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    100+ Affirmations For Women

    Words hold power, which is probably why positive self-affirmations are so effective. Introduced by the ancient Hindus and Buddhists and again in the 17th century by French philosopher Rene Descartes—who famously quoted “I think, therefore I am”—repeating positive statements to yourself is nothing new. In fact, science has shown that using affirmations in your daily life can shift your mindset, boost self-esteem, and change your perspective for the better. We’ve rounded up over 100 positive affirmations for women from all walks of life. Pick your favorite and repeat it to yourself daily, write down a few that resonate with you, or bookmark this page and turn to it as needed. Whatever you decide, these affirmations will help you feel empowered and stop negative self-talk once and for all.

    100+ Affirmations for Women
    Positive Affirmations
    Everyone has off days; it’s part of being human. However, these positive, daily affirmations will help you lead a happy life full of positive energy, and even the most trying times will be no match for you.

    I have a strong will and can do anything I put my mind to.
    I am full of confidence, and everyone around me can feel that.
    I am who I am, and I love myself for it.
    I believe in the woman I’m becoming.
    My inner strength is invincible.
    I have the ability to do great things.
    I have everything I need to succeed.
    I attract happiness into my life.
    I am powerful and fearless.
    I am a strong and confident woman.
    My life is beautiful, and I’m grateful for all that I have.
    There is nothing I can’t accomplish.
    I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.
    I am amazing and capable of far more than I realize.
    I believe in myself.
    I don’t have to be perfect all the time.
    Every day is a fresh start.
    I can make a difference.
    My thoughts and ideas matter because I matter.
    I add value to the world.
    I am beautiful, powerful, and talented.
    The world is filled with endless opportunities for me.
    My contributions are unique and meaningful.
    I am confident in my sexuality.
    I empower myself and all the women in the world.
    I commit to living a joyful and happy life.
    No one can dull my sparkle.
    I have what it takes to make my dreams come true.
    I am unstoppable.
    The universe has my back, always.
    I am open and ready to learn.
    I have the power to stand up for what I believe in.
    Every challenge is an opportunity to grow and improve.
    I acknowledge my self-worth.
    I am living my best life.

    Morning Affirmations
    Your mornings set the tone for the day. Make it a habit to repeat these to yourself first thing, and grant yourself the gift of an amazing day ahead.

    Today, I choose happiness.
    I create my reality.
    I am confident and capable.
    The world is my oyster.
    Today, I release all fear and doubt.
    I embrace my best self today.
    It’s OK to make mistakes.
    My mind is clear and focused.
    I have slept well, and I am ready to tackle the day.
    I am too determined to be defeated.
    My cup is overflowing with abundance.
    Everything I need comes to me easily and effortlessly.
    I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.
    I will accomplish my goals today.
    My goal is possible.
    I am on the path that is meant for me.
    I will be present in every moment.
    Everything is temporary.
    All I need is within me.
    I am the best source of my own motivation.
    I choose my attitude.
    I will be present in every moment.

    Affirmations for Health
    Health is wealth. But with crazy schedules and chaos, it’s easy to let taking care of your physical and mental health fall on the back burner—until now. With these positive affirmations for optimal health, you’ll feel stronger, more body positive, and shower yourself regularly with unconditional love.

    My body is a temple, and I treat it with love.
    I am perfect and complete exactly as I am.
    I love my body as it is.
    Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.
    I will look after myself.
    I am beautiful.
    There is no reason to compare myself to others.
    I am grateful for my body and all it has done for me.
    I am comfortable in my own skin.
    My body is capable of incredible things.
    I listen to my body and give it what it needs.
    I nourish my body with food and exercise.
    I take care of both my body and mind.
    I’m feeling better each day.
    I am happy and healthy.
    I eat a balanced diet.
    My body is powerful.
    My mind and body are in harmony.
    I have so much energy.
    I commit myself entirely to feeling good.
    My mind is strong and disciplined.
    I am attracting positive people and circumstances into my life.
    Being confident comes naturally to me.
    I love myself unconditionally.

    Affirmations for Healing
    In moments of doubt and questioning your self-worth, turn to these affirmations to ground yourself in the present and remind yourself that you have conquered everything you’ve ever faced.

    I am worthy of love.
    I am healing.
    Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.
    I am a whole person; I complete myself.
    When struggling, I grant myself grace and compassion.
    I made the right decision.
    Change is hard, but I can do this.
    I deserve to experience joy and laughter.
    Life is full of magic.
    It will get better.
    All is well.
    I trust my judgment.
    I choose joy over sorrow.
    I am in control of my own safety now.
    My intuition is a helpful guide.
    I will always do my best, and that is enough.
    I am surrounded by people who uplift and want the best for me.
    My home should be a haven of peace, warmth, and safety.
    There is nothing wrong with me. I am not broken in any way, shape, or form.
    My past does not define me.
    I am in control of my own story.
    I forgive myself.

    Affirmations for Dating
    These love affirmations will help you cultivate and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself, and if you want a partner, they’ll help attract the right one into your life.

    I am open to love, and I attract my ideal partner.
    Being in my own company is fulfilling and important.
    I love myself.
    I am not alone; I am surrounded by people who love me.
    The right person will come at the right time.
    I don’t chase; I attract what is meant for me.
    The most important relationship is the one I have with myself.
    I complete myself.
    I answer to no one but myself.
    Being single does not make me less than.
    My life is full of endless opportunities I am free to choose.
    I have freedom.
    I love my own company.
    Dabbling in new hobbies is right at my fingertips.
    Being in a relationship does not equal happiness.
    Being single is not the same as being alone.
    Every day, I will practice the art of self-love.
    I am 100% responsible for my own happiness.
    I don’t have to change myself for anyone else.

    Affirmations for When You’re Struggling
    Use these affirmations to embrace your power and remind yourself just how capable you are day in and day out.

    One day at a time.
    I am stronger than I know.
    My actions are the one thing I can control.
    I am on a good path.
    I wake up every day with courage.
    My life is a gift.
    I decide who I become.
    I am stronger than whatever life throws my way.
    I have the strength to keep going.
    I can and I will.
    Amazing things are coming my way.
    I like who I’m becoming.
    I am changing my life.
    Negative thoughts will not get me down.
    What I do today creates a better tomorrow.
    I can do this. I won’t give up.
    I have the courage to say “no.”
    Every day is a blessing.
    I can change my story.
    I am willing to work on myself.
    Everything will be OK.
    My bravery shines in everything I do.
    Life is tough, but I’m tougher.

    200+ Affirmations For Anxiety More

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    Psychologists Say We All Need to “Detox” Dopamine–Here’s What You Need to Know

    I knew there was something wrong when I couldn’t take a hot girl walk without a podcast, meal prep without a YouTube vlog, or spend a Friday night at home without a Netflix binge. Realizing you can’t go a few minutes without checking Instagram, email, or Slack is a sad reality check, but one I desperately needed. With the rise of iPhone addictions and constant connection comes a wellness trend that promises to counteract. Dopamine detoxes are gaining popularity for their promise to erase–or at least help–the damage that technology can do to our mental health. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of a dopamine detox: what it is, why it’s so appealing (and challenging), and how it could change your relationship with technology for the better.

