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I’m about to post a couple of blogs that are rather on the more heavy side of things. Some might call them dark. Depressing, even. I’m hopeful that some might also find them comforting and challenging. Dare I even hope they might be inspirational. (They’re about suffering, the meaning of life, all that… stuff.)

Since this blog is about to get fairly weighty, I thought I’d throw in a more uplifting post! I was having lunch with a friend a few days ago and we were talking about positivity and personal responsibility for happiness. He said that he has a go-to list of the things that make him happy to reference when he’s feeling blue. First thing on his list? Starbucks chai lattes. It’s the simple things, isn’t it?

I left lunch motivated to write my own list of things that perk me up when I’m down. I’ve shortened it to leave out the abstract ones that are obvious to me, like family, friends, gratitude, love, and all that goodness. Not that I take them for granted; these bring me oodles of happiness daily, and I’m very grateful for them. What’s left on this list are the little concrete things that I can do, all by myself if I like, that are bound to make me smile when I catch myself in a rut. Here it is, in no particular order, for your inspiration and entertainment!

10 Things That Make Me Happy:

susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts-11. Ted Talks. Doses of intellectual stimulation and wonder, most of them fifteen minutes or less. Try watching one without feeling inspired afterward. Free!

The Japanese Garden2. The Huntington Library. It’s near-impossible for me to be in a bad mood in this luscious garden, though its name gives the impression that it’s just library. (It’s so much more than that.) $15 admission.

tumblr_li0nqiGrn51qcmn28o1_4003. Stuffed crust pizza. Gooey, salty chewiness costs only $6 fromDiGiorno. If I really feel like splurging, Pizza Hut has ‘em at $13!

duraflame-log4. Duraflame logs. I throw one of these babies into my fireplace and then sit back to let the flames mesmerize my mind into tranquility. About $5 per log.

IMG_18345. Butters. A serious cuddle session with this lil guy can make all my problems temporarily dissolve with the vibration of his purr. Ok, so this one’s abstract, but I had to add it! Free!

6. The Silver Bullet. What could relieve stress more than an effortless orgasm? Less than $2 on Amazon!

imgres7. Downton Abbey. When I feel like treating myself to sheer entertainment, I marathon binge on this 20th century drama that intertwines issues that still matter today, like prostitution, homosexuality, sexism, and romance. Free at PBS.com.

url-58. LAFCO candles. God, what fragrances! My favorite is Country House, a blend of ivy and sweet grass. There’s something to be said for aromatherapy. $60 per candle, but it lasts for months.

9. Quizzes. Friends know I’m something of a quiz junkie, and similarminds.com is my favorite website. I love delving into my psyche, and it’s especially fun for me to give tests to other people. I could literally spend hours giving tests and dissecting what the scores mean! Best of all, there’s no registration required at this website and it’s totally free.

url-410. Cards. Creative stationary delights me, and I love calligraphy. Composing hand-written letters to friends, lovers, and family, especially for no reason other than to let them know how much they are appreciated, makes me feel so good. About $4 per card, if purchased. Handmade for free is even more awesome!

There’s my pick-me-ups! I’d very much love to hear yours. What are your go-to’s on a bummer day?