How do I go about feeling GREAT?
October 28, 2006 7:43 PM   Subscribe

How do I feel better than I ever have in my life?

I've been feeling kind of low lately - it's nothing medical, just the blahs. I've decided that I want to turn this trend around and feel GREAT, better than I ever have in my life. How should I go about this? Massage? Spa treatments? Acupuncture? Hypnosis? More exercise? Experience of the sublime? What have been your adventures in feeling awesome?
posted by symbebekos to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
posted by iconjack at 7:48 PM on October 28, 2006

Go backpacking. There is no feeling in the world like waking up at dawn in the wilderness, the day after a fair sized hike.
posted by tkolar at 7:50 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Flying. Gliding is a good way to start - cheaper, relaxing and much quieter than powered flight.
posted by polyglot at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2006

This is a very highly individualized question, considering that many different people enjoy many different things. Pot never made me feel euphoric, and backpacking definitely isn't my cup of tea. (Nothing personal to iconjack or tkolar — it's cool that that works for you.)

I think the one thing I'd definitely emphasize is this: sleep. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, and make sure that sleep is healthy and sound. Too much or too little can make you feel rather blah.

Also might not be a bad idea to get a checkup from the doc — maybe you're dealing with a bug or something.
posted by WCityMike at 7:54 PM on October 28, 2006

Exercise daily!
posted by knave at 7:56 PM on October 28, 2006

For me, I have to be feeling productive to feel happy. When I'm feeling down, I do stuff like clean up badly-written Wikipedia articles, or proofread pages at Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders.

Maybe this would make some people more unhappy, but it's what I do.
posted by fogster at 7:58 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Go skydiving.
posted by trip and a half at 8:01 PM on October 28, 2006

I've decided that I want to turn this trend around and feel GREAT, better than I ever have in my life.

Wanting to feel great is one thing, but "better than I ever have in my life"?

That's a really high standard, which if you don't reach, might make you feel depressed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on October 28, 2006

This might not be what you're looking for, but for me, Dextroamphetamine.

A pill that makes me mildly ecstatic AND fills me with the desire to be productive? SIGN ME UP.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:05 PM on October 28, 2006

Two chicks at once.
posted by bondcliff at 8:08 PM on October 28, 2006

Ditto WCityMike - it's something different for everybody. The one thing we all have in common, though, is work - make sure you don't have a work situation that is putting the big fat thumb down on you, suppressing joy despite anything else you do.
posted by jbickers at 8:12 PM on October 28, 2006

Do something nice for someone.
posted by JujuB at 8:12 PM on October 28, 2006

1) Sleep, water, exercise.
2) Random acts of senseless kindness.
3) Repeat
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:19 PM on October 28, 2006

Yeah, help someone else. Volunteer.
posted by LarryC at 8:36 PM on October 28, 2006

bondcliff's idea isn't bad, but why not start with sex with just one of your preferred gender? Lather, rinse, try to repeat.
posted by emelenjr at 8:40 PM on October 28, 2006

As simplistic as it may sound, two things contribute to me having a disgustingly great outlook on life: I always have fresh flowers in the house, and the first thing I do when I come home in the afternoon, no matter WHAT, is run myself a bubble bath. No one is allowed to bother me for that 15-30 minutes, and I only allow myself pleasure reading (nothing work-related, ONLY something for enjoyment) while submersed. Dunno why, but it works for me.
posted by polexxia at 8:41 PM on October 28, 2006

Lots of exercise. Studies show that exercise is nearly as effective in most people as antidepressants. Some scientists believe that exercise actually produces chemicals that have some of the same effect as marijuana. I definitely have a sort of 'euphoric' feeling similar to being somewhat similar to being stoned after a heavy workout. It's not quite the same, it doesn't effect cognition or make you 'giggly'


But, if you're into self-medication then nothing beats mushrooms. Mushrooms don't make you feel good for a while, they can actually cure depression. Not treat it, cure it, like forever. According to some scientists anyway.

Think about it, you can take an expensive pill every day for the rest of your life (antidepressants are more addictive then any other drug) or you can eat some shrooms a couple of times a year.

but in some people, mushrooms have the opposite effect, and can actually make you feel worse. I know a couple of guys who had this problem. One of them later got on antidepressants.

But anyway, as far as illegal cures for depression, nothing beats shrooms.
posted by delmoi at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2006

Exercise daily and have frequent sex with someone you love. That's all it takes.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:48 PM on October 28, 2006

Meditation. Seriously. I'd recommend looking for "breath focus" or "zazen" online; ignore the religious stuff if that's not your thing (it's how I started, and I still ignore most of it).
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:56 PM on October 28, 2006

Fall in love? Worked for me.
posted by glip at 9:17 PM on October 28, 2006

Maybe you should get saved or born-again or become a Mormon. Those folks are wild about life. They seem to all be having a great time.
posted by onepapertiger at 9:27 PM on October 28, 2006

What's your favorite weather?
Sunny? For me its cool (not cold) and rainy, overcast.
What's your favorite music? (For me something kind of ambient, with a beat - try Boards of Canada).
Burn a CD, load up the ipod, turn a wax cylinder, grab an 8-track etc.
Favorite drug?
Maybe a tallboy of schlitz (or d00b or cap as mentioned above - whatever floats your boat)