    In this article

    What is a Dopamine Detox?
    Before we get into the detox, let’s talk about what you’re detoxing. Known as the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine plays a key role in our reward system and is released by the brain whenever we experience something pleasurable, causing us to pursue that feeling all the more. But our brains operate with greater complexity, and dopamine isn’t the only factor contributing to our mental and emotional well-being. Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatry professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, noted in an article for TIME that because of digital media’s addictive nature, we’re experiencing a near-constant stream of dopamine release. To compensate, Dr. Lembke cited that our brains “downregulate our own dopamine production and transmission, to bring it back to baseline,” creating a dopamine deficit that can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
    Enter: the dopamine detox or fast. Created by California psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sepah, the dopamine fast is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, a psycho-social intervention tool used to treat mental health conditions. According to Harvard Health, the goal of dopamine fasting is to allow yourself to lean into boredom and loneliness. Rather than looking for near-instantaneous solutions—and giving into the reward-inducing cues of modern stimuli (texts, emails, notifications, etc.)—we can experience a reset. In other words, we can regain a greater sense of control over our lives and are better equipped to address compulsive behaviors instead of living in a constant state of automatic response. Reaching for the things that provide us with a boost of dopamine is akin to living life on a hamster wheel, and taking an intentional reset to rethink unhealthy habits can boost productivity, creativity, focus, and (most importantly) happiness. 
    FYI, because the brain continuously produces dopamine, the term “detox” is misleading—we can never truly rid ourselves of the hormone. The goal is not to detoxify dopamine but to detoxify the external factors we’re subconsciously using for a dopamine boost. 

    How to Do a Dopamine Detox
    Each person’s approach to and experience doing a dopamine detox will look different (because “feeling good” looks different to all of us, and therefore the feel-good hormone will be different as well), but the goal is to make decisions from mindfulness, rather than impulse. think of it as a reset. Use the following steps to guide your detox:
    1. Identify the focus of your detox.
    In order to do a dopamine detox, you need to identify where the source of your compulsive behaviors is coming from. Depending on your needs, this can be anything from social media to video games to online shopping. Take time to reflect in your journal about what area of your life you’d like to address. For example, do you feel like you have to watch something on TV or on your phone whenever you’re eating? Do you check Instagram or TikTok every so often out of habit? 

    2. Structure your detox in a way that feels supportive, not restricting.
    The goal is to be aware of behaviors that are holding you back without being judgmental. TIME put it best: “If you keep your expectations in check, you may find that a digital detox is a useful tool for self-reflection.” In other words, the goal should be understanding your habits so that you can make positive changes in your life, rather than judging yourself for having them in the first place. Make a plan on what you want to practice and what boundaries you want to set with your technology. This can mean not engaging in one or multiple behaviors for a couple of days or limiting when and for how long you use them. Determine what feels right for you.

    3. Do the detox!
    Once you make a plan such as not using technology while eating or only checking your email twice a day, try introducing healthy habits in place of engaging in impulsive behaviors. For example, if you have a tendency to be on your phone during work breaks, try going for a walk instead. Or if your default is to watch hours of TV at the end of the day, pull out a book, or schedule a workout class. 

    My Experience 
    Because dopamine detoxes can target a range of behaviors, I chose to narrow down my approach to help focus my seven-day detox. Through journaling, I identified social media use, my phone in general, and email as compulsive behaviors I engaged in for that quick dopamine hit. These were my guidelines:
    I turned off all notifications on my phone and computer.
    I could only check email three times a day (morning, afternoon, and at the end of the work day) for a maximum of 30-45 minutes.
    My phone was turned off from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. I could only check texts and any social media three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening).
    For the sake of brevity, I won’t recount my (at times, harrowing) journal entries reflecting on the week-long experience. But I’ll share what I learned:

    It gets worse before it gets better.
    If you’ve done other kinds of detoxes before, you know this well. In many ways, when I reduced my consumption of my dopamine triggers, my craving became all the more pronounced in the first two days. But if you stick through it, you’ll find that your automatic inclination to reach for your phone every time you experience a moment of silence lessens.

    I experienced the joy of boredom.
    On that note, this is one of the first concrete benefits I noticed during my detox: I actually experienced boredom. Truly, I can’t remember feeling bored anytime after getting my first Motorola Razr in the 6th grade. Outside the windows when I could check my phone or social media, I was forced to get creative and tap into what I really wanted at the moment. Sometimes, it was reading while other times it was a silent walk. 

    I learned more about myself.
    Rather than distracting myself during these periods of quietness, I chose to look inward. I often turned to my journal and even revived my meditation practice to connect deeper with myself. While I understood it in theory, my dopamine detox provided the proof: The answers really do exist within ourselves.

    Being realistic is crucial.
    While some may say that you need to completely rid your routine of your triggers to experience the benefits of a dopamine detox, I’m of the opinion that being a little lenient with yourself (as well as the strict definition of “detox”) can lead to greater success and insight. Going into the experience with the goal and expectation of getting to know yourself better means that you don’t have to go cold turkey. Instead, take note of what feels realistic for your routine and structure your detox in a way that feels both supportive and expansive.

    Mindfulness is key.
    The biggest takeaway should be this: A dopamine detox—like anything we do for our mental and emotional well-being—is a deeply personal experience. Only you can identify what may be holding you back and the healthy habits you want to carry along your path of growth. A dopamine detox isn’t glamorous and it isn’t a quick-fix solution. Instead, it reminds us that everything is a juggling act between balance and priority. What I learned from doing a dopamine detox is that we can have our cake and eat it too—as long as we do so mindfully.

    200+ Affirmations For Anxiety More

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    200+ Affirmations For Anxiety

    Butterflies in your stomach, increased heart rate, feeling jittery and on edge—we all know what it’s like to experience anxiety. It’s part of being human. Sometimes we get stressed thinking about the future; other times we get triggered by world events. While taking care of yourself and seeking professional assistance such as therapy is crucial for treating anxiety, positive affirmations can be extremely beneficial when you feel a worry coming on in the moment.
    According to a 2016 study, affirmations work by rewiring internal biases in the brain. When you say something to yourself enough times, you start to believe it. They can help ease your stress, manage anxiety symptoms, and promote change in your life. So bookmark this page and turn to it as needed, write down a few that resonate with you, or pick your favorite phrase and repeat it to yourself daily. Ahead, a round-up of 265 affirmations for anxiety in present tense to help shift your mindset and alleviate stress and anxiety.

    200+ Affirmations For Anxiety

    Daily Affirmations For Anxiety
    Regardless of whether you’re living your best life, it’s impossible to fully keep stress and anxiety at bay. However, these daily affirmations for anxiety can help in decreasing stress and confronting anxiety effectively day to day:

    This too shall pass.
    I trust myself.
    All is well.
    I am doing the best I can, and that is enough.
    I can handle whatever comes my way.
    What’s meant to be will be.
    I release the past and embrace the present.
    It is what it is.
    I let go and I am free.
    I have time to prepare and decide.
    My anxiety will not control my life.
    I am not alone; I have a great support system.
    I am allowed to make mistakes.
    Everything’s going to be fine.
    I forgive myself for my mistakes.
    I accept that which I cannot change.
    I am open to new and wonderful changes.
    Life supports me in every way possible.
    I have power and now claim it.
    Everything I need flows to me with ease.
    I am more than my anxiety.
    I am on my own path.
    Wherever I go, I am well.
    I release negative thoughts that do not serve me.
    Focus on one thing at a time.
    I am in control of my thoughts and life.

    Morning Affirmations For Anxiety
    Some mornings are better than others. On the days you wake up and find yourself dreading what’s to come, turn to one of these morning affirmations for anxiety to center yourself and enter the day powerfully and prepared.

    Today is a gift.
    I am ready for whatever today brings.
    This day is full of opportunities waiting to be discovered.
    Today, I will focus my energy on what’s most important to me.
    I will accomplish my goals today.
    I will take everything one step at a time.
    Little by little, I face my fears.
    I am in control of my reactions today.
    I can and I will get through today.
    I’ve totally got this.
    I’m in charge of how I feel today.
    I am strong and can take on anything.
    I choose happiness.
    There are people willing to help me.
    I will go at my own pace.
    I can rise to the challenge.
    Today will be a good day.
    I welcome happiness and joy into my day.
    Everything will work out.
    The universe has my back.
    Worried thoughts have nothing on me.
    I refuse to engage in negative self-talk today.
    The next 24 hours are mine.
    I am happy to be alive today.

