Top 8 Tricks for Accessing “Happy” Now

The time to be happy is now,” my yoga instructor said yesterday. Sounds simple, but happiness is elusive and can’t be ordered on demand like a movie. Or can it? 

Scientists have been unlocking the mysteries of happiness. Turns out, happiness is best achieved when we are in the present moment and not letting our minds wander. Mind-wandering invites the stress and worries of the past and future to invade – party-crashers!

Unfortuantely, “Mind-wandering isn’t just frequent, it’s ubiquitous – it pervades everything that we do,” explains Matt Killingsworth in his TED Talk (below). So how do we stay present and happy?

REM Runner’s top 8 tricks for staying in the happy bubble of “NOW”:

  1. Smiling – “Smiling stimulates our brain reward mechanism in a way that even chocolate – a well-regarded pleasure inducer – cannot match. One smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate,” says Ron Gutman in his TED Talk (below).
  2. Interacting with children & animals – cuteness!
  3. Good smells – candles, coffee, fresh-cut grass, etc.
  4. Music – especially live music. Check out “Now” by Matt & Kim.
  5. Creating somethingart journaling, painting, writing, baking. 
  6. Sipping tea – I love peppermint, chai or sleepytime tea. 
  7. Playing games – any game will do, kickball, Apples to Apples, tennis, rock-papper-scissors.
  8. Sunsets – pink is my favorite color. 
“Tomorrow is tomorrow.
Future cares have future cures,
And we must mind today.”



  1. Alex Withrow on June 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Love this. Smiling is seriously underrated. I truly think the act of smiling just makes you feel better.

    Great tricks!

    • julie on June 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      I agree. 🙂

  2. Laura on June 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Love it! Have you read any of the books by Sonja Lyubomirsky? She’s a research psychologist who studies happiness, and has two books on her findings geared toward the general public. They’re both on my “to read” list!

    • julie on June 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Oh, I will have to check Sonja Lyubomirsky’s books out! Sounds fabulous. Thank you for your comment, Laura!

  3. Peter Mansbach on June 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I always hoped there might be an advantage for those of us who can’t multitask: I guess it’s easier to live in the moment!

    But I have to disagree that a smile brings more pleasure than 2,000 bars of chocolate (of course that’s assuming you don’t try to eat all 2,000 bars at one sitting). Come to think of it, I think I’ll have to do the research and put this to the test…. 🙂

    • julie on June 29, 2013 at 12:28 am

      Lol – let me know how this experiment goes! 🙂

  4. Arnold Gendelman on June 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Excellent subject. Accessing the above link find The Humour Project” that can be downloaded for a reasonable price. The affect of it on ones attitude is a miraculous smile appearing in your life all of a sudden, unrehearsed , unexpected and sticks. Humour makes you smile.
    I can verify the utility of this program and others like it found on this site.
    I have used them for many years to my complete advantage overriding the many angles a that the narcoleptic cloud hangs over our heads following us everywhere, and when we did not know why. Relax, listen and your automatic brain rewires itself to follow new patterns of functions that well, smile, talk and see things differently, with Humour.

    • julie on June 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you, Arnold! This is a fabulous suggestion! I can’t wait to check out the Humour Project CD. Thanks again for reading and commenting. Sending wakefulness and smiles your way, Julie

  5. Nocturne on July 10, 2013 at 7:03 am


    I’d like to add something to this list that I’ve been experimenting with:
    posture. Although it is sometimes very hard to remain upright when tired,
    investing good hip posture, an active ‘core’ and a good head/neck-posture
    seems to help me a lot. (think: fake it, till you make it, again…)

    The tendency to slouch when tired only stimulates the brain more into
    thinking negative and ruminating too much.

    Just a tip!

    • julie on July 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      What a great tip! Thank you so much for adding this awesome idea. I’ve been paying more attention to my posture since reading your comment. Thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog, Julie

Leave a Comment