So then one day when its THAT weather, call in sick for work. Sit outside, rock your tunes, and sip/puff/pop your meds and contemplate the beauty of life. Realize the smallness of your troubles, expand your capacity to bask in joy.
posted by ernie at 9:31 PM on October 28, 2006

Yoga: all the spirituality with none of the guilt or extra calories. Even if you're an atheist it can make you feel connected to the soul and in love with life. Happy happy happy.
posted by mynameismandab at 9:36 PM on October 28, 2006

posted by rdr at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2006

Lots of interesting answers! I should clarify: I'm not interested in chemical intervention - antidepressants, weed, mushrooms, human growth hormone, whatever - I respect people's choices, but they're not for me at the moment.

And Brandon, you're right, "better than I've ever felt in my life" is too high a standard.
posted by symbebekos at 10:09 PM on October 28, 2006

The happiest man alive then, is a Adderal popping, weed smoking, vigorously exercising, loving partner screwing, bubble-bath running, meditating, surf bum. Sounds about right.
posted by phrontist at 10:17 PM on October 28, 2006 [5 favorites]

Manual labor. Hour after hour of uninterrupted and focuses work for works sake.

Take the day off from usual responsibilities. Make a big fancy breakfast for you and anyone you live with. Do all the dishes by hand. Then start the laundry. Get all the dirty clothes clean, everyone's clothes. Make sure to wash and change all the sheets and pillow cases and anything else you find.

Make a nice big lunch. Make it for anyone that's around. Do the dishes by hand again. Vacuum. Clean up around the house. If you have time go for a bike ride or a walk, some sort of exercise, maybe your laundry is going on the whole time you do all this other stuff. Then make dinner, do it like you did breakfast and lunch but make sure dinner tops the other two in size and quality. Make sure all three meals are balanced meals.

Now you've got some time. Pick up some reading that would be challenging for you but also interesting. Go to bed when you get tired of reading.

Go back to your regular life the next day.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:30 PM on October 28, 2006 [2 favorites]

Really, the answer is chemical. If you're not into chemical in(ges|jec)tion, I am a follower of the Church of Shovelglove.
posted by trevyn at 10:51 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Don't keep deferring happiness until you've finished the project/lost the weight/met the partner of your dreams, you can spend your whole life doing that. Commit to enjoying life in the present moment.

Some kind of mindfulness meditation practice (see here for an example) would probably be helpful in the sense that it will make you more aware of your thoughts and more able to catch yourself when you make your happiness conditional on some future event.
posted by teleskiving at 12:44 AM on October 29, 2006

My main three are exercise, caffeine, and meditation/prayer. More than just having those in my arsenal, though, I find the most important thing has just been to keep really close tabs on my emotional state at any given moment. Ninety percent of feeling fulfilled, for me, has just been recognizing what exact subtleties of emotion I'm feeling when I'm "low."
posted by Greg Nog at 1:07 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Things that help foster happiness:

Take a big freaking vitamin every morning. Proper nutrition is absolutely critical.

Get really great sheets - make your bed really outstanding. (also meaning, get more sleep)

I get a ton of pleasure from really great food, especially food I've made myself.

Exercise is fantastic, as little as an hour a day twice a week. I walk once a day, but it's better when I bike or go to the gym.

As mentioned above, do something small, nice, and unexpected for somebody. Personally.

Finish any nagging projects/solve problems, especially ones that can be solved with a little money and someone else's labor. Don't put them off, just pay the 50$ or whatever and feel relief.

Go visit museums, galleries, anything to get some fresh ideas and visuals.

Go to an opera or theatre and marvel at all the energy they put in. Better if you can go with a friend or lover.

Long, hot showers with *really* great soap. Better with a friend or lover.

Turn off the TV, radio, and instead get news by taking friends out to coffee.

Travel somewhere new/unexpected, preferably by bicycle.

Invite your closest three friends over for dinner, and spend the night drinking and relaxing.

Collapse in your warm, perfect bed and dream.
posted by fake at 1:55 AM on October 29, 2006 [5 favorites]

Eat well. Sleep enough. Take some exercise. Nurture your spirit.

For me, the last one is vital, and is the thing many people neglect to do. Contentment is an inside job, and for me it comes through 'living right' - doing the best I can in everything (even though I may fail at the task), treating people with kindness, respecting the environment, enjoying nature.
posted by essexjan at 1:36 AM on October 29, 2006

Think back to previous Octobers. Could you benefit from a light box? Google "SAD".
posted by Idcoytco at 3:39 AM on October 29, 2006

(antidepressants are more addictive then any other drug)

I call bullshit. Link, please.

I'm coming off of two days where I slept too late and absolutely couldn't get moving no matter what I did, so I want to suggest that getting up early enough and getting enough natural light are essential.