    Bedtime Affirmations For Anxiety
    Even the best anxiety apps know that worried thoughts can seriously mess with sleep. So the next time you find yourself tossing and turning or stressing over what’s to come, repeat one of these bedtime affirmations to yourself and reward yourself with much-deserved beauty sleep.

    Tomorrow is a new day filled with opportunity.
    I am grateful for today.
    I fall asleep quickly and easily.
    Right now, I release the stress from today.
    My body deserves rest.
    Inhale tension, exhale tranquility.
    I close my eyes, and sleep washes over me.
    I welcome good, sweet dreams.
    I now empty my head of racing thoughts.
    My bed is safe; no harm can come to me.
    I did my best today.
    Nothing can disturb my peace.
    I embrace rest.
    Love flows from my center.
    Anxiety can’t disturb my sleep.
    My bedroom is an oasis; worried thoughts can’t touch me.
    With every breath, I feel sleepier and calmer.
    I fall asleep with a clear mind and full heart.
    Sleep invites positive energy into my life.
    There is nothing I need to handle right now.
    My mind is calm and my muscles are relaxed.
    I did enough today.
    I can fall asleep whenever I want.
    I choose sleep over anxiety.
    I let the feelings of today drift away.
    I am completely safe and at peace; I don’t need to worry.

    Short Positive Affirmations For Anxiety
    Life is busy, but that doesn’t mean you should let your self-care fall by the wayside. Instead, repeat these short, positive affirmations for anxiety in between tasks, while you’re in the car stuck in traffic, cooking, or taking a shower.

    I am enough.
    I am capable.
    Change is a process.
    I am worthy.
    I love myself.
    I am beautiful.
    I am strong.
    All is well.
    I am brave.
    I am OK.
    Let go.
    I am deserving.
    I am radiant.
    I am filled with light.
    I am resilient.
    I am tough.
    Be still.
    I am fearless.
    I deserve peace.
    I deserve pleasure.
    I am somebody. 
    Choose happiness.
    I am powerful.
    I am loved.

    Affirmations For Relationship Anxiety
    PSA: Relationship anxiety is normal—just ask Shay Mitchell. However, anxious thoughts can create unnecessary stress and tension between partners and put a strain on the relationship. But with these positive affirmations for relationship anxiety, you can stop negative, insecure thoughts from getting the best of you and your relationship. 

    I give and receive love fully and freely.
    I release thoughts that aren’t conducive to my relationship.
    My feelings are valid.
    I deserve to be loved and respected.
    I feel secure in my relationship.
    I am worthy of being loved.
    I am independent and confident.
    My partner and I communicate openly and solve conflict respectfully.
    These thoughts are normal.
    My partner loves and respects me.
    Love is all around me.
    I have faith in my relationship.
    I am deeply lovable.
    I believe in infinite love.
    I deserve my happily ever after.
    My needs matter.
    Let them.
    I take responsibility for my emotions.
    I can communicate in a healthy and constructive way.
    No matter what happens in my relationship, I know I will be OK.
    I bring my whole self to my relationship.
    I choose to be vulnerable; walls won’t serve me.
    There’s love, respect, and trust in my relationship.
    My partner and I are fully committed to each other.

    Affirmations For Work Anxiety
    It’s natural to want to put on your best performance at work, but putting extra pressure on yourself can cause unnecessary stress and mistakes. Whenever you feel yourself needing stress relief from a looming project, deadline, or upcoming meeting, turn to these affirmations for work anxiety to regain confidence.

    I am talented.
    I am successful.
    Any company would be lucky to have me.
    I am good at what I do.
    I can do this.
    I am capable and prepared.
    My job does not define me.
    I believe in myself and my abilities.
    I am the right person for this job.
    Today, I will celebrate every little win.
    I will embrace new opportunities that come my way.
    I am capable of picking myself up after I fall down and learning from my mistakes.
    I am proud of myself.
    I am a magnet for money.
    Prosperity and success flow to me abundantly with ease.
    I am open to new and wonderful challenges.
    It’s OK to accept help.
    I am on my own path; no two journeys are the same.
    Keep going.
    I trust my judgment.
    My work speaks for itself.
    I handle stress and tough tasks with wisdom and clarity.
    My desires are being fulfilled.
    I am one step closer to my goals.
    I am grateful for this job.
    I attract abundance, not because of the time or effort I put in, but because of the person I am.

    Affirmations For Driving or Travel Anxiety
    If flying or driving makes you uneasy, you’re not alone. A lot of people experience travel anxiety because it means leaving their comfort zone, or feeling out of control when on the road or in the air. But being able to see different parts of the world is a gift, and you’re more in control than you think. Next time you’re stressed about traveling or driving, use one of these affirmations to combat your anxiety.

    I am grateful for this journey.
    I am open to new experiences.
    I am a safe driver.
    I am open to new experiences.
    Great adventure awaits me.
    Driving comes naturally to me.
    I am safe.
    The world is beautiful.
    Turbulence is normal.
    Airplanes are designed for safety.
    I love to fly and explore the clouds.
    I see beauty outside my window.
    Seeing new things is inspiring.
    I am in control of my vehicle. 
    I am relaxed behind the wheel.
    I am a careful and capable driver.
    I relax and flow with traffic.
    Driving or flying gives me freedom to travel places I love.
    The car or airplane is a safe, capable vehicle.
    I keep my nerves under control while traveling.
    I drive with care and attention.
    I can find joy in the journey, not just the destination.

    Grounding Affirmations For Anxiety
    Whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation or unable to get a hold of your thoughts, turn to these grounding affirmations for anxiety. Similar to how yoga for anxiety works, these affirmations will help you still your mind, feel calm, and release tension.

    I am safe in the here and now.
    I can move past this moment.
    Breathe in, breathe out.
    I am in control of this situation.
    I am rooted to the Earth like a tree.
    With each breath, I draw fresh, healing energy into my body.
    I am not overwhelmed.
    I have what I need to be happy and at peace.
    Today, I exist fully in the present.
    I am at home in my body.
    I am in the right place at the right time.
    I feel glorious, dynamic energy; I am active and alive.
    I am grounded.
    I am balanced.
    I am solid and strong.
    My root chakra is balanced, so I’m safe.
    Nothing else matters besides this moment.
    I am where I need to be at this moment.
    My calmness is a powerful force.
    Every cell in my body is connected to the Earth.
    I am in a natural state of wellness.
    I have strong roots that give me a healthy body.
    My body is filled with inner peace.
    My body is aligned and well.
    I receive every breath as a gift.

    14 Affirmations That Will Make You Tap Into Your Best Self, and When To Use Them More

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    The Best Life Lessons ‘Ted Lasso’ Taught Me

    Well, friends, the time we’ve all been dreading has finally arrived. The series finale of Ted Lasso has aired and I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t really know what to do with myself now. This show, quite literally, became one of my absolute favorite pieces of media the moment I watched the first episode. If you’ve been following The Everygirl for a while, you might already know this about me—I wrote this article in 2021 practically begging you all to watch the show.
    Since then, Ted Lasso has garnered quite a fanbase. But it’s not just your average TV viewers who can’t get enough, Ted Lasso is also critically acclaimed, having won eight Emmy awards with more certain to come this year. What is it about the show that’s so universally compelling? If you ask me, it comes down to one thing and one thing only: its heart.
    Yes, Ted Lasso is a comedy. But even though it has its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments (maybe even more than its fair share if I’m being honest), the show is really about redemption, growth, what it means to be human, and, in the end, the power of kindness. That sentence, in any other context, would be entirely eye-roll-inducing, but when it comes to Ted Lasso, it’s true and somehow not a total cringefest.
    With season three now behind us and the future of Ted Lasso uncertain at best (I’m holding out for a spinoff, OK?) and nonexistent at worst, I’m looking back at the best life lessons I learned along the way that are certain to stick with me for the rest of my life.
    Note: spoilers for the whole series ahead. 

