A brisk walk around the block. A single square of dark chocolate. A Sandra Bullock rom-com. These are the usual suggestions that come up in stories about surefire mood-boosters. I don't know about you, but when I'm in the sourest, blackest of moods, I don't exactly want to power-walk my troubles away or limit myself to a nibble of sugar. (And don't even get me started on The Proposal.) I'm betting that you, like me, derive the most instant pleasure from little, unexpected things-like self-serve toppings at the fro-yo shop near your work, or a 4 p.m. Google Images search of your favorite celebrity eye candy. When life's really got you down, these mood-elevating recommendations are what the doctor should order.
1. Go nuts on frozen-yogurt toppings.
Much love to the genius who came up with self-service frozen yogurt for getting me through many a tough time. Fun and deliciousness abound when you create your own fro-yo masterpiece. It's like being a kid in the candy store, except now you're an adult, and there's no one to tell you to take it easy on the Oreo cookie crumbles. Are you kidding? It's frozen yogurt-fat-free means guilt-free, y'all! (Well, not exactly, but it's better than diving into a vat of Häagen-Dazs.) Throw an extra scoop of M&M's on top, and love every minute of it.
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2. Make a Google Images search date with Clive Owen.
Few things perk you up faster than a good ol' Google Images search of a hottie like Clive Owen. If he's not your cup o' English tea, try Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm-whoever! Even Wolf Blitzer generates results, so clearly, there's someone out there for everyone. Don't forget about the related searches listed at the top of the window: "Clive Owen shirtless," "young Clive Owen" … Oh, Google, you know how to make me click.
3. Read the comments on DailyPuppy.com.
The Daily Puppy is a website that features pictures of the cutest puppies around. That alone is reason to check it out, but if an adorable Australian shepherd named Rowdy can't warm the cockles of your icy heart, try reading the comments for each featured pup. People lose it over these dogs! Here's but a few responses to Rowdy: "He looks so soft and cuddly I would like to give him a big kiss!!!!!!" "Rowdy, you are very handsome, your eyes are mesmerizing and your coat is beautiful~~You've got it all!!" "This is the face that could melt anyone!!!!!!!" If ever you doubt that humans have lost all heart (i.e., you've been reading one too many YouTube comments), the Daily Puppy will restore your faith.
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4. Watch The Birdcage.
The Birdcage, a movie in which a gay couple has to "play it straight" (and non-Jewish) to impress their son's überconservative future in-laws, definitely deserves a spot on your Netflix queue. Nathan Lane steals the show as a melodramatic drag queen who lives for her "pirin" tablets (aspirin with the A and the S scraped off). Gene Hackman is equally hilarious as a candy-addicted politician in the middle of a big scandal. ("He died in bed? Whose bed? A prostitute? A minor? And black? I don't believe this! I don't f--- ing believe this!") It's a wonderfully absurd way to spend a couple of hours. Really, any movie that makes you laugh and takes your mind off of your troubles works, too. I just love any opportunity to talk about The Birdcage.
Get down and get funky.
It's true that exercise raises endorphins and makes you happier, but who wants to pound it out on a treadmill to crack a smile? Might I suggest a well-timed boogie instead? The next time you're washing dishes, folding laundry, cooking, or doing some other task, try wiggling your hips a bit. Shake your shoulders and groove to the music, whether it's playing on the stereo or in your head. (If it's the latter, maybe wait until you're alone.) Sure, you'll feel silly because it is silly, but it also feels pretty great. How do I know? I'm dancing in my chair as I type this.
By, Vicki Santillano
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