Feeling Mopey? 5 Ways to Get Happy in Winter

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by Lexi Petronis

The gray clouds, the gray slush, the overall grayness that seems to be just everywhere...it is so easy to pick up a case of the winter blahs. And without a vacation to somewhere sunny looming on the horizon, it's hard to know how to break out of all the gray.

But even little things can help inject your wintry days with a big dose of Happy. Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., the author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Smalls Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy, came up with these simple tricks to finding some happiness-even when the winter grays have you feeling down.

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1. "Play!
This is the number one answer on the board. Find a way to play every day, whether you are being playful with your partner or your kids. Being just a little silly each day will wipe the doldrums away.

2. "Explore.
During the winter, people stay indoors, which just tends to feed the malaise. Break things up by exploring your town or neighborhood in a new way. Pretend you are a tourist and go to an attraction nearby that you may not have visited before."

3. "Share.
I believe that sharing is the secret to joy. Everyone has something to share. Whether you like to take pictures, paint, or bake cookies, you can make it and share it. It will bring you and the person who gets your gift great joy."

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4. "Create your own holiday.
If it's a 'down in the dumps' kind of day, why not make it into a holiday? You can make up your own (when is your half birthday?) or find an obscure reason to celebrate a blah day."

5. "Don't fill-fulfill.
One of the biggest challenges to getting happy in the middle of winter is the sense that you are just 'filling' time until the spring or summer comes around. Instead of just filling time, do something fulfilling. Spend time with a friend or relative who could use your company. It will cheer both of you up."

Do you have anything you'd add to the list? How do you de-mope when you're feeling down?

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