    1. Forgiveness is freeing
    Forgiveness is the driving force of season three’s penultimate episode, “Mom City.” In it, Ted encourages Jamie (who feels as if he’s “lost his Red Bull wings”) to forgive his dad when he reveals that being angry at him is no longer a sufficient motivator. When Jamie replies that forgiveness is the last thing he wants to give his father (which is fair given their history), Ted replies, “No, you ain’t giving him anything. When you choose to do that, you’re giving that to yourself.”
    Jamie, feeling freer than he has all episode, goes on to have a phenomenal game, helping lift Richmond to victory. That win is great and all, but it’s not what I’m going to remember. Instead, I’m going to remember this lesson on forgiveness. Anger can only take you so far, but forgiveness can set you free.

    2. Be curious, not judgemental
    “Be curious, not judgemental” quickly became one of the show’s most memorable lines back in season one. The scene in which it was said is also one for the history books. In it, Ted and Rupert, the ex-husband Rebecca is hell-bent on getting revenge on in the first season, place a bet over a game of darts. The details of the bet aren’t important, what is important is the lesson Ted weaves into his final throw of the game.
    Rupert views the game of darts as an easy way to get what he wants and asks Ted only one question before agreeing to the deal, “Have you played a lot of darts, Ted?” If Rupert had paused for a moment and been curious rather than judgemental, he might have asked better questions and realized playing darts with Ted was never going to go his way as Ted has been playing darts for his entire life. Instead, Rupert believes he has Ted completely figured out, which is an experience Ted reveals he is all too familiar with.
    During the scene, Ted reveals that when he came across the quote, “Be curious, not judgemental,” something clicked for him. The guys that used to bully him never learned the importance of curiosity and instead judged everything and everyone. In Ted’s case, his bullies, and later Rupert, underestimated him, believed they had him all figured out, and judged him based on that perception. In life, being curious allows you to get to know someone for who they really are while being judgmental holds you back from making real connections.

    [embedded content]

    3. We should care
    In season three, Colin comes out to the team and truthfully, it goes as well as a person could want. Instantly, the Richmond team tells Colin that his sexuality doesn’t matter to them, that they don’t care, and that they still love and respect him. Sounds great, right? Ted then steps in and announces that actually, no, they do care.
    In true Ted fashion, he then launches into a personal analogy that only Americans can truly get, but his point is clear: We should care about our friends, their identities, and the things they care about. Ted says, “The point is Colin, We don’t not care. We care very much. We care about who you are and what you must’ve been going through. But hey, from now on, you don’t have to go through it all by yourself.” Offering support in this manner not only validates a person’s experience but also is a marker of true friendship.

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    4. Revenge isn’t the answer
    I’ve been a Rebecca apologist from day one, but in the spirit of the show, I have to admit: Her revenge mission was never going to be as personally satisfying as she hoped it would be. Sabotaging Richmond, the “one thing” Rupert really loved, would have brought Rebecca a brief feeling of triumph, but along the way, she had to hurt and use a bunch of people who were just trying to do some good for the team. When Rebecca finally comes clean, it’s clear the guilt from following through with her plan would have eaten her alive.
    So while getting revenge may seem like the only way to make yourself feel better after you’ve been hurt (we’ve all been there), the high will always be short-lived. Truly, moving on and healing on your own time to the point where the person who hurt you no longer holds power over you is more powerful than revenge will ever be. If I wasn’t trying to apply this show’s life lessons to real life, though, you better believe I’d be rooting for Rebecca to take Rupert for every single thing he has.

    5. Everyone can benefit from therapy
    In season two, Ted Lasso introduces sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone to Richmond. Throughout the season, Dr. Sharon meets with the players and helps them work through their off-the-field stuff so that they can be better players on the field (and, you know, have better mental health all around). Somewhat uncharacteristically, Ted is the one who is most reluctant to visit Dr. Sharon. He’d much rather talk to the people that really know him (like friends) when he needs advice. Suddenly, the Diamond Dogs start to make a whole lot more sense.
    However, the lesson Ted learns, which I believe many can take away from the show, is that, no matter how much you think it won’t work for you, therapy could be exactly what you need to finally work through and heal from the things that life has thrown your way.
    Later in season two, we learn that Ted’s dad committed suicide when he was 16, and Ted has thus far coped by focusing all of his attention on others, spreading positivity left and right, and burying his own emotions. When Ted finally seeks Dr. Sharon’s help, therapy proves to be the thing that finally helps him confront the deeply rooted issues he’s spent the better part of his life pretending don’t exist. While Ted works tirelessly to help everyone around him become the best version of themselves, therapy helps him finally do the same for himself.

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    6. Be a goldfish
    Shortly after Sam Obisanya makes a mistake during a training session, Jamie relentlessly mocks him (this was pre-redemption arc, mind you). While Roy takes a more confrontational approach and shoves Jamie away from Sam, Ted pulls Sam aside and tells him to “be a goldfish” as their short-term memory makes them the happiest animal on the planet. Though Sam looks baffled by Ted (again, this was early days before Ted’s philosophy fully made sense to everyone), the message is clear: Don’t dwell on mistakes. Instead, be a goldfish, forget about them, and move on. Keep this in mind next time you fail to catch a typo in an important email.

    7. Don’t judge someone by their lowest moment
    I’ve gone back and forth on whether this one should really be “everyone deserves a second chance.” There are a whole lot of second chances in Ted Lasso; Rebecca, Jamie, and Nate all receive second chances from Ted. And it’s a valuable lesson to keep in mind—second chances should be given, but I don’t believe that rule is as universal as this one (Rupert, I’m looking at you). Instead, I believe the lesson about second chances really has to do with judgment, when you pass it, and how you decide whether someone is deserving of that second chance.
    This comes into play in Ted Lasso when Ted shares the full video of Nate destroying the team’s “Believe” sign. As with many of Ted’s analogies, it’s not clear where he’s going, but at the end of his speech he tells Beard, “I hope that either all of us or none of us are judged by the actions we take in our weakest moments, but rather for the strength we show if and when we’re given a second chance.” We later learn that Ted gave Beard a second chance many years ago, and now it’s Beard’s turn to extend that courtesy.
    This is why I think the overall lesson Ted Lasso is trying to teach us isn’t that everyone deserves a second chance, it’s that we shouldn’t judge a person by the things they do when they’re at their lowest. Instead, give them grace, maybe a little forgiveness, and offer a second chance from there… unless they’re Rupert. More

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    50 Therapy Dupes That’ll Send Your Serotonin Skyrocketing

    I’m a longtime proponent of talk therapy. But the ability to share thoughts and process experiences with an objective professional is a privilege. When the dupe trend expanded to therapy, I was intrigued, but also cautious. It felt insensitive and even harmful to propose that a candle, bubble bath, or silky sheets could provide the same mental clarity and support as speaking with a therapist.
    But since diving deeper into the trend—which currently stands at 95.4 million views on TikTok—I’ve learned to think of these “dupes” not as true replacements, but as mood-boosting strategies that can be practiced alongside traditional talk therapy. In an article for Mental, Shelby Castile, LMFT defines the difference between therapy dupes and psychotherapy: “In-depth psychotherapy helps people deal with issues related to their mental health, which in turn affects the rest of their lives long-term. Therapy dupes seem to be more focused on the short term. They can be a fun way to increase motivation and get people started on a more authentic approach to self-improvement.”
    Bottom line: Always seek out professional therapy, especially if you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, boundary setting, etc. But if you’re looking for tips to get a little mood boost, keep reading. These are my favorite “therapy dupes” for finding calm, expressing gratitude, and connecting with joy.