Also, leave the house every morning even if you don't have a reason to. If you're not headed to work first thing, get up anyway and get a cup of coffee at a place that's a 15-minute walk away. Even if you bring it right home, you might find that your perspective on the day is totally different once you've been out and walking around. Staying in all morning often leads to staying in all aftenoon, which in turn leads to staying in all night, and before you know it you're back to bed without having had any interaction whatsoever with the rest of the world.
posted by jesourie at 6:10 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Get a haircut and a good shave, buy some nice clothes and new shoes. Clean out your closet of old junk. Get your eyebrows done and ear and nose-hairs trimmed. Choose a fragrance and good moisturizer. From Sephora, not CVS. Nice sheets and good sleep. Clean and update apartment decoration. Think about lighting and comfort. Flowers, as someone else said. Or just lots of plants. Good books and movies. Coffee, tea or diet Coke, if you're averse to other self-medication. Make yourself a good meal with lots of vegetables and nutritious foods - buy a rice cooker. Start playing poker, tennis or something else competitive with friends. Travel.

Give yourself appropriate time and a thorough plan to get this stuff done. It takes a while to change your environment and lifestyle. But it will kill the blahs dead.
posted by Marnie at 6:24 AM on October 29, 2006 [2 favorites]

Spend time with a happy, playful dog. If you don't have one, borrow one from a friend. Take it for a long walk, or better yet, to a dog park. If you're feeling down, seeing that other creature having the time of its life will surely make you smile.
posted by chippie at 6:34 AM on October 29, 2006

Take a big freaking vitamin every morning. Proper nutrition is absolutely critical.

A vitamin supplement is only useful if your diet is inadequate. Otherwise, you just piss out the surplus. Better to improve your diet directly.

I second marijuana, by the way. But maybe that's this green background playing tricks on me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:45 AM on October 29, 2006


You will be so dang happy. Warning: may cause manic symptoms.
posted by shownomercy at 7:37 AM on October 29, 2006

Maybe it's just me, but what keeps me happy and productive is a daily dose of a combo supplement: Acetyl L-Carnitine (500 mg) plus Alpha-Lipoic Acid (150 mg). It's available as a single tablet from Source Naturals.
posted by anadem at 8:37 AM on October 29, 2006

Go to a weekend-long bluegrass festival and camp. I just got back from one and I'm still smiling. I mean it! It is the best therapy in the world...period.
posted by wsg at 10:47 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Fall in love? Worked for me.

Great answer. Also works for the "How do I feel worse than I ever have in my life?" question.
posted by timeistight at 10:53 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

A nice friendly spanking combines the benefits of sex, endorphins and companionship. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing.

But really, most of the truly ecstatic experiences of my life have happened accidentally. Try new things and be open to whatever interesting possibilities they open up.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:10 AM on October 29, 2006

Ecstacy and hardhouse.
posted by pompomtom at 2:32 PM on October 29, 2006

My main three are exercise, caffeine, and meditation/prayer.

Funny, I gave up caffeine two months ago, and I feel great. I sleep better/longer and don't get headaches. (And I've lost 12 pounds from not drinking Dr Pepper all the time.)
posted by raf at 8:15 PM on October 29, 2006

The most euphoric I ever felt was the first time I ever tried being a volunteer tutor of adult GED students.

So, yeah, it really does depend on the person.

But I do think doing something incredibly rewarding and purposeful never hurts.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:05 PM on October 29, 2006

I am going to have to go with surfing as the best way to go about feeling absolutely great. The combination of being out on the water, getting fantastic exercise, moving in unison with something as powerful as the ocean, risking serious bodily injury without having to combine it with anything mechanized or expensive or truly dangerous (skydiving, extreme sports in general, etc.) Of course, you'll have to buy a board, live near enough to a great surf break, have enough spare time to get good enough to ride decent sized waves, be athletic enough in general to be able to handle the paddle-out and the is definitely a commitment, a lifestyle, and thus not for everyone. However, it doesn't (usually) involve drugs or messing with someone else's emotions.

Of course, there are sharks (in NoCal). But you are statistically extremely unlikely to be eaten by a shark while surfing.

On the other hand, nothing beats a little pure liquid MDMA whilst petting a purring cat.
posted by piedrasyluz at 8:32 AM on October 30, 2006

When people ask how you are, or how's it going, or how was your weekend, tell them "wonderful" or "great." Unless things are below average, then if you think the person really cares, tell them what happened and what you plan to do about it. If you think they're just asking as a formality and things are below good, just tell them "ok." Use a tone of voice with your "great" or "wonderful" that tells the person you believe what you are saying. Soon enough it will be true. This often works for me and doesn't cost a thing.
posted by bilabial at 12:32 PM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Quick fix - Rent a really funny comedy or stand-up video. Laughing out loud repeatedly will make you feel better faster than almost anything.

Longterm fix - Travel. Go for as long as you can, to the most different and exotic places you can tolerate. A certain amount of travel hardship is positive. Very poor cultures and countries are helpful. Spectacular scenary is strongly indicated. If you're inclined you can combine travel with work on environmental or humanitarian projects. Exotic travel will get you out of your current mindset and give you perspective that can last for years, even a lifetime.
posted by danascot at 8:27 AM on November 14, 2006

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