which means you have two healthy eyes. After recently having an ulcer on my right eye, which caused it to be swollen shut, I assure you, two seeing eyes is something to be happy about.
3. You are loved. Your grandma, your dog, your best friend. Everyone has someone who loves them.
4. Happiness is beneficial to your health. Being happy lowers your heart rate, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and the concentrations of plasma associated with heart disease.
5. You’re less likely to get sick. According to Happify, “When exposed to the viruses that cause colds and flu, people with a more positive outlook not only get sick less often but recover faster.”
6. You’ll live longer. Happy people, who accept aging, generally live seven and half years longer than those who think negatively about getting older
7. It’s contagious. If you’re happy right now, the people around you will want to be happy too.
8. You’ll look younger. Children are generally pretty happy because they don’t have anything to worry about, right? Happiness gives people a youthful glow.
9. You’ll be more productive. Research shows that happy people are 11% more productive than unhappy people.
10. The more you focus on the good stuff, the more good stuff you find.
11. There is food in your fridge and a roof over your head.
12. You have running water that is safe to drink.
13. You live in a beautiful world. Look around today. You must come across something that you think is beautiful, be it the Pacific Ocean or a single daffodil growing among weeds in the dog park.
14. Speaking of the ocean, the sea is another reason to be happy. It’s majestic and so fun to swim in!
15. Grilled cheese sandwiches. If a perfectly toasted golden brown sandwich oozing with melted cheese doesn’t make you happy, you must not be human. Okay, you may be a vegan. If that’s the case, think of your favorite vegan comfort dish.
16. Milkshakes: A thick creamy milkshake piled high with whipped cream. How could you not be happy when you’re drinking a milkshake out of a straw? Okay, if you’re a vegan or lactose intolerant, substitute the words fresh coconut for milkshake.
17. Fridays. How many times have you signed off an email on a Friday with a cheerful “Happy Friday!”?
18. Music. You know that moment when you’re driving in the car and your new favorite song comes on the radio? You turn it up and sing along. In that instant, you feel happy.
19. You have a closet full of clothes.
20. Puppies. If you have not petted a puppy recently, stop what you are doing and go find one.
21. Flowers. Whether growing in a garden or sitting in a jug full of water at a Trader Joe’s, flowers are beautiful. See #13.
22. Sunsets. It’s easier to be happy when you are watching a sunset.
23. Great sex. Enough said.
24. Trampolines. Jumping on a giant trampoline is so fun. You can’t help but laugh. Try it. I dare you to jump on a trampoline and not be happy. It’s impossible.
25. More illnesses have cures today than ever before.
26. Vacations. If you can’t remember the last time you went someplace new, make plans today.
27. Today could be the best day of your life. You could meet the person of your dreams, get a promotion, or find a $20 bill in an old purse.
28. Everything can change in an instant. You never know when life is going to throw you a curveball, so enjoy it now and be happy in this moment.
To learn more about happiness, read one of the following books.
Next up: Being spontaneous can increase happiness and relieve stress—here's how to do it.
This story was originally published on February 22, 2016, and has since been updated.