    50 Therapy Dupes for an Instant Mood Boost
    1. Take a mindful girl walk. Ditch the AirPods—and your phone—and connect with the sounds, sights, and scents around you. Instant grounding.
    2. Pet a pet. Whether it’s a dog, cat, or hamster, spend a few minutes with your fur baby and feed off their inherent comfort.
    3. Do your nails. You can immediately feel put together, but doing your own nails can also act as a mindfulness practice. And if you’re really going for the dopamine, opt for bright colors.
    4. Swap around your space. Situate your favorite reading chair in the spot that gets the most sun. Clean off your desktop to help clear your head. Move a side table next to your bed and stack it high with your favorite books. Let your home reflect the joy and inner peace you want to cultivate.
    5. Call a friend. Obvious, but effective. When I’m feeling down, I notice that stepping outside of myself and asking about a friend’s day is the easiest way to shift my mood for the better.
    6. Eat something colorful. Whether it’s a smoothie, a seasonal salad, or baked goods with colorful frosting (recommended), take the adage to heart and taste the rainbow.
    7. Get outside. I don’t care how you do it—whether you’re swimming, hiking, or exploring a local park—just don’t forget the SPF.
    8. Take a nap. The simple act of giving yourself a break can do wonders.
    9. Light a candle. Aromatherapy is real. Soak it up.
    10. Make your favorite comfort meal. Despite the many rom-coms that have tried to convince us otherwise, Ben & Jerry’s won’t fix all of your problems. But when I want to feel like a kid again who had a bad day at school, I mother myself and stir up a little stovetop mac & cheese.
    11. Turn off your alarm. If it’s the weekend or you have a day off, try letting your body sleep until it naturally wants to wake up. Yes, consistent sleep and wake times are important, but so is rest.
    12. Play a game. They’re the ultimate escape. Make it social and invite friends over for Monopoly, get outside and play pickleball, or go down the rabbit hole that is The New York Times “Play” section. A rousing round of Wordle, anyone?
    13. Leave your home and get a “treat.” I love calling my Starbucks runs, library finds, and thrifted gems little “treats.” It’s such a joyful mindset shift.
    14. Play with clay. I’ve recently rekindled my love of making things with air-dry and oven-dry clay. Try this minimalist trivet, these jewelry dishes, or these cute polymer clay earrings.
    15. Learn a new skill. This one can be tricky because if you’re in need of a therapy dupe that gives instant gratification, this might not be it. But long-term, learning how to sew, roller skate, or bake something pretty can bring so much meaning and fulfillment to your days.
    16. Take a day trip. Download podcasts, make a playlist, and get in the car or hop on the subway. Shaking up your routine and changing your environment is one of the most effective ways to transform your experience.
    17. Go to the library or visit a bookstore. Did anyone else love doing the summer reading challenges as a kid? There’s truly nothing quite like a fresh stack of books to make you feel inspired. Find a few faves and enjoy updating your TBR.
    18. Have a girls’ weekend. Whether it’s a sleepover chez toi or renting a cabin with your besties, plan an overnight full of food, time outside, deep conversations, and plenty of cute photo ops.
    19. Jam out. Siri, play “Lavender Haze.”
    20. Organize one thing. It can be your junk drawer, beauty cabinet, or closet. Nothing lifts my mood quite like a satisfying before and after. And if you don’t have the energy to do it yourself, there’s always HGTV.
    21. Make a friendship bracelet. Pay a visit to the craft store, press play to your favorite show, and turn your living room floor into your dedicated DIY station. I love sending bracelets to friends far away and delivering them in person to my local pals.
    22. Orient your routines toward joy. I used to think about my morning and nighttime routines simply in the context of how I could be the most productive. But now, I’m learning to see this as my time to simply be. That can mean finishing my current read, journaling, moving my body, or scrolling through my favorite accounts. Remember: what brings you joy is deeply personal and entirely unique.
    23. Find a body of water. Bathing suit, sunscreen, beach read—check.
    24. Upgrade your H2O. Romanticize hydration by mixing in an electrolyte powder, DIY ice cubes, or sliced fruit. It’s pretty, it’s tasty, and yes, absolutely necessary.
    25. Visit a craft market or fair. I just went to Renegade Craft in Chicago this past weekend and not only was the experience inspiring, but it helped me feel more connected to my local community. Research fairs in your city or stay up to date on where your favorite makers are popping up next.

    26. Makeover your books. Want the Penguin Classics look for your romance novels? It’s possible! Watch this tutorial for tips.
    27. Brainstorm your biggest dreams. I love doing mind dumps—it’s a fun way to get all of your hopes and wants for the future out on the page. I find that writing my goals, no matter how lofty or seemingly impossible, helps them feel one step closer to being realized. And if you haven’t done it before, prepare for how energized and inspired you’ll feel after.
    28. Create mood lighting. My mood used to drop a little in the evenings, but when I started making my home cozier at night (lighting a few candles, turning on some jazz, making a cup of tea, and never, ever using the “big” light), it became something to look forward to and a nice way to transition to my after-work routine.
    29. Take a Target trip. If you’re a true Target girlie, then you know: you don’t even need to buy anything to experience the retail-adjacent joy.
    30. Pair your workouts with community. Brands like Outdoor Voices and FORM host regular workouts, walks, and community events in cities across the country. Do a little research and get moving!
    31. Clean out your inbox. Let tools like Unroll.Me do the hard work and clear out the clutter. Once you’re unsubscribed from the emails you don’t want, start researching and signing up for newsletters that’ll bring you weekly joy. Some of my faves? Slow Brew Sunday by Jules Acree, On the Rocks by Olivia Noceda, and Intelligent Weekly by Intelligent Change.
    32. Indulge in escapism. Y’all, I’m in my #cottagecore era and I can’t recommend taking a deep dive into the Jane Austen-esque hashtag enough.
    33. Take an “Everything Shower.” It’s luxe, it’s lengthy, and it’ll make you feel amazing when you step out. Consult this list for everything you need.
    34. Schedule a free day. Every so often, I love intentionally having a “no-spend” day. With the goal of zero dollars spent, I’m inspired to connect with simpler joys. Walks, reading, catching up with friends, making something, writing—you’ll be surprised by how expansive the experience can be.
    35. Update your wardrobe. In the spirit of the therapy dupe above, try doing this without buying new pieces. Have you ever noticed that, no matter how many clothes you have in your closet, you often gravitate toward the same couple of pieces? With the items you have available, select a new capsule wardrobe collection. You’ll rediscover dresses, find new ways to style your shorts, and maybe even uncover a few tees that’ll infuse your current style with more personality.
    36. Re-watch your favorite movies or series as a kid. Couldn’t get enough of Kim Possible? Craving the ultimate Y2K inspo à la Lizzie McGuire? See what’s available on your favorite streaming platform and cue the nostalgia.
    37. Organize your saved posts. There’s a reason you flagged them! Go through your Instagram saves and delegate them to folders that’ll make them easier to reference. By making a “workout” folder, I can easily access videos that have inspired me to switch up my gym routine, making exercise all the more enjoyable. (Yes, really!)
    38. Go on an ice cream date. There is nothing I love more in the summer than texting a friend to see if they’re up for a cone walk. I haven’t been turned down yet.
    39. Experiment with a trending food. I won’t say that I was obsessed with cottage cheese before it became cool, but… I do feel seen in its recent rise to TikTok fame. I use it to make banana bread, a quick lunch, or a protein-packed dip.
    40. Make a bouquet. With Trader Joe’s blooms, wildflowers, or whatever you can find. Nothing delights quite like bringing nature indoors.
    41. DIY art for your home. Art can be pricey, but good news: you can make colorful, joy-sparking prints yourself! Here’s all the inspo you need to unlock your inner artiste.
    42. Start a scrapbook. I’ve been keeping a scrapbook since I was 14. Not only do I like looking back on my treasured memories over the years, but I love having a space of my own that I can curate and personalize. It brings me joy just to flip through its pages.
    43. Make a mocktail. Skip the glass of wine and opt for a hangover-free sipper. Try one of our favorite zero-proof recipes.
    44. Wear your favorite outfit. Whenever I need to boost my mood, there’s only one dress that will do. She’s loose but flattering, pretty but comfy. A nap dress is my go-to for making me feel undeniably amazing—what’s yours?
    45. Change your phone/computer background. You know where to go.
    46. Use a disposable camera. I love the trend of capturing life through analog devices. If you want to spend less time on your phone but still want to document your experience, stock up.
    47. Hug someone heart-to-heart. With your partner, a friend, or anyone you feel safe with and want to express love for, try what’s called hugging “heart to heart.” It’s an intentional way of experiencing close, physical connection and truly being present with someone you love.
    48. Learn to embroider. I’ve been looking for more ways to personalize my style and make my clothing feel entirely and uniquely my own. Adding sweet details on your jeans pocket or along a sleeve is a fun way to infuse your wardrobe with personality.
    49. Write affirmations on your mirror. If saying positive affirmations out loud feels uncomfortable, write a few on a sticky note and keep it somewhere you’ll see every day. Even just reading them daily can go a long way in shifting your thought patterns.
    50. Feel your feelings. It might sound counterintuitive, but when your emotions feel heavy and overwhelming, let them flow. Cry if you need to. The experience can be uncomfortable, but it can also feel cathartic and powerful. And the more we practice leaning into our feelings, the more we can welcome them with kindness and grace.

    Experts Believe “Joy Snacking” Is the Key to Consistently Feeling Happier More

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    5 Green Flags You Have Healthy Boundaries

    For years, I thought I had healthy boundaries. I’ve always been pretty good at saying no, so I figured I had it all down (because I genuinely thought that’s all a boundary was). But recently, I started to notice a pattern of irritability throughout my day, and I realized I was spending so much time cleaning up everyone else’s messes that I didn’t have time for my own. It turns out, I wasn’t setting clear boundaries at all! And how could I, when I didn’t even have clarity around the strategies that would meet my needs for support? It got me thinking: how many of us are actually tuned into our boundaries? How many of us know what it feels like when our boundaries are set and working properly? So I decided to reach out to Elisabeth T. Lilja, a licensed therapist based in Salt Lake City who specializes in trauma, to shed some light on what healthy boundaries look like and how to know if you have them in place.

    Meet the expert
    Elisabeth T. Lilja, LCSW MSW RYT
    Lilja is a therapist and private practice owner of Salt City Therapy based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in trauma and helping people strengthen their relationship with their body and self-trust.

    What is a healthy boundary, anyway?
    Boundaries are more than just saying “no” to the things that don’t serve you (although that is a healthy component as you’ll read about soon). Lilja defined boundaries as “the needs, limits, and rules we set for ourselves.” That means you understand where your limits are, but you also understand what your needs are—and you’re able to create strategies (rules) to meet them. “Healthy boundaries within relationships are often informed by a healthy boundary relationship with ourselves,” Lilja said. “In relationships, we may look at healthy boundaries as created with connection over protection in mind.”
    Lilja reminded me that there will be times when protective boundaries in relationships are necessary, but a signal that your boundaries are serving you both is when they help build a sense of connection with one another. You are both clear on what you need, you know each other’s limits, and you respect each other’s rules.
    So now that we have a working definition of a healthy boundary down, let’s dive into the signs that you—and those you have a relationship with—are, in fact, working those boundaries the right way.
    Green Flags You Have Healthy Boundaries

    1. Your “no” is respected
    When you’re clear on what’s a “no” for you and you respect and support that “no,” that’s a healthy boundary you’ve created for yourself. And when the people in your life respect it too, that’s a healthy relationship boundary. Keep in mind, “respect” doesn’t necessarily mean no questions asked. The people in your life may still ask for clarification around your “no.” “What this means is we aren’t pushed, bullied, or manipulated into a ‘yes,’” Lilja clarified.
    When someone else has opinions surrounding your “no,” (which can often happen) it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t respect it. “How these feelings are communicated and responded to can indicate the health of our relationships,” Lilja explained. If you are able to hold space for someone else’s feelings about your “no” while still feeling grounded in clarity around your “no,” that’s a major green flag that your boundaries are in the healthy zone.

    2. You engage in conflict with curiosity
    You’re showcasing healthy boundaries when you “are able to be in respectful, healthy conflict that doesn’t move into name-calling, abuse, manipulation, or harmful actions like stonewalling,” Lilja said. And one way to avoid participating in those behaviors is by engaging in curiosity. “Curiosity is a way we can establish healthy relating,” Lilja explained. When you’re curious about the other person’s experience, you’re less likely to make assumptions about their experience that would lead to blaming or shaming. 
    Some questions Lilja offered to check in with yourself about whether or not you’re engaging with curiosity were: “Am I inviting room for clarification over conclusions, assumptions, and defensiveness? Am I asking questions to seek clarification? Am I aware and able to communicate in a respectful way what I am feeling or experiencing and may need?” When you engage with curiosity, it gives you space to feel confident about your own boundaries while respecting the boundaries of another.

    3. You can express your needs and boundaries clearly
    “Needs, or boundary expression, indicates that we are able to advocate for ourselves, that we value our worth and getting [our] needs met in a relational space,” Lilja said. In other words, you know your boundaries are in a healthy zone when you feel safe expressing what you need. When you’re grounded in what you need because you know it’s what’s best for you, it’s a lot easier to feel confident in the ask, even when it can’t be met in the moment.
    “Again, this doesn’t mean that understanding and clarification can’t be wanted around the need or boundary expressed, or that the boundary or need will always be able to be met,” Lilja stated. “Rather, there is space for you to have and express your boundaries. And for persons you are in a relationship with to have the same.”

    4. Repair is important to you
    Even in the most well-meaning relationships, boundaries get crossed. “Ruptures happen in relationships—yes, even healthy ones,” Lilja said. When you prioritize repair after one of those ruptures, you’re setting yourself up for healthy boundaries in the future. Think of it as healthy boundary maintenance.
    According to Lilja, repair looks like learning how to extend an apology (this isn’t just saying the words, “I’m sorry”), taking accountability for how you might have harmed someone, and acknowledging what you will try to do differently in the future. “Repair is a critical part of a secure relationship and healthy relating,” she said. “It’s a good sign if you and someone else can seek repair in a relationship.”

    5. You’re consistent in your follow-through
    Something that’s always stuck with me is the concept that healing requires time and evidence. When you receive consistent proof that something is serving you over a period of time, you begin to believe in it. You start to feel safer in your experience. In the context of boundaries, Lilja noted that consistency is when we do what we say we are going to do. And if something needs to shift, we communicate.
    Having the experience of predictable follow-through builds and maintains a sense of trust that our boundaries will be consistently respected. “While it may not seem like it, follow-through is us upholding a boundary with ourselves,” she said. “Practicing boundaries with ourselves can lead to establishing, upholding, and maintaining boundaries with others.”

    Expert Tips To Help Strengthen Your Boundary Skills

    1. Notice when you are saying “yes” when you mean “no” 
    “Part of learning to find our ‘no’ is understanding why we might be saying ‘yes’ to something we want to say no to,” Lilja said. Getting to the bottom of what’s stopping you can help you shift out of this pattern. “A practice for this is to notice what belief may be coming up for you when you aren’t honoring a ‘no.’” For example, ask yourself what would happen if you said no. Are you worried the other person would feel let down, disappointed in you, hurt, or like you less? Maybe you feel unworthy to set that boundary?
    Then ask yourself if the outcome you anticipate is the outcome that would actually happen IRL. “While [your] feeling or belief is real, is it true?” Lilja asked. “Are there times you have said no and what you fear might not have happened? It can be scary to gather different information, and this is something the body needs to start to make changes.”

    2. Learn how to apologize and repair
    Having healthy boundaries is not just about setting our own boundaries, but respecting the boundaries of the other person. And a key piece of respecting others’ boundaries is apologizing when we (inevitably) cross a boundary. “This can be incredibly challenging for many reasons,” Lilja empathized. “Repairing is also something that can get easier with practice.” Also, apologizing is always important, even if you didn’t have bad intentions or didn’t mean to hurt someone. An apology invites empathy, or acknowledgment that the other person’s experience is real. 
    If you’re curious what an actual apology looks like, Lilja offered phrases you can use below, which she calls the anatomy of an apology. Each one is important when you’re genuinely apologizing and attempting to repair.

    I am sorry for…: The “for” is important here. Name what you are repairing or apologizing for. Think of this as the why. Why are you apologizing? This is how you take accountability for your actions.
    I could have done things differently by… or Moving forward I will…: This shows that you not only understand what you’re apologizing for, but you know how to change your actions moving forward. This is critical for repairing the relationship in the future.
    How are you feeling? or What do you need to feel better about this?: Checking in allows the other person the space to communicate with you what they need, and what you both can do to truly repair.

    3. Practice follow-through
    Following through with your boundaries is as simple as sticking to your promises. Do what you say you are going to do, and communicate when something needs to change. When you show up consistently for yourself, you build trust and a better understanding of which commitments are and are not serving you. Lilja suggested starting small, like making one promise to yourself that you can follow through with on a daily basis. This might look like a morning or nightly ritual (think: journaling or meditating) or setting a time to finish something on your to-do list. Notice how you feel when it’s time to follow through with something, and how it feels to actually do it. “Keeping track of your follow-through can be helpful,” Lilja said. “If you don’t follow through on what you have selected, what happened? What is this telling you? Are you noticing a pattern?” All of this information can help guide you to shift your habits toward more consistent follow-through.

    4. Seek therapy
    If you’re looking for extra support as you flex these skills, therapy is an excellent way to practice with a third party. “Therapy can be a wonderful way to learn how to strengthen boundaries with ourselves and others—creating the space to be curious about what we learned about being in a relationship with ourselves and others,” Lilja confirmed. It can also be a safe place for you and a partner to practice engaging in healthy boundaries with each other to ensure you’re setting up a framework that will support you for years to come.

    6 Green Flags You’re Becoming Your Best Self More

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    Experts Believe “Joy Snacking” Is the Key to Consistently Feeling Happier

    We’ve all felt that mood boost that comes after seemingly mundane moments: feeling the sun on your skin, taking the first sip of freshly-brewed coffee, or snuggling with your dog. It turns out the phenomenon has a name: “joy snacking.” Coined by Dr. Richard Sima, PhD, a neuroscientist and columnist at The Washington Post, joy snacking is the idea that finding and savoring everyday routine experiences is a way to sustainably cultivate a more meaningful, happier life. Could it be the secret to consistently feeling more content? Ahead, psychologists weigh in and explain what joy snacking is, the science behind joy, and how to add joy snacking to your routine. 
    What is “joy snacking?”
    It’s safe to say we’ve all got the snacking part down—but instead of your bag of popcorn, chips, or pretzels, it’s what Sima calls “joy snacks” or “nuggets of joy.” Whether it’s the smell (and taste, of course) of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, laughing over an inside joke with your best friend, or playing “Flowers” on repeat (or whatever your favorite song is ATM), finding and savoring little “bites of joy” in your day can do your life a major solid (read: bring major pleasure and happiness). 
    “Joy snacking is exactly what it sounds [like]—grabbing a quick ‘happy’ snack to bring you a dose of joy to keep you going throughout the day,” explained Veronica Hlivnenko, a psychologist and holistic health counselor at InPulse. “Joy snacking is not about big joyous events that usually require prepping, specific timing, or financial investments. It means finding the sources for little bursts of joy in daily life and pausing to soak them in and savor positive emotional responses and pleasant sensations they bring.” Joy snacking isn’t just about experiencing the small moments of bliss, but also recognizing their meaningfulness and appreciating the positive changes they stimulate in you. “When you bring a sense of purpose to it, joy snacking can help you develop a more sustainable presence of joy, promote a greater sense of calm and happiness, and pave your way to a more fulfilled and flourishing life,” Hlivnenko shared.
    A study published in Nature Human Behavior found that experiential appreciation is a powerful way of making life feel more meaningful. When participants were asked to recount their most meaningful experience that occurred in the past week, what stood out for the majority wasn’t a grand gesture, occasion, or accomplishment (think: going on a trip or getting a promotion), but rather, something simpler and more mundane, such as having an enjoyable conversation or being surrounded by nature.
    What’s the science behind it?
    When you experience pleasure (AKA joy snacks), your brain releases dopamine in large amounts, creating oh-so-good feelings not only in the moment, but also continuously as it motivates you to repeat the pleasurable behavior or activity. “The idea behind joy snacking is to intentionally engage in these activities regularly to increase these moments of happiness and the associated dopamine release,” affirmed Ryan Sultan, MD, a board-certified mental health physician, Clinical Director of Integrative Psych, and Research Professor at Columbia University. 
    “The science behind joy snacking is rooted in positive psychology, which emphasizes the cultivation of positive emotions and experiences,” conveyed Dr. Carly Claney, a licensed psychologist and Owner of Relational Psych. “Regularly experiencing small, positive moments can boost our overall mood and well-being, contribute to resilience, and even counteract the physiological effects of negative events.”
    Hlivnenko cited that joy is one of the most powerful emotions, resonating with humans’ core identity and pursuit of happiness. “It makes life worth living and greatly impacts our mental well-being, physical health, and longevity,” she stated. She likened joy snacks to healthy, nutritional eats as they help balance your blood sugar levels, and a positive emotional state enables you to maintain stress levels, lowering blood sugar levels and, thus, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or hypertonicity. 
    How to find joy snacks in your life
    Finding joy starts with mindfulness and self-awareness. So look inward, tune into your feelings, and take the time to notice what genuinely brings you a sense of happiness and satisfaction. Is it biting into a peanut butter chocolate cup (or is that just me?)? Or perhaps it’s the tulips you stumbled upon on your afternoon walk? When you start pinpointing what your joy snacks are, you become more aware of them and are able to fully immerse yourself and appreciate them. And by intentionally practicing joy snacking by incorporating it into your daily routine, you’ll gradually encounter joy snacks more easily and regularly.
    “Joy is a mindset, so if you orient yourself towards it, you become more aware, and being on the lookout for it makes it easier to joy snack,” Dr. Holly Schiff, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist. “Practice an attitude of gratitude since joy and gratitude feed off each other. It can definitely take practice to get better at identifying joy snacks, but slowing down and being mindfully present and in the moment can help you better pay attention and appreciate these experiences.” Whether you put pen to paper in your gratitude journal, take a mindful walk, or engage in meditation, you’ll help shift your focus on the joy snacks in your life. 
    Other ways to find joy? “Contemplating nature is a proven and affordable joy releaser, rejuvenating your mind and senses,” Hlivnenko said. “It does not necessarily require traveling somewhere and may come in smaller, more casual forms, such as morning sunlight, a flowerbed or a lawn, a tree, a dog, a butterfly, and more—whatever comes along your way.”

    20 Science-Backed Ways To Hack Your Happiness Hormones for Better Mood More

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    20 Science-Backed Ways To Hack Your Happiness Hormones for Better Mood

    When you think of being happy, you probably have a list of special memories, certain people (including four-legged BFFs), or simple pleasures (think: sipping on a good cup of coffee, cozying up to a page-turner) that comes to mind. But news flash: The state of your happiness and the emotions that come along with it is actually biological. The feeling of happiness is the result of four neurochemicals and hormones in your brain: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. In other words, you can hack your happy brain chemicals for a better mood. Read on to learn the role each of the four happiness hormones plays in our fulfillment and how to (naturally) give them a leg up on their mood-boosting power. This way to happiness…
    Originated from the words “endogenous,” AKA within the body, and “morphine,” an opioid pain reliever, think of endorphins as your body’s innate aspirin or painkiller. As chemical messengers in the body, endorphins are produced to help relieve pain and reduce stress on the body, allowing it to experience pleasure.
    How to increase endorphin levels:
    1. Exercise: One surefire way to get those endorphins going is getting your heart pumping. The best part? You don’t have to get after a grueling workout to get the most bang for your buck from endorphins. Hit the streets or tread for a brisk walk, try a lazy girl workout, or do a quick Tabata sesh.
    2. Have a bite of dark chocolate: If you ever needed a good excuse to give into your sweet treat craving, consider this it. Some studies have shown that nibbling on chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins. 
    3. LOL: No joke—laughing does your mind and body good. From a chuckle to laughing so hard you cry, laughter really is the best medicine. Start a folder of funny videos to have handy on your phone (dog ones are the best, IMO), cue up your favorite comedy or TV show, prioritize time with loved ones who deliver on the pick-me-ups. 
    4. Try aromatherapy: Essential oils have been touted for helping everything from anxiety to sleep to headaches. It turns out they can contribute to our contentment, too. According to a 2012 study, lavender aromatherapy seems to help relieve anxiety by releasing endorphins, and a 2017 study suggests euphoric essential oil aromas (think: lavender and vanilla) can lead to endorphin release.
    5. Get busy: The euphoric high you feel from reaching the big “O?” You have endorphins to thank for it (FYI, they’re released when you have sex). So whether you engage in self-pleasure or sex with a partner, say hello to an improved mood and relaxation (but you already knew that). 
    Both a hormone and neurotransmitter that relays messages between nerve cells in the brain and throughout your body, serotonin has a hand in body functions such as mood, sleep, digestion, and sexual desire. Lack of enough serotonin is believed to be linked to  depression, anxiety, and other health conditions.

    How to increase serotonin levels:
    6. Get more sunlight: It turns out the sun does more for you than just leave your skin with a sun-kissed glow. Exposure to sunlight cues areas in the retina to trigger the brain’s release of serotonin. The result? Enhanced mood, better focus, and a feeling of calmness. Whether you head outdoors for a workout, lay out in the sun, or spend time in nature, you can expect to reap the happiness benefits. 
    7. Reach for tryptophan-heavy foods: While there aren’t any direct food sources of serotonin (if only), there’s tryptophan, an amino acid that’s converted to serotonin in your brain and found primarily in high-protein foods, including turkey and salmon. Hot tip: Pair your tryptophan-rich foods with carbohydrates to help more tryptophan make it to your brain.
    8. Take supplements: Speaking of tryptophan, adding some high-quality dietary supplements to your regimen may help stimulate the production and release of serotonin by increasing the amino acid. Think: tryptophan, St. John’s wort, or probiotics. But before you consume any supplement, check with your doctor. 
    9. Partake in activities that reduce stress: There’s no sugar-coating it: Chronic stress can cause low serotonin levels. So rely on your stress-relieving go-tos—be it journaling, yoga, therapy—even before the tension strikes. Bottom line: Chill vibes only. 
    10. Try massage therapy: PSA: A one-hour massage lowers cortisol in your body while also releasing serotonin (consider it an hour-long hug). By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re fostering your body’s ability to repel pain, anxiety, and feelings of sadness. As if you needed convincing to be treated to a massage, you can’t go wrong with getting a professional treatment or DIY-ing a lymphatic drainage massage at home. 
    Dopamine, a neurotransmitter made in your brain, stars as the “reward center” and orchestrates memory, movement, motivation, mood, attention, and more. When you experience pleasure—food, sex, check off a to-do—your brain releases dopamine in large amounts, creating oh-so-good feelings, which motivate you to repeat a specific behavior.

    How to increase dopamine levels:
    11. Carry out acts of kindness: When you volunteer your time or do something good for others, there’s no denying the feel-good sensation you get (hi there, dopamine boost!). So sign up for a shift at your local food bank, pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or pay a compliment to a stranger. 
    12. Load up on protein: Dopamine is produced from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, and studies show that increasing their amounts in your diet can increase dopamine levels in the brain. Lucky for us, they’re both found in protein-rich foods, like chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, and beans.
    13. Get enough Zzzs: We all can attest to the consequences of a night of tossing and turning (irritability, anxiety, and difficulty focusing, just to name a few). On the flip side, prioritizing consistent, high-quality sleep may help regulate your body’s natural dopamine rhythms and provide alertness during the day. The formula for a sound slumber? Establish a wind-down routine, follow a consistent sleep schedule, incorporate movement in your day, and keep your sleeping environment cool.
    14. Meditate: New research has found that the improved mental and physical health benefits that meditation brings may be thanks to increased dopamine levels in the brain. One study in particular found a 65% increase in dopamine production in its participants after meditating for one hour, compared with resting quietly.
    15. Try something new: Novel experiences prompt the rush of dopamine, which in turn leads to the creation of new neurons and new neural connections (read: the process of learning). It can be as simple as taking a new route on your daily walk or picking up a new hobby (join a book club, anyone?)

    Known as the love, cuddle, or bonding hormone, oxytocin plays an important part in human bonding. It’s released during childbirth and breastfeeding, forging a bond between mama and baby. When we fall in love, cuddle, kiss, or have sex, we encourage oxytocin production, thereby positively impacting our mood and emotions.
    How to increase oxytocin levels:
    16. Prioritize social connection: Can you feel the love? Your answer should be an astounding “yes” if you get a daily dose of fostering positive relationships. Spending time with loved ones fills your oxytocin cup as it can help you feel more connected and socially supported, not to mention less alone in the world. 
    17. Play tunes: We listen to music to lift our spirits, improve our focus, and motivate us through a workout, so it should come as no surprise that the act also releases oxytocin. One study inferred that 20 open-heart surgery patients who listened to music while on bed rest had higher levels of oxytocin and felt more relaxed compared to patients who didn’t listen to music.
    18. Pet a dog: Dogs are a “man’s best friend,” and for good reason. Research suggests that when dogs and humans interact with each other in a positive way (i.e. cuddling), both parties experience a surge in oxytocin. Enter: all the warm fuzzies.
    19. Hug it out: If you’re not a hugger, FOMO applies. Embrace hugging, hand-holding, and cuddling to give your oxytocin levels some love. Not convinced? A study found that the perks of oxytocin were strongest in women who had better relationships and more frequent hugs with their romantic partner. Just how many hugs do we need daily to reap the benefits? According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
    20. Share food: From your childhood days splitting your PB&J sandwich with a classmate to cooking dinner with your besties as an adult, you’re creating bonds and spurring on oxytocin release. Be the hostess with the mostest and put on dinner parties, set cooking date nights with your S.O., and make your work lunch outings family-style